DePaul Blue Demons vs. Cincinnati Bearcats – Wednesday, February 21, 2007 – 11:00 a.m. CST – Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
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These aren't your father's Cincinnati Bearcats. A familiar foe with a completely new look comes to Allstate Arena on Saturday for a Big East matchup. The Bearcats and Blue Demons have been conference foes for over 15 years spanning three leagues (Great Midwest, Conference USA, and now the Big East), but today will mark the first time in many years that DePaul is the decisive favorite in the series.
Cincinnati, under first year head coach Mick Cronin, is under complete renovation from years past. Last year in the first season in the Big East, the Bearcats had a smooth transition and played well enough to get NCAA tournament consideration, but were snubbed and finished the season with a 21-13 overall record and 8-8 in the Big East. But much is gone from last year's team as only 6-7 senior Cedric McGowan (8 ppg and 5 rpg) is the only real returning contributor. Now the Bearcats are only playing for pride as they will not make the Big East Tournament, and perhaps trying to avoid being in the basement of the Big East.
The new look Bearcats have talent but are not very experienced nor deep, as the records indicate (10-17 overall and a woeful 1-12 in Big East play). They are coming off a tightly contested game with one of the Big East's best, but Cincinnati eventually fell at home to Georgetown 75-65.
The Bearcats are paced by three players in double figures. 6-1 freshman guard Deonta Vaughn, who is making a strong push for the All-Big East Freshman team, leads the way with 14.4 ppg. Vaughn is learning on the fly and his 37% shooting from the floor is indicative of that. He also leads the team in minutes and assists (32.5 mpg and 96 assists).
Up front for the Bearcats is 6-6 junior college transfer John Williamson. Williamson is second in scoring with 13.3 ppg and a team high 7.3 rpg. As a junior, Williamson has been thrusted into being one of the leaders of this team with McGowan, and he has held up his end.
6-8 Junior College Transfer Marcus Sikes also provides a punch for Cronin's young Bearcats. He is third in scoring with 10 ppg to go along with a healthy 5 rpg. He is the teams designated sharpshooter as he has connected on 42.9% from three point range which is good for seventh in the Big East.
6-2 junior college transfer Jamual Warren (8.3 ppg and 86 assists) rounds out the starting five with McGowan. After that it gets real thin as only 6-3 junior college transfer Marvin Gentry (7.9 ppg) is the only real threat off the bench it what has become Cronin's six man rotation. Other than these six players, no other player gets as many as 10 minutes.
The young inexperienced Bearcats are just what the doctor ordered for the Blue Demons. They can look upon this as great rebound game to feast upon as they were humbly pounded on Tuesday night at Notre Dame losing 78-54 to drop their record to 16-12 overall and 7-7 in Big East play dashing a lot of hopes for an NCAA tournament bid in the process. An at large bid perhaps is still within reach. But DePaul absolutely needs to get this win, as well as next week's game versus South Florida and some more help (likely at least two more wins in the Big East Tournament) to even be considered.
DePaul is everything that Cincinnati is not, and that is experienced and deep. DePaul must capitalize on that advantage and pound the Bearcats into submission. Expect to see a lot of players get minutes and try to wear down the Bearcats. A good start can only help things and trying to avoid Cincinnati from getting any momentum.
NO NAME HT WT POS CL EXP Hometown High School
1 Marvin Gentry 6-3 175 G JR JC Ft. Worth, Texas Poly
3 Timmy Crowell 6-2 170 G JR JC Albuquerque, N.M. Sandia
5 Deonta Vaughn 6-1 200 G FR HS Indianapolis, Ind. Harmony Community
10 Marcus Sikes 6-8 235 F JR JC Richmond, Va. Notre Dame Academy
11 Connor Barwin 6-4 240 F SO 1L (1L-FB) Southfield, Mich. U. of Detroit Jesuit
20 Branden Miller 6-4 180 G SO 1L (NS) Cincinnati, Ohio Indian Hill
21 Mike Williams 6-7 230 F JR TR Camden, Ala. Wilcox Central
23 Ronald Allen 6-9 225 F/C SR 1L Los Angeles, Calif. Artesia
25 Walter Lewis 6-2 190 G JR HS (NS) Prince George, Va. Prince George
30 Cedric McGowan 6-6 230 F SR 1L Miami, Fla. Miami Northwest
33 Jamual Warren 6-2 195 G JR JC Springfield, Mass. Notre Dame Prep
34 Adam Hrycaniuk 6-10 230 C JR JC Mysliborz, Poland Zespol Szkol No. 2
45 John Williamson 6-6 225 F JR JC Columbus, Ohio Marion-Franklin
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