2-Minute Preview Podcast: Cincinnati Bearcats (7-2) vs VCU Rams (7-3)

We’ve seen how the Bearcats (7-2, 6-0 at home) have handled adversity and failure. Now we’ll see how this young team handles success, as Shaka Smart’s VCU Rams, nicknamed “Havoc” for their relentless full-court pressure defense, come to town on Saturday, Dec. 20 (Noon, ESPNU).

In my three-minute-long 2-Minute Preview Podcast, I’ll talk about what UC needs to do to win and tell you about VCU’s top players.

2-Minute Preview Podcast: VCU

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Next Day Reaction: Bearcats Handle Adversity, Knock Off #19 San Diego State, 71-62 (OT)

Coreontae DeBerry (#22) and Octavious Ellis (#2)

Coreontae DeBerry (#22) and Octavius Ellis (#2)

After facing and handling adversity last Saturday night but losing by one point in Lincoln to the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Mick Cronin’s Cincinnati Bearcats faced and handled even more adversity Wednesday night, this time coming out on top against a gigantic San Diego State team, 71-62, in overtime at Fifth Third Arena. (Click Here for Highlights)

Never ever underestimate the power of facing and handling adversity. Ever. I believe the toughness built by a team (or by yourself in your own life) in the face of adversity is much more important than, say, figuring out “offensive woes,” despite what certain people in the Cincinnati area think.

This is why I focused on four positives from UC’s difficult-to-swallow loss to Nebraska instead of throwing my hands up and bitching about the usual Cincinnati-bitchfest things (The list: 1) Head coach Mick Cronin recruits athletes, not basketball players, 2) Cronin doesn’t recruit shooters, 3) Cronin needs to hire an offensive coordinator). In fact, to further hammer home why it makes much more sense to be positive and patient and to maintain a big-picture, it’s-a-long-season perspective, let’s revisit my four positives from the Nebraska loss:

1) Big Stride From the Ole Miss Game: The young Bearcats didn’t know yet what it would take to compete against a big, experienced team like the Rebels, and allowed Andy Kennedy’s team to shoot 49% from the field while forcing just 6 turnovers. UC packed a better lunch against Nebraska, forcing 22 turnovers and holding the Huskers to 32.7% shooting.

Troy Caupain (#10)

Troy Caupain (#10)

2) Troy Caupain’s Leadership: The 19-year-old from Midlothian, VA laid an egg against Ole Miss, but played with confidence and strength against Nebraska, gutting out a team-high 45 minutes with 5 steals, 6 assists and just 2 turnovers.

3) ***Resiliency Points Gained***: Even though it was an L on the record, battling through a 19-6 early-game deficit with your starting center in foul trouble to cut it to 23-21 at the half registered a gang of points on the “Resiliency Scale.”

4) Cronin’s Masterful Matchup Zone Defense: 22 turnovers, just 3 team assists for Nebraska. For an inexperienced team, to be able to dial up that type of defense keeps the scouting reports simple and allows the kids to focus more so on little things like not fouling as they mature as basketball players.

Now that we’ve re-visited these positives, let’s take a look at how they translated to the next game on the schedule.

You take a look at what 19th-ranked San Diego State has been through to this point in the season: The Aztecs beat a high-powered BYU team in Maui. Steve Fisher’s team then went toe-to-toe with #3 Arizona, eventually losing by just two points.

Fisher sent 6’7″ and 6’8″ at UC’s guards in the backcourt all night. This team is tall, long, athletic and chiseled. I sat 5th row center for this ballgame, and early on, it looked like the Bearcats would never find a way to score enough points to stay in the game, let alone keep this enormous team off the offensive glass, out of the paint or from snapping one of the rims.

After a J.J. O’Brien layup with 12:40 to go in the first half, SDSU led 13-6. Then, Deshaun Morman’s jumper hit the side of the backboard.

Aiiiish.

But, UC (toughness) got the offensive board and then 6-9, 280-pound junior-college transfer Coreontae DeBerry stuck it in the hole twice, pulling the Bearcats to within 3.

Then, after two free throws by the Aztecs created an 18-12 deficit for UC, Shaq Thomas and the ‘Cats answered with a 10-2 run to head to the locker room with a 2-point lead.

Staring that 19-6 deficit in the face in Lincoln, pulling together as a unit and clawing themselves back in to that game last Saturday instilled the belief in the Bearcat players’ minds that they possess the necessary fortitude. Again, as I’ll continue to harp away, never underestimate those resiliency points gained….especially when the team hasn’t been through the wars yet. (See also: Ohio State football this year.)

