Staff Predictions: Starting Lineup (conference play edition)

Will Troy Caupain steal the starting point guard spot come conference play?

You've already seen who we think will open the season as the starting five. But, with uncertainty at a few positions those starting assignments aren't a sure thing.

When UC opens its first American Athletic Conference season (surprise!!) on New Year's Day against SMU, there could be a few new faces to the starting lineup.  If there are changes, let's all hope it's due to someone stepping up their play and not due to injury.

Jeff Gentil:

Point guard: As much as I hear Troy Caupain is going to be "the guy" to eventually take over, I'm just not sure yet.  I still believe Ge'Lawn Guyn can handle the job.  But, because I know they won't use the same starting lineup the entire season, I'm going to predict Caupain takes over come January as he will provide an extra level of quickness and a scoring threat that Guyn cannot provide.

Shooting guard: Second verse, same as the first.  Sean Kilpatrick.  Done.

Small forward: I still believe Shaq Thomas is the guy here.  His ceiling is so much higher than Jermaine Sanders and what we saw in the preseason is just the tip of the iceberg with this kid.

Power forward: Titus Rubles could be the glue for this year's team.  He needs to be on the floor as much as possible.  I'm sticking with him here.  As we saw in the Carleton game, Jermaine Lawrence is a ways away from being a key contributor.  Not saying he won't be because I think all of Bearcat Nation is relying on him taking the offense to another level.  But for now, I think we can all agree Rubles is the guy right now, and will be come January.

Center: As much as he still drives me nuts, Justin Jackson will bring enough energy to the floor and he will bring it on a nightly basis.  For all his faults, Jackson brings his energy every single game and most of the time it is positive. Obviously his two exhibition games were impressive, but they were against lesser big men.  He won't see the competition in the AAC that he would have in the old/better Big East, but he will see better tests.  Hopefully he can continue it.

Justin Post:

PG: Ge'Lawn Guyn

SG: Sean Kilpatrick

SF: Shaq Thomas

PF: Titus Rubles

C: Justin Jackson

Look familiar?  I'm probably in the minority here, but I don't see much changing with the starting lineup by the time conference play rolls around.  I know we have a few freshmen on the team this year, and I think the only one that could potentially take over a starting position is Troy Caupain.  But he's still just a freshman - and while he'll get a decent amount of playing time - I think Cronin plays it safe to start each game and keeps Guyn in for each tip-off.  Jermaine Lawrence has a ton of potential, but I think he's best served coming off the bench all year.  Like Jackson last year, I think Lawrence injects a certain energy into the team when he comes off the bench - and that's exactly what you want out of your 6th man.

Matt DuMont:

Troy Caupain

Sean Kilpatrick

Shaq Thomas

Titus Rubles

Justin Jackson

The only change I think we'll see once conference play starts is Caupain at point guard.  I think Mick and the other coaches will quickly realize that the offense runs more smoothly when he is at the point.  No matter who starts, replacing Cashmere Wright is going to be a challenge.  Let's hope that Troy is that guy and we don't have to worry about it again for another 4 years.

Matt Opper

PG: Troy Caupain

SG: Sean Kilpatrick

SF: Shaq Thomas

PF: Jermaine Lawrence

C: Justin Jackson

The only changes from the non conference are Troy Caupain and Jermaine Lawrence moving into the starting lineup.  I just think Caupain is better for the offense than Guyn, who I have not found to be any different from the guy he was last year running the second team offense into the ground.  With SK probably handling the ball more than ever all UC needs is positive production from the point guard spot, and Guyn isn't a + offensive player off the ball, Caupain can do better.

As for Lawrence I don't think that Mick will be able to play him just 20 minutes a game.  He is too talented for that, moving him into a starting spot will give him more minutes.  But moving Rubles to the bench will give the second team offense someone to play through because Rubles is a capable offensive player when he is not hoisting atrocious three pointers.

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