What a blessing it is to have basketball back, especially when the team you follow is destined for greatness, or so says the first two results of the campaign. While the Associated Press and the Coaches poll continue to show blatant disrespect to the Bearcats, there is no question that Cincinnati is one of the best teams in the country.
They will get to test their stuff on the road for the first time on Wednesday, with Bowling Green serving as gracious host. Here's what you need to know to dominate discussion at the water cooler or wherever it is you hang out before Cincinnati games.
Surprise, Surprise, Ellis is Good
The man picked to win American Athletic Conference Player of the Year by a highly respected college basketball insider (or me, whichever you want to go with) has already accumulated his first honor of the regular season. Octavius Ellis was named to the AAC Weekly Honor Roll on Monday after a strong showing in Cincinnati's two routs. On Friday night, he posted a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds and added four steals and two blocks to boot. He did all of that in 24 minutes. Ellis had three double-doubles last season, and it took at least 27 minutes to complete each of those. Ellis only played 19 minutes in the absolute destruction of Robert Morris on Sunday but still had 10 points and three blocks. Prepare to stay busy all season, whoever it is that fills out Cincinnati's boxscores.
The Offense is Humming
I hate to bemoan the point, but Cincinnati looks like a whole new team offensively. If you tuned in on Monday, you know all about the explosive juggernaut the team transformed into for the first two games. But allow me to dazzle you with a few more statistics. Cincinnati scored 203 points during the first two games. The last time they scored that many in two games was in 1976-77. That is 20 years before Jacob Evans III, who is averaging 8.5 points per game, was even born.
Entering play on Wednesday, there are six players averaging in double figures on the roster and eight players averaging more than eight points a contest. The Bearcats are also ranked 10th in the country in offensive rating (133.6) and they are shooting 56.9 percent from the floor, which ranks 13th in the land. It needs to be repeated that the level of competition has helped a great deal. However, even though this much offense isn't something Cincinnati is used to, it should remain a part of the strategy.
Who are the Falcons?
Bowling Green won their first game, throwing up a 79-61 victory over New Orleans of the Southland Conference. The win was not only the first of the season but the first of the Michael Huger era. Huger took over in April after Chris Jans was fired when a video surfaced showing Jans participating in some extracurricular activities that the University did not approve of. Huger inherited a 21-win team that lost Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year Richaun Holmes. However, freshman Rasheed Worrell, who had 15 points and eight rebounds in his collegiate debut, looks like a solid replacment