50 days from today, the Cincinnati Bearcats face Ohio State in basketball Here are 50 reasons to be excited for the new college basketball season.
1. Mick Cronin is gone.
2. Slow, boring offense is gone.
3. Lame excuses for why Cincinnati lost is gone.
4. John Brannen is here.
5. New offensive system is expected to be fast paced and exciting.
6. Brannen’s NKU offense averaged 78.5 ppg in 2018-19. Cincinnati should be scoring around 80 ppg, as opposed to the 50-60 ppg rock fights that Cronin’s teams typically played in.
7. Coaching staff is already recruiting very well, adding a handful of new players for 2019 such as Mika Adams-Woods and Zach Harvey.
8. Plus PG Mike Saunders Jr and Madsen brothers (Gabe and Mason) for 2020 and pursuing others such as JJ Traynor.
9. The chance to win at Xavier for the first time since 2001-2002 season.
10. Revenge against Iowa on 12/21 after Hawkeyes eliminated Bearcats in 2019 Tournament.
11. Potential payback against Nevada in Paradise Jam Tournament. Nevada eliminated Bearcats from 2018 Tournament
12. Payback against Ohio State to open the season. Buckeyes won at Fifth Third Arena to begin the 2018-19 season.
13. Chance to beat Memphis for the 7th straight time and 11th time in 13 chances. Tigers have Final Four aspirations and will be ranked pre-season top 15.
14. Final games vs UConn, who has been a fun rivalry for Cincinnati. Huskies will depart for Big East in 2020. Cincinnati has won 7 straight and 9 of 10.
15. Very few cupcakes on this OOC schedule, a change of pace from the usual early season home games.
16. Games against Drake and Vermont represent upgrades from previous sub 300 RPI opponents.
17. Avenging last year’s regular season sweep from Houston.
18. Tennessee represents a big name opponent at Fifth Third Arena.
19. Maintaining last year’s dominance over Wichita State (3-0 in 2018-19 and 4 wins in a row).
20. Return of 2019 AAC Player of the Year Jarron Cumberland.
21. Cumberland averaged 18.8 ppg in 2018-19.
22. He is 637 points away from becoming the third ever player at UC to score 2,000 career points (Oscar and Kilpatrick).
23. He is expected to play a bit more PG in 2019 in the new system, which is expected to help the offense and also help his chances at playing in the NBA
24. Tre Scott’s continued development.
25. He averaged 3.1 ppg as a freshman and sophomore and broke out in 2019, scoring 9.3 ppg
26. Scott’s rebounding also increased from 3.6 as a sophomore to 6.9 as a junior
27. Keith Williams is the perfect fit for Brannen’s offense and his athleticism will be a major strength. Williams averaged 5.5 ppg and 3.2 rpg, numbers that should certainly increase.
28. Mamoudou Diarra and Prince Toyambi have a chance to develop into solid role players
29. Can Trevor Moore get back on track? His scoring average went down, his shooting percentages went down. He has a chance at a larger role as a junior.
30. The arrival of Jarron’s cousin, Jaevin
31. Jaevin averaged 17 ppg at Oakland last season, playing 37 minutes per game.
32. Jaevin’s arrival should help push Jarron even more, gives him a legit second scoring option and obviously ensures he will be fully engaged and happy during his senior season
33. Mika Adams Woods committed to Cincinnati over Minnesota and UMass. He is a crafty PG and is ranked inside the top 250 players per 247Sports (244) and is ranked #7 in New York.
34. Jeremiah Davenport was the first official recruit to commit to UC in the Brannen era. Davenport may redshirt in 2019-20 as he recovers from a recent back surgery.
35. Zach Harvey was a late signee, but a top 50 player (#49). He is ranked by 247Sports as the #5 SG in the country and #6 player in Kansas.
36. Jaume Sorolla is a huge 6’11, 240 pound grad transfer, who comes from Spain, and transfers in from Valpariso. He has career averages of 4.8 ppg and 3.7 rpg.
37. Chris McNeal has been on 4 teams in 4 years, but in his final year of eligibility looks to break out and reach his potential. He started his career at Western Kentucky, transferred to New Mexico, sat out last year at Tennessee Tech and now UC. He will be in the mix to start at PG, if not, to play big minutes off the bench. He did average 9.5 ppg at New Mexico in 2018.
38. Chris Vogt, a’71 center, will be ineligible to play this seaso (he has to adhere to NCAA transfer rules and sit out) about he comes from NKU and has familiarity with Brannen and his system, so he should play a big role in practices and in the locker room helping ease the coaching transition.
39. Cincinnati is looking for their third consecutive AAC Tournament Championship
40. And second regular season championship in 3 years
41. Chance to make the NCAA Tournament for the 10th consecutive year
42. Goal is to win (at least) 2 NCAA Tournament games and make the Sweet 16
43. The chance to see Jacob Evans get more playing time in Golden State, due to several departures and an injury to Klay Thompson
44. Watching year 2 of Gary Clark with the Houston Rockets.
45. In her first year as head coach, Michelle Clark-Heard’s team won 24 games and went 12-4 in conference play. The season ended in the Elite 8 of the Women’s NIT. This season, the team is aspiring to make the field of 64.
46. Year 2 of the renovated Fifth Third Arena
47. Would ESPN’s College Gameday come to campus to check out the Bearcats newly renovated arena and see Cincinnati face a top 10-15 team like Memphis?
48. New uniforms
50. The departure of Mick Cronin