Jeff Wolf, A Look at the Bearcats

Marquette goes on the road Saturday to face Deonta Vaughn and Cincinnati. Here's MUHoops.com's scouting report of the Bearcats.

 

Cincinnati Bearcats

(10-11, 5-4 Big East)

Head Coach Mike Cronin (2nd Season)

 

Probable Starters:

SR G Marvin Gentry – 6-3, 180 - 6.6ppg, 2.5rpg, 76.9ft%

SR G Jamual Warren – 6-2, 195

SO G Deonta Vaughn – 6-1, 195

SR F John Williamson – 6-6, 225 -

SR C Adam Hrycaniuk – 6-10, 230

 

Key Reserves:

SR F Marcus Sikes – 6-8, 230

FR G Larry Davis – 6-3, 180

FR C Anthony McClain – 6-11, 245

 

 

Cincinnati is a perfect example of how much parody there is in the Big East this year.  The Bearcats beat West Virginia (on the road), Louisville (on the road), Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Villanova.  Yet they lost to both St. Johns and Seton Hall, and in early non-conference play, they fell to the likes of Illinois State, Bowling Green, and Belmont.

 

Entering Saturday's showdown with Marquette, the Bearcats are coming off perhaps their best performance of the season, a 63-39 victory over the Mountaineer in which they allowed WVU only 20 percent shooting for the game (10-50).

 

The Bearcats are not offensive juggernauts by any stretch of the imagination.  They are third worst in the Big East in field goal percentage (42.7 percent) and three-point percentage (33.7 percent).  Their average of 66.1 points per game (ppg) is also third from the bottom in the Big East, and on top of that, they allow opponents to score 67.0 ppg.

 

Yes the Bearcats have a negative scoring differential.  What that generally says about a team is that when they win games, they are usually close games.  Cincinnati is no exception here.  They grind games out and play physical man-to-man defense.  There isn't a lot of trapping or pressing in their game plan, so they don't force a lot of turnovers.  What Cincinnati does best is slow the game down to limit possessions. 

 

 

Although they are one of the worst statistical rebounding teams in the conference at 35.6 rebounds per game (rpg), that number lies somewhat because they have improved their rebounding tremendously in Big East play and are a very active team on the glass.  And despite that figure, they still have a positive rebounding margin on the season because they allow opponents only 32.6 rpg – second best in the conference (WVU recorded only 26 rebounds in their recent loss to the Bearcats).  They simply don't allow a lot of shots to go up from a defensive standpoint, therefore there are fewer rebounds in the game.

 

In Cincinnati, Marquette faces their second straight opponent with an all-conference-caliber star.  Deonta Vaughn is one of the most dangerous scorers in the Big East.  The Bearcats as a team may not score much, but Vaughn ranks in the top ten in the conference in almost every major offensive category.  A lot of pressure was put on him in the offseason to step into a leadership role and become the team's go-to scorer, and Vaughn has certainly responded.  The sophomore from Indianapolis leads Cincinnati by scoring 17.5 ppg (good for ninth in the Big East) and shooting 46.6 percent from the field.

 

Vaughn is an accurate shooter from pretty much anywhere on the floor, sinking 40.8 percent from beyond the arc (fourth in the Big East) and 79.1 percent from the foul line (10th in the Big East).  His 60 three-pointers made on the season rank him third in the conference in that category.  He has a quick release and is a talented ball-handler capable of creating his own shot.  While best suited as a shooting guard, Vaughn has played the point at times this season, and his 4.1 assists-per-game average is good for ninth in the Big East.

 

Vaughn is also a clutch performer, averaging 7.0 ppg in the last 10 minutes of games this season. 

 

A big difference between Cincinnati and Marquette's last opponent, USF, is that the Bearcats have surrounded their star player with experienced veterans.  Four seniors start alongside Vaughn, and each is a valuable contributor on the floor.

 

Point guard Jamual Warren missed the first six games of the season with a hand injury.  His return to the lineup allowed Vaughn to return to the off-guard position, and his contributions have helped steady the Bearcats in conference play.  He averages 4.4 assists per game, recording six against WVU, and sports a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.  Warren is a pass-first player who still averages a modest 5.7 ppg, yet his greatest contribution may come on the glass. Warren is a great rebounder who averages 4.7 rpg and recorded a career high nine boards against WVU.  He is a liability from the foul line, however, where he is shooting only 6-17 (35.3 percent).

 

Guard Marvin Gentry is in his first year as a starter after being the Bearcats top sub a season ago as a JUCO transfer.  His scoring is down a little form last season (6.6 ppg from 7.4 ppg) but he is still a good shooter (38.3 percent from beyond the arc) and an active presence on defense.  Gentry is also a 76.9 percent free-throw shooter.

 

Center Adam Hyrcaniuk ( pronounced hu-RITZ-a-niuk) is a junior college transfer, originally from Poland, who was only granted one year of eligibility by the NCAA after it was ruled that the team he played for in Poland was semi-pro.  Hyrcaniuk is a typical European player in that he is most comfortable facing the basket and taking 18-foot jump shots.  He averages 8.0 ppg and 5.1 rpg, and his 78.1 percent from the foul line ranks him 13th in the Big East in that category.

 

Forward John Williamson is a slasher who is very active around the basket.  He is perhaps the lone true post-up in the starting lineup.  His 6.0 rpg and 9.7 ppg are first and second on the team, respectively.  Williams shoots 48.4 percent from the field but only connects 57.6 percent of the time from the foul line.

 

The Bearcats do not receive a lot of scoring from their bench.  Senior forward Marcus Sikes, who came in to grab 12 rebounds against WVU, is typically their sixth man.

 

The Golden Eagles and Bearcats square off at Fifth-Third Arena Saturday at 11:00 a.m. CST.


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