I am not quite sure what it is about the Cincinnati Sports fan that makes us so irrational, but there is something. If you happened upon any of the various UC message boards in the wake of the Connecticut game you would have found yourself going down the rabbit hole. In doing so you would enter a world in which the floor is the ceiling, the sky was a peculiar shade green and all the laws of physics went out of the window. The most peculiar notion of all that found traction wasin losing to UConn the Bearcats were knocked out of the tournament altogether. And along the same lines that Bearcats are, once again, in desperate need of a signature win to impress committee, which is insane. Did people really forget the Louisville and Georgetown wins already? I don't get it, there is no reason at all to panic right now. UC has a resume infinitely stronger than most teams competing for an at Large Bid. UC has 4 wins against the RPI top 25, at Georgetown (8), at St. John's (11), Louisville (18) and Xavier (23) against 6 losses. and there are no bad losses on the resume, the worst of the bunch is against Villanova (31). There doesn't appear to be much of a chance to pick up a truly bad loss the rest of the year, unless it comes at the hands of DePaul in the Garden. The bottom line is that with two regular season and at least one Big East Tournament games to play it is going to be very difficult for the Bearcats to play their way out of the Tournament. It isn't impossible, but it is very difficult. So with that in mind lets bring this around to the Golden Eagles.
Marquette is another team that is solidly in the field right now. Neither team is going to step onto the Bradly Center floor with an overwhelming sense of desperation or panic. Both teams will be dancing, what this game is about is that first buy in the Big East tournament. At this point the worst thing than UC or Marquette could do would be to pick up a bad loss. Getting a first round bye would knock that possibility off the table. The chances of DePaul, or USF the two Big East schools with the lowest current RPI's making it past the first round are slim. So the Golden Eagles and UC are both trying to get that bye, that's what this game is about.
As a team Marquette is very similar to UC in terms of make up and mentality. There are some differences, like the pace of play, they play at a much quicker pace than UC does and they play a lot more zone than UC does. Their zone is very effective, they pack the paint and make teams shoot over the top, but they don't often extend beyond the arc. You also have to watch for man to man because they will use it on occasion, its not a staple of their defense but it is a pretty consistent side dish.
In terms of offensive players the guy to watch for me is Darius Johnson-Odom. His overtime performance against UConn was one of the better five minute stretches by anyone in the Big East this year. He and Jimmy Butler are the main guys and between the two of them they have a nice inside outside thing going on. They aren't a great outside shooting team, and that has more to do with offensive design than the actual abilities of their players. DJO is a good outside shooter, or at the very least a streaky one, but they emphasis the inside game. They only average 20 points per game from three for the season which is a very low number, UC who we can all agree is not a good perimeter shooting team gets 28 per game from down town. So theoretically this is a good match up for UC, better so than UConn. Anyway you slice it this is bound to be an interesting game and an entertaining one to boot
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