DePaul Blue Demons vs. Cincinnati Bearcats – Tuesday, February 8th, 6 p.m. Central – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
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Getting Inside the Bearcats
Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin doesn't question his team's shot selection. While the Bearcats rank near the bottom of the Big East Conference in shooting percentage, Cronin says it's a matter of getting his players in better position to be successful.
"Who's shooting and where they're shooting from," Cronin said of UC, which was shooting just under 40 percent from the field and scoring less than 64 points per game through Feb. 5, third from the bottom of the Big East.
In a loss at No. 4 Pittsburgh on Feb. 5, the Bearcats shot just 33 percent and got just six points from their two starting guards, all of which were scored by Cashmere Wright.
An overall lack of consistency on offense is one reason why the Bearcats were still looking for that one signature victory to solidify their NCAA Tournament resume.
But UC would be minus its top rebounder and post presence with junior forward Yancy Gates being suspended indefinitely for a violation of unspecified team rules.
Reportedly Gates was involved in a verbal exchange with an assistant coach and was removed from practice. He did not travel with the team to Pittsburgh.
With five games remaining against teams in the RPI top 30, the Bearcats still had plenty of opportunities to grab a key victory or two. But time's running out.
-- Cincinnati ranked first in the Big East Conference in scoring defense allowing just 56.9 points per game through Feb. 5.
-- The Bearcats were picked to finish 12th in the Big East this season after finishing 11th last year with a 7-11 record.
--UC went undefeated (13-0) against the non-conference portion of its schedule for the first time since 1998-99.
BY THE NUMBERS: 23 -- The Bearcats' 23 offensive rebounds on Feb. 5 were the most allowed by Pittsburgh in 10 years.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Play hard, have a great attitude, be a good guy. It's not that hard to be a Bearcat. You either do it that way or you don't play for us. It doesn't matter who you are." -- UC head coach Mick Cronin on the suspension of junior forward Yancy Gates.
--at DePaul, Feb. 8
KEY MATCHUPS: UC defeated the Blue Demons 76-60 on Dec. 28 at Fifth Third Arena. In that game, Larry Davis delivered 20 points off the bench for the Bearcats. Davis was one of four UC players to score in double-figures while DePaul got most of its offensive production from Cleveland Melvin who scored 24 points.
FUTURES MARKET: Yancy Gates' indefinite suspension left the Bearcats without their top rebounder and shot blocker. But depending on how long the junior forward is out it could create an opportunity for senior forward Darnell Wilks and 7-foot senior center Biggie McClain. Wilks made just his fifth start of the season on Feb. 5 at Pitt in Gates' absence and scored four points before fouling out. Although McClain didn't start, he did score a season-high 10 points in 23 minutes.
--With junior F Yancy Gates suspended indefinitely, the Bearcats utilized Darnell Wilks, Rashad Bishop and Ibrahima Thomas on the frontline and chose not to start Biggie McClain in the post, although the 7-footer did play 23 minutes.
--The Bearcats were 3-0 when freshman G Sean Kilpatrick scores 20 or more points through Feb. 5.
--Freshman C Kelvin Gaines will redshirt this season. The 6-foot-10 Jacksonville, Fla. native wasn't expected to get much playing time considering the Bearcats' overall depth. Gaines suffered a dislocated shoulder in the preseason which set back his progress.
KEY MATCHUPS: Cincinnati figures to be just too physical for DePaul at the present time, although the Bearcats do have to go to Chicago for the game. DePaul had given up almost eight more rebounds a game than it made through Feb. 5, which is never a good formula against Cincinnati, a team that pulls down five more rebounds a game than its opponent. It doesn't help that the Bearcats also allow fewer points than any other team in the Big East.
The Last Time
On December 28, 2010 at Cincinnati's Fifth Third Arena, the Bearcats came away with a 76-60 victory in the conference opener for both teams.
Larry Davis came off the bench to score a season-high 20 points for UC. Dion Dixon scored 16 and Yancy Gaters added 15 points.
DePaul freshman Cleveland Melvin led all scorers with 24 points. Tony Freeland came off the bench to score 11 points in the losing effort.
NO NAME HT WT POS CL EXP Hometown High School
22 Rashad Bishop 6-6 220 F SR 3L Paterson, N.J. Kennedy
11 Larry Davis 6-3 185 G SR 3L Houston, Texas Alief-Hastings
3 Dion Dixon 6-3 190 G JR 2L Chicago, Ill. Crane Technical Prep Common
10 Alex Eppensteiner 6-3 205 G SO 1L Cincinnati, Ohio Elder
24 Kelvin Gaines 6-10 235 C FR HS Ocala, Fla. Arlington Country Day
34 Yancy Gates 6-9 265 F JR 2L Cincinnati, Ohio Withrow
5 Justin Jackson 6-8 215 F FR HS Cocoa Beach, Fla. Arlington Country Day
23 Sean Kilpatrick 6-4 215 G RS FR RS White Plains, N.Y. Notre Dame Prep
25 Anthony McBride 6-2 180 G SO HS Cincinnati, Ohio Withrow
30 Anthony McClain 7-0 290 C SR 3L Trenton, N.J. National Christian Academy
44 JaQuon Parker 6-3 200 G SO 1L Suffolk, Va. King's Fork
32 Ibrahima Thomas 6-11 235 F SR 1L Dakar, Senegal Stoneridge Prep
2 Eddie Tyree 5-10 180 G SR 1L Columbus, Ohio Groveport Madison
15 Darnell Wilks 6-7 205 F SR 3L Nashville, Tenn. Pioneer Christian Academy
1 Cashmere Wright 6-0 175 G RS SO 1L Savannah, Ga. Urban Christian Academy
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