On to the second half, and on to more adversity. After an Angelo Chol (and no, I don’t have any idea how that guy’s name is Angelo Chol) dunk gave San Diego State a 43-38 lead, we hit the under 8:00 media timeout. Alright boys, you’ve fought hard, but you’re down by five and the Aztecs are starting to impose their will on the game.

We’ll start with #2 on my list of positives from the Nebraska loss. With the shot clock running down for the 89th time in the game, Caupain drove the lane, scored and got fouled. Huge, tide-stemming bucket. Now we’ll move to #4 on my list. Cronin’s matchup zone forced SDSU into a turnover. Jermaine Sanders then Far-Rockaway-New-Yorked a game-tying 3-pointer from the corner.

That’s how you respond!

Farad Cobb (#21)

Farad Cobb (#21)

From there, the Bearcats played smart on both ends. Junior guard Farad Cobb came up large on the offensive end (12 points, all after halftime), displaying the cojones grande that the team desperately needed. After freshman Gary Clark’s smooth end-of-shotclock finish, UC had built a 5-point lead with under a minute to go. But wait…..

More adversity! Much, much more adversity. First of all, the Aztecs (28% from 3-point range on the season) came down and banged in two three-point shots, sandwiched around two free throws by sophomore Kevin Johnson. Then, as UC held a 57-55 lead with 10 seconds to play, Aztec junior Winston Shepard drove wildly to the basket, tripped over his own feet and lost the ball out of bounds. But wait! A foul was called on Johnson! And, of course, Shepard bangs in both free throws. We’re going to overtime.

Your first thought is, “That was a horrrrrrrrible call.” Your second thought: “Shit, UC has to win this game twice???”

The Bearcat players could have folded or anguished over what could have been. But Caupain banded the crew together and led the way in overtime.

Add about five more “resiliency points” to the collective psyche of the 2014-15 Cincinnati basketball team. Better yet, add a quality non-conference win against a ranked opponent to this team’s NCAA Tournament resume.

You can either focus on stuff like offensive woes or missed free throws, or you can focus on the big picture. And in my mind, for this particular group of kids, I love the big picture potential. Remember, this is only Game 9. Eighty percent of the players in UC’s rotation are sophomores or didn’t play Division I college basketball last season. We’ve yet to see what the finished product will be with this group, and we may not see it until Game 20….or maybe even Game 45 (next season). But I’ll tell you this: Because of the coaching staff’s ability to teach and preach defense, when this team reaches its offensive potential (and despite what a lot of folks around Cincinnati may think, there is a great deal of offensive potential), it will be THE most dangerous team Mick has had as head coach at Cincinnati.

Thanks for reading. Stay positive. Stay patient.

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#Bearcats vs #19 San Diego State: The Most Important Game on Cincinnati’s Schedule?

Octavius Ellis rocks the rim.

Octavius Ellis rocks the rim.

It’s only mid-December and it’s only the ninth game on Cincinnati’s schedule, but Wednesday night’s battle with 19th-ranked San Diego State could turn out to be the most important game in the 2014-15 regular season.

As I sit here eating a giant Nestle Crunch bar, scouring through ESPN’s Basketball Power Index rankings, it’s becoming painfully evident that the American Athletic Conference may be one of the weakest leagues in the nation this year. The highest ranked team in the conference is SMU at 39. UConn is next at 46. The Bearcats check in at 64. The next highest team? Tulane at 119.

Yikes. (And yes, Tulane really is in this league now.)

So, unlike those years in the Big East, and unlike last season when conference foes Louisville, Memphis and UConn all scored the Bearcats points in the computer rankings, grabbing wins against quality non-conference opponents will likely be necessary for UC to qualify for its fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament.

After having dropped its first two opportunities to Ole Miss and at Nebraska, “Oc” Ellis and the Bearcats will be afforded four more chances to bolster that March Madness resume:

Dec 17    vs #19 San Diego State
Dec 20    vs VCU
Dec 30    at NC State
Feb 18    vs Xavier

While Xavier currently (and inexplicably) ranks ahead of the Aztecs in the BPI (15th), chances are, the #@$&in’ Musketeers won’t be ranked in either Top 25 poll when we get to the Crosstown Shootout. VCU was ranked a couple of weeks ago, but suffered defeats to Villanova, Virginia and Old Dominion, knocking Shaka Smart’s crew out of the Top 25. NC State just lost to Wofford, so we can safely assume the Wolfpack won’t be ranked by December 30th.

