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Bearcats Leave Middle Tennessee Raiders Blue

The Bearcats took on the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee University earlier today in their third game of the inaugural Emerald Coast Classic in Niceville, FL (A real place). Cincinnati won 69-51, and it wasn't that close.

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Though technically a neutral location, the Bearcats and Blue Raiders both came into this game not having played on the road yet. MTU was 3-1 coming in with a loss against Murray State and wins against two teams I admittedly didn't know existed (Southern and Ohio Valley) and Northern Arizona, so it was tough to tell how good this team was. Last time I checked, you all were pretty confident with 92% voting that the Bearcats would pull out the win, and apparently that confidence was warranted.

Cincinnati didn't allow a point until eight minutes and eighteen second into the game. At that point, the Bearcats had 12 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals, and 3 blocks. Ten Bearcats had scored by halftime... that's ten. It looked like the Mick Cronin defensive scheme was finally in full display. The defense was a team effort and everyone seemed to care. Cobb, Caupain, and Morman were all over their guards. At the same time, Ellis, Thomas, DeBerry, and Clark didn't allow the Blue Raiders many uncontested shots in the paint.

This one was fun to watch (at least for Bearcats fans). Cincinnati looked organized and intense on defense, and moved the ball with purpose on offense. If Cincinnati is to win a lot of games this year, tonight was the blueprint for how it goes down. Tough, high energy defense; a balanced offensive attack; and +10 rebounding.

Five Random Thoughts:

  1. Coreontae DeBerry is getting better and better. Once he learns how to really use his length, height, and weight, he is going to be a force and a solid backup to Ellis.
  2. A lot of soft fouls were called in this one. It didn't matter tonight, but something to look for tomorrow against Ole Miss or Creighton. Quadri Moore fouled out with over 8 minutes to go.
  3. Gary Clark in the post continues to provide a nice half court option. The double-team is still rattling him, but composure will come with time. Very, very excited about #11.
  4. The offense was very balanced, tying their season high with 69 points. As a whole they shot 56.8%, and seven Bearcats had at least six points.
  5. Guyn was out again. No word on his outlook for tomorrow.

With today's win, the Bearcats remain undefeated all-time against MTU (4-0). They will next take on either Ole Miss or Creighton (whoever wins tonight) tomorrow at 9:00 PM EST on CBS Sports Network.

I know Mick is the sixth best dressed coach in college basketball, but I was really digging the polo look.

-Daniele "Da" Bologna