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Opening Night Thoughts

After a season-opening 74-61 win over North Carolina Central, the Bearcats have a lot of work to do. But the good news is they have the talent capable of making the necessary improvements.

SK picking up right where he left off
SK picking up right where he left off

Honest note: For those of you who know me and/or follow me on Twitter (@jgent15) you know I am moody, sometimes negative, and very emotional.  So, take that into account when you read these postgame write-ups.  Sometimes the format will be different depending on how the team played that night.  No matter what, though, I support the Bearcats through thick and (sometimes very) thin.

What I liked:

  • Sean Kilpatrick was very efficient tonight.  He didn't take wild shots and seemed to take his shots within the flow of the offense.  SK was 8-9 from the foul line which is very nice to see. 
  • Titus Rubles was a stat sheet stuffer.  13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and a block.  He also got to the foul line 12 times which I think he can do on a nightly basis if he stays within 15 feet of the hoop. 
  • The way the team ran under Ge'Lawn Guyn's guidance.  Making two 3-pointers helped as well.
  • Jermaine Sanders' jump shot.  It sometimes takes a week and a half to release, but he made a couple big threes in a stretch UC needed a spark in the first half.  And he also played 31 minutes.  31 minutes?!?!?! 
  • Jermaine Lawrence's attacking and aggressiveness.  He didn't look tentative despite being his first official game.  5 trips to the foul line in 17 minutes of action is pretty good.  Hopefully he can get more than 17 minutes going forward because there's a lot to like.
  • Team speed.  I really think once the defense comes together the press could be a very nice weapon.  You can see the obvious improvement in overall athleticism.

What I didn't like:

  • Sean Kilpatrick needing to play 34 minutes on opening night.  Sure NCC is a decent team, but UC cannot keep lesser teams around forcing extended minutes from their starters every night.
  • There will be better nights, Shaq Thomas.  At least there better be.  Perhaps we all were putting too much on his shoulders.  Perhaps it was just one bad night.  He looked lost.  He looked like he was pressing. 
  • Justin Jackson is Justin Jackson.  Now, I won't rip into him after just one game, but after two very good exhibition games, JJ reverted back to spaz Justin Jackson with awful fouls, awful passes, and one mess of a basketball game.  If you heard Mick's postgame remarks you know he was less than thrilled with his Senior center's performance.
  • Freshmen (non Jermaine Lawrence).  Troy Caupain was Ge'Lawn Guyn of the last two years.  He was just there.  Nothing special.  Kevin Johnson took 5 shots in 9 minutes.  Missed them all.  There will be better days, kids.  Deshaun Morman didn't play.  That's a bit discouraging since we'd heard such good things in the preseason.  It's early.
  • Typical Bearcat offensive droughts.  Droughts is putting it lightly.  If Kilpatrick isn't on the floor, this team is going to be tough to watch on the offensive end.  They have their spurts but they also have their awful droughts where you're just not sure if they're ever going to score again.
  • Much like practically every single game last year, the Bearcats started the 2013-2014 season very slowly.  Hopefully it's just one game, but lord help us if it takes them 10 minutes a game to get warmed up.  They could get left in the dust.
  • Jeremiah Davis III only played 9 minutes.  I always like seeing him get more time, but I guess I'm sitting in the stands or watching on TV for a reason.

Obviously this team is going to be a work in progress.  There are some tools available which is very encouraging.  They'll play hard.  Yes they'll play dumb at times, but I still think they will make the necessary adjustments to be a good team.  1-0 is better than 0-1 and by Tuesday around 5:00 you'll have already forgotten the minute details of tonight's game.  Go Bearcats!!