Sitting with some friends, including one who had never been to a UC game before, we remarked before the game that UC will play to the level of the competition in the first half then eventually step on the gas and win by 20. It wasn't exactly 20 but it didn't take long once the second half started to see this scenario play out yet again. I only hope this doesn't come back to bite them soon.
Now, I know they're probably not going to win every game the rest of the season. They are definitely due a stinker (hopefully not in Louisville next Thursday), so I realize they're not always going to play great games. But sure, the longer they can hold that off the better. So let's get to it...
What I Liked:
- My favorite player Justin Jackson. Did you know he's been my favorite player since the moment he stepped on campus? He was everywhere (again) last night. Only collected 2 rebounds (2?!?!?) but did everything else including one sweet pass to SK for a reverse layup that really got the crowd riled up. If he can stay out of foul trouble (please please please God!!), UC has a chance to win every game the rest of the way. EVERY game. In my eyes, he's the most valuable - perhaps not the best - player in red and black.
- Sean Kilpatrick may just be finding his stroke. I really don't want to jinx that, so I'm going to quietly move on.
- Ge'Lawn Guyn. Quick to rip him, so I'm going to prop him for once. Not great, but steady game. Made some shots and held things down for 20 minutes. He's not 100% so the fact that he's grinding through this like a true Bearcat is commendable.
- Jermaine Sanders keeps plugging along. 10 points and only one made three which is pretty telling as to how active he was.
- Shaq Thomas was saddled with early foul trouble, but he made an impact when he was out there, which is not always the case. Shaq has a bad tendency to drift out of games especially early. So the fact that he was basically taken out of the first half all together normally would lead to a dead game for him. But, I'll take a line of 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists in 17 minutes every time. Of course I'd rather he play 30 minutes and bump those all up, but he may be finding himself at the right time.
- Titus Rubles, the most unsung of all heroes in my opinion. Obviously not flashy, but effective. 9 points, 7 rebounds in just 18 minutes. BUT...he's GOT to avoid foul trouble. Too many times recently he's been in foul trouble and it really hurts not having him on the floor. He does so many little things to help the team win. This is starting to sound like a broken record.
- Oh yeah, defense. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. You almost take it for granted.
- Attendance: 10K again. I'll take it.
What I Didn't Like:
- Saw a little bit of why Kevin Johnson doesn't play a ton. He doesn't like to keep the ball away from the other team. That was definitely evident last night. In a 2 minute stretch he had two of the worst turnovers ever. I still love his ability and potential but he's got to "value the ball" more.
- Officiating. I despise making excuses and blaming officials for losses. You'll never hear/see me do that. But the officials last night were awful. I can say that because I won't get fined like Mick would. So there.
I know it wasn't a pretty game, but there wasn't a ton to dislike overall. They won by 18 so I'm not going to nitpick (sorry, Kevin Johnson).
Sunday's game is a trap in my mind. Louisville looms and Temple is still winless in conference play. But they played the Bearcats very close for about 32 minutes not too long ago. Hopefully that is still in the mind of the Bearcats. I'm sure the coaches won't forget. They did get thumped pretty good at Connecticut Tuesday, but that was the first conference loss over 10 points. UC better go in focused on Temple and not the showdown game in Louisville next week.