Of course, there’s a chance Connecticut could work its way back into the rankings, but a home loss to Yale will be tough to overcome.

As you can see, this means that San Diego State could be the only ranked team UC plays all season. And that’s why this 9:00 ESPN2 (Bob Wischusen and Dan Dakich on the broadcast) tilt against Steve Fisher’s Aztecs might be the most important game on the schedule.

Your San Diego State Aztecs 2-Minute Preview

As it turns out, San Diego State is virtually a mirror image of the Bearcats. Both teams struggle to score, both teams graduated a senior leader/playmaker and both teams play Top 10-caliber defense.

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Thanks for reading. Stay positive. Stay patient.

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Next Day Reaction: Positives From #Bearcats 56-55 Double OT Loss At Nebraska

mick cronin cincinnati

Head coach Mick Cronin

Any time your team loses a game by one point, you can spend hours going back over the course of that game, lamenting over fifty different “What if” plays. Troy Caupain and the Cincinnati Bearcats battled in the team’s first true road game of the season, but lost 56-55 in double overtime to Nebraska in Lincoln. And there certainly were fifty “What if” plays to go back and take a look at in this ballgame. But, like head coach Mick Cronin says, we don’t deal in hypotheticals. UC lost the game.

We also don’t deal in moral victories. But, in the interest of “It’s a long season,” can we applaud the kids for playing their hearts out in a tough environment against a desperate team and focus on the positives UC can build on moving forward? Let’s do that. “What ifs” are a waste of time.

1. This Was a Big Stride From the Ole Miss Game

The first time the Bearcats faced an experienced Power 5 Conference team, Ole Miss suffocated and dominated UC. The Bearcats really didn’t put up a fight in that loss, falling behind by more than 20 in the second half and allowing the Rebels to shoot 49% from the field. UC forced only six turnovers in that game.

And, while UC’s offensive numbers weren’t much different in either game (30.4% FG vs Ole Miss, 31.7% vs Nebraska), this team competed and focused 100 times better on the defensive end in Lincoln. Nebraska shot just 32.7% from the field and committed 22 turnovers while registering only three assists.

I know it’s easy to focus on the rampant nausea you’ve felt watching the Bearcats try to put the ball in the basket in these two losses, but in the long run, in order for this team to win enough games to get to the NCAA Tournament, it will need to play defense like it did against Nebraska on a regular basis.

2. Troy Caupain’s Leadership

Sophomore Troy Caupain

Sophomore Troy Caupain

In that loss to Ole Miss, Caupain scored only three points, shot zero free throws, committed five turnovers and dished out just one assist in 23 lackluster minutes. You can’t have that from your point guard against a quality opponent and expect to have a chance.

Last night in Lincoln, Troy was a leader. He played (by far) a team-high 45 minutes. When it looked bleak early on, the sophomore from Midlothian, VA was aggressive, shooting the ball with confidence and without hesitation, and attacking the basket when driving lanes opened up. His final stats: 13 points, 3-3 free throws, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals and only 2 turnovers.

That’s what this team needs out of Caupain. That’s a good sign moving forward. Remember, this was only his eighth start in college at the point guard spot…and it was on the road against a desperate team in what was at times a deafening arena.

3. Resiliency Points Gained

I’m sure you’re beyond sick of hearing about how inexperienced and young this UC Bearcats team is, but, well, it’s quite inexperienced and it’s quite young. Six first-year players (subtract redshirt freshman Jamaree Strickland from the mix, he’s transferring) and two sophomores make up 80% of your rotation right now. And, with inexperience comes mistakes. We saw a TON of mistakes in that ballgame last night: Bad shots on offense early, bad fouls on defense late.

That said, let’s focus on the big picture. With youth and inexperience will come mistakes. That’s the way it is. Like I always say about my own life: I have to learn by f***ing up. And when these kids watch the film from this loss to Nebraska, they’ll be doin’ a lotta that kinda learnin’. Now, in terms of the big picture, think about what last night’s game will do for the growth of this basketball team…

You know you’re facing a desperate team. It’s your first true road game as a group. And how does the game start off? As horribly as possible. Hell, beyond as horribly as possible. You can’t buy an outside shot. Your starting center and best rim protector (Octavious Ellis) picks up his second foul with 14:00 to go in the first half, relegating him to the bench until after halftime. And, AND, after you play tremendous defense for 33 seconds, you lose track of three-point shooting big man Walter Pitchford, who swishes a three at the shot clock buzzer to put you in a 19-6 hole.

Like I said: Beyond as horribly as possible.

