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Cincinnati Bearcats Vs. Villanova Wildcats | 1.14.2011 | Three Keys

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These two teams are polar opposites at the moment. Struggling really does not do justice to the way that Villanova has been playing this year. Since Christmas nothing has gone right for the Wildcats, and everything has gone wrong. They are, by all accounts, a team that is far less than the sum of their parts. The Bearcats on the other hand represent the opposite end of the spectrum. UC is rolling, the fluky St. John's game is basically a blip of the radar. Nova does present some challenges, and they are capable (on paper) of coming into Fifth Third Arena and walking out with a win. To stop that these are the things that the Bearcats must do.

Turnover the Wildcats

In the past 6 weeks the Bearcats have become a deadly team in transition. Cashmere wright pushes the pace of misses, makes and old situation really. But where the Bearcats thrive is off turnovers. They take steals and turn them into buckets at breathtaking speed. Meanwhile Nova has become a turnover machine. In the last 5 games they have turned the ball over 80 times, and average of 16 per contest, including a whopping 28! against DePaul, and that was somehow not just a win, but a commanding win. If current form holds for the Bearcats defensively they will force Nova into a lot of bad decisions, push of the results and jump to a commanding lead early.

Hit The Offensive Glass

For a team that is in the midst of a massive slump Nova isn't a terrible defensive team. They aren't great, but their field goal and three point per percentages defensively are acceptable, ranking between 100 and 150th nationally. But the issue, particularly in the conference where opposing teams are grabbing 35.8 per cent of the available rebounds on Offense. Despite the Bearcats small ball lineup they are still one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the Big East because JaQuon Parker, Sean Kilpatrick and Dion Dixon are deceptively effective on the offensive glass.

Unleash The Kila

Sean Kilpatrick is coming of a breath taking performance in the comeback win against Georgetown. 27 points on 62.5 per cent shooting from the field and 60 per cent from the three point line. Villanova doesn't really have anyone who is a good match up for Kilpatrick. He needs to attack the basket with the same ferocity he put on display against Georgetown where he got to the line 5 times, just the 5th time this season with 5+ FTA. When he attacks he can be a breathtaking performer. More attacking from Kilpatrick and Dion Dixon will be needed until Cashmere Wright fights and kills the Zombie that I am 99 per cent sure has been impersonating him during the last two games

Wildcats vs Bearcats coverage | The Nova Blog