Currently the Bearcats are 14-6 overall and 4-3 in conference. For most teams nobody would find a problem the current record, but for this team the expectation was high because of the return of head coach Mick Cronin and the adding of Jacob Evans, Tre Scott (Scott has been redshirted) and Justin Jenifer. This team only loss forward Jermaine Sanders so Bearcat Nation didn’t expect anything, but an improvement.
After a hot 7-0 start, but against much lesser competition this team looked to be one of the better Bearcat teams in recent history. The one troubling thing during the fast start was they didn’t play the same hardnosed defense, but it was a welcoming sight to see this team put the ball in the basket at a better rate. Since the great start they have been 7-6 overall which isn’t something we expected out of this team. They have loss four games by 2 points each. They have been so close to getting a big time win, but either a scoring drought would hit or defense would fail them just look at Iowa State, Butler, SMU and the second Temple game.
After the loss to Temple in December the one thing that has returned for the Bearcats has been their defense which is a welcomed sight for Bearcat fans. Teams have averaged 60.8 points during the last six games.
There are only ten games left in the regular season, so for this team to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament they much finish strong. They still have UConn twice, SMU at home, and Houston on the road, Memphis on the road and Tulsa on the road which will be important games for them to win if they can get away from this group with two losses or less that would be huge. Tulane at home, ECU twice, USF at home and UCF on the road should all be wins, but at the same time they are trap games and this team can’t afford to be trapped anymore the rest of the year.
If UC can make it through the last ten games 8-2 I believe all should be well selection Sunday, but we have to scale back our tournament expectations as of now. A record of 22-8 overall and 12-5 in conference is what that would look like. I just hope getting swept by Temple doesn’t come back to bite this team. Nobody in the AAC besides SMU wants to step up wins become more premium for this team and I don’t know if SMU not being able to make the field helps or hurts our team, but we will see sooner than later.
How do you think UC has to finish out to keep playing in March (and I’m not talking NIT)?