At that point, you’ve got two options:

1) Hang your head, worry about the offensive struggles and lose focus on defense (see: The first 10 minutes of the second half against Ole Miss), and fall so far behind that you’ll never climb back in the game.

2) Focus even harder on defense, stay in the game and claw your way back.

The Bearcats chose Option 2. And wouldn’t ya know it? UC had the final possession of the half with a chance to tie or take the lead. At the break it was 23-21, Nebraska. UC had held the Cornhuskers to just four points in the final 6:21 of the first half while the ‘Cats gritted out 15, ignited by Farad Cobb’s “I’ve got big balls” perfectly-swished three-pointer answer to Pitchford’s. And THAT is why Cronin and his staff spend soooo much time on defense.

So, even though UC receives an L on the team record, going through a war like this and fighting through adversity should speed up the team’s growth and, perhaps more importantly, bring this unit closer together moving forward.

4. This Masterful Matchup Zone Defense

Say it with me: Mick Cronin and his staff are defensive wizards.

I mean, come on. You’ve got all these new players, it’s only mid-December, and you hold a team with two 20-point scorers to daggum 32.7% shooting on its home floor? How in the name of Stephen F. Austin did you do that?

With the matchup zone, that’s how.

Recently I heard Cronin say on the radio that he’s had to simplify what the team will do on defense so as not to confuse his young kids and overload their minds with in-depth scouting report lingo. Now, he’s got some liabilities out there to hide, he’s got a big point guard who will likely have trouble staying in front of ultra quick counterparts…..so he’s gone to this matchup zone. It basically does three things:

1) It allows the guards up top to switch everything. An offense that can’t set high ball screens will become stagnant right away.
2) It’s confusing. It’s got both zone and man-to-man principles, so the opposing team will run into problems if they try to run their normal offense or their zone offense. Nebraska committed 22 turnovers and had just the three assists. I’d say they were pretty effin’ confused, huh?
3) It allows you to keep a hand up on three-point shooters. Nebraska’s best outside gunners, Pitchford, Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields, combined to shoot 3-for-14 from deep.

Moving Forward

Although this loss was excruciating, it’s a one-point road loss to a Power 5 team in December. Not the end of the world. The Bearcats still have four chances to grab NCAA Tournament resume-building non-conference wins. The next two will be at home: Wednesday Dec. 17 vs. #18 San Diego State (9:00 EST, ESPN2) and Saturday Dec. 20 vs VCU (noon, ESPNU). At least a split is probably necessary.

Thanks for reading. Stay positive, stay patient.

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2-Minute Preview Podcast: Cincinnati Bearcats (6-1) At Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-3)

Here is a quick preview of what Troy Caupain and the Cincinnati Bearcats will be up against in the team’s first true road game of the 2014-15 season, Saturday night in Lincoln against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The game will be aired at 9:00 EST on Big10 Network.

UC/Nebraska 2-minute Preview Podcast

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Also, click here for head coach Mick Cronin’s thoughts.

Why College Football Playoff Selection May Have Helped #Cincinnati

uc bearcats logoAfter two months of ESPN milking and milking and milking this first ever college football “Final Four,” the results were announced today at around 12:45 PM EST. Much of the nation felt the Top 3 teams selected would be Alabama, Oregon and Florida State. And the selection committee agreed.

Controversy and debate (again with the milking, ESPN) reached a fever pitch last night after Ohio State laid the most serious beatdown football fans have likely ever seen on the Wisconsin Badgers in the Big 10 Championship game. The final spot would no doubt come down to three one-loss teams: Ohio State, Baylor and TCU.

In the end, the two Big 12 schools were on the outside looking in.

Was it the soft non-conference schedules that kept Baylor and TCU out? Or was it simply that the Buckeyes so overwhelmingly stated their case that it was a no-brainer for the committee? Or, or, a third option (Family Guy reference)…did it hurt the Big 12 that the conference only had ten teams and did not have a conference championship game?

It’s hard to say. But if I’m the commissioner of the Big 12, I have to be thinking about adding two teams, setting up two divisions, and having that title game like the other four power leagues. Imagine if TCU faced Baylor last night and one of the teams wiped the floor with the other? Then what?

I’ll leave all the conjecture where it belongs and simply focus on this: If the Big 12 does decide to add two schools, who would be the top candidates? I believe Houston, BYU and Cincinnati would be the frontrunners.

