You're not always going to have your best "stuff" (pardon the baseball analogy) as UC displayed yesterday, but they were able to grind it out and get the win. And that's really the only important thing. Come Thursday night at 7:00pm when the ball is tipped for Connecticut, no one will care how much UC beat South Florida by, nor will they care how poorly they played.
Coming off the emotional win at Louisville Thursday, you had to expect a little letdown. USF typically plays UC tough, they are deliberate as all hell, and they provide a pretty difficult matchup especially down low. Sean Kilpatrick, coming off his outstanding game at Louisville, was playing sick and you could tell. Shots were not falling. Guys were getting frustrated. Fans were getting a little uncomfortable on their luxury hard plastic seats. 50-45 WIN. Move on.
What I Liked:
- Not a ton to like about this one. Unlike Thursday, they lacked a little life. Lacked a little bounce as well. The crowd was into it which was pretty important. Those types of games can really pick a team up. If it was a typical "UC 7000" game the Bearcats may not have pulled it out.
- SK still managed his 18 points somehow despite being under the weather and his shot just not wanting to fall. He was 5-16 from the field and 2-8 from three, but 6-6 from the foul line late to seal the game...again.
- Last time these teams hooked up, USF beat UC on the boards. In this one, UC managed to outrebound the Bulls by 2, which again in a 5-point game could have been all the difference. Little things are what this team has been so good at thus far, and that's just another example on a day they may not have had their usual legs.
- I still hate the bank shot, but JJ was actually able to make 2 of them yesterday. And his energy, as usual, was a huge lift for the team.
- Aided by Kilpatrick's excellent shooting, the Bearcats have now gone back-to-back games where they missed just one free throw. It does help to have the right guys at the line, especially in crunch time.
- Ge'Lawn Guyn continues to pick up the pace for the struggling Troy Caupain. Guyn's 8 points in 21 minutes were very much welcome. Hopefully Caupain can get through this and onto his 2nd/3rd/4th whatever wind he would be on next. But in the meantime it's very nice to see Guyn contribute in any way he can.
- And that's about all for this section.
What I Didn't Like:
- Some days you're just not going to hit shots. Shaq Thomas, Jermaine Sanders, Troy Caupain, Titus Rubles, SK, on down the list. When you make 33% from the field, it's going to be tough sledding.
- When you are as thin - and small - up front you're likely going to get thumped in the paint from time to time. They did yesterday as USF outscored UC 28-18 in the paint and it seemed like USF could get a bucket inside (at least when UC played man-to-man) whenever they wanted.
- The freshmen seem to be regressing a little. But you always come to expect that in the first year. Once they get through this little lull hopefully they will find their legs, and confidence, again. Kevin Johnson looks lost right now. Caupain looks ok but his shot isn't falling and he seems to be drifting.
- Speaking of drifting...Shaq Thomas did a disappearing act yesterday. 2 points, 2 rebounds, and a steal. Yuck. 1-6 from the field and looked like the December Shaq Thomas. Get rid of that guy, Shaq! Let him go! He's no good for you!
That's really all. I'm not a coach so I'm not going to break every single play down. There's no need. They accomplished what they needed to accomplish. They won. 21-2, 10-0. Likely a top 10 ranking once the polls come out later this afternoon. Not bad. Not bad at all. Now they have some time to prepare for the tornado that is Shabazz Napier, who seems to simply go OFF on UC every time they play for some reason. Hopefully we will see a crowd nearing 13,176 Thursday night. I'm sure the team would love to feel that kind of love in another nationally televised game.