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Bearcats Fall At SMU

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Well that was unpleasant

Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

Really, really unpleasant. I am not going to dive deep into this game because it is but one data point in 31. Two main takeaways from this, one short term one long.

1) The Bearcats struggle with big teams. Keep in mind that there is a difference between big teams and long teams. Big teams have bruisers inside who can abuse the Bearcats biggest weakness defensively, lack of brute strength. In most cases UC is able to overcome this by being faster and quicker on the attack on both sides of the ball. This manifested itself with a simple fact, UC simply couldn't get the ball entered into the post to Justin Jackson. JJ makes the whole offense go because he is good enough in the post to command a double, and a gifted enough passer to make the offense pay. Markus Kennedy prevented the ball from even being entered into Jackson, and on the rare occasions JJ got the ball he defended him straight up. When that is taken away the Bearcats don't really have a way to beat a defense other than running ball screens for SK, screens which SMU swarmed with ease. The Bearcats didn't accidentally shot 35 percent from the field, SMU had a great plan and executed it.

2) In the long run this doesn't change things much for the rest of the season. UC will fall to somewhere in the 10-12 range as the voters won't punish UC too much for losing to SMU on the road, not when that same SMU team is likely to crack the top 25. Everything else is still in play for the Bearcats. The conference and a deep run into the NCAA tournament. What changes is that the Bearcats fate will come down to match up's even more than you would suspect. Big burly teams are going to be a challenge, and there isn't really a way around it.