Houston makes sense geographically and from a football program standpoint. BYU has a strong football history as well as a close proximity to the current Big 12 schools. As for Cincinnati, the football program has elevated itself immensely over the past decade and its home stadium (Nippert) has just been renovated and will be ready for the 2015 season. Also helping Cincinnati’s cause is the tradition and recent success of the basketball program.

Of course, as a friend of mine close to the program points out, the Big 12 would also need to consider budget, facilities, attendance vs. capacity, performance of non-revenue sports and history of administration leadership.

I’ll admit I have nothing to offer in terms of how Houston or BYU stack up to those criteria. As for Cincinnati, from what I’ve seen and been told in the past year, this university is trending upward in nearly every area. Plus, newly appointed athletic director Mike Bohn has experience with conference realignment from his days at Colorado.

I’m not saying UC will definitely get an invite to the Big 12, but I think that without a doubt, what happened with the college football playoff couldn’t have worked out better for the Bearcats’ chances of future inclusion in a power conference.

#Bearcats Postgame Podcast: UC Mops Stony Brook, 78-52

After getting dealt with by Ole Miss last Saturday night, the Cincinnati Bearcats bounced back by ripping nets and punishing rims in a fun-for-us-to-watch 78-52 win at Fifth Third Arena.

Shaquille Thomas stepped his game up tonight by stepping his aggressiveness and his dunkingness. Coreontae DeBerry put forth 20 quality minutes. Troy Caupain’s first five shots had something fun in common.

Game 7: UC 78, Stony Brook 52 Postgame Podcast
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Mick Cronin’s Method, Part 1: The Correct (And Necessary) Formula For Winning at Cincinnati

uc bearcats logoYou’re a fan of Cincinnati Bearcat basketball. Deeper than that, you’re a fan of the game of basketball. And as the Bearcats get off to another slow start offensively this season, you may be getting frustrated with the continuing struggles on that side of the ball in the Mick Cronin Era.

As a fan of the game of basketball, you obviously prefer to watch what many refer to as “good basketball.” Now, “good basketball” is a broad, loose term, but for simplification purposes, we can agree that it refers to those times when we watch a team repeatedly bring the basketball across half court, crisply move the ball around until an open shot presents itself, and then, quintessentially, the ball goes through the net. Recent examples would be Creighton with Doug McDermott, Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin teams and that Illinois team with Deron Williams, Dee Brown and Luther Head.

Now that we agree on what quote-unquote “good basketball” looks like, let’s move on to another term: “Winning basketball.” When you think of “winning basketball,” do you think of the same things you think about when somebody says the term “good basketball?” You likely think about crisp, fluid offense and great shooting in both examples, but when it comes to “winning basketball,” your mind likely expands to defense and rebounding.

Aha! There it is! You knew it was coming!

To keep the broken record wobbling: Can you win games when shots aren’t falling? Cincinnati can and does. It started with Bob Huggins and it has continued under Mick Cronin.

mick cronin cincinnatiIn terms of the way Mick Cronin wins basketball games—and he won 101 basketball games the past four seasons while dropping only 39—let me ask you a question: Would you rather lose 85-80 or win 65-60?

If you chose the “lose 85-80” option, be honest: You’re letting your emotions and frustrations get the better of you.

No matter how you slice it, the hometown kid has taken your Bearcats to four straight NCAA Tournaments. Only fifteen other schools can say that. Three of those appearances were earned in the former Big East Conference, an unforgiving league where everybody had a top coach and everybody had size and talent. How has Mick managed to accomplish that?

You guessed it: Defense and rebounding. Look where UC has ranked nationally the past four seasons in offensive efficiency, defensive efficiency and offensive rebound percentage (per Teamrankings.com):

 

Cincinnati Bearcats Record Offensive Efficiency Defensive Efficiency Offensive Rebound Pct
2013-14 27-7 119th 8th 8th
2012-13 22-12 165th 10th 8th
2011-12 26-11 102nd 40th 43rd
2010-11 26-9 65th 19th 10th

 

I know what you’re thinking: If the offense was better…

Then what? They’d never lose? I know, right?!

Now let me counter with a thought to ponder: If the defense was worse…

While you’re pondering, let me ask you another question: Do you know who ranked #1 in the nation last season in Offensive Efficiency? The answer: The Duke Blue Devils. And what happened to Mike Krzyzewski’s team? Even though they had Jabari Parker and another first round NBA draft pick, Duke lost to Mercer in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, 78-71.

Mercer shot 56% from the field in that game. But that wasn’t a surprise because Duke couldn’t stop anybody all season, ranking 128th in Defensive Efficiency.  And remember when 2-seed Duke was bounced by 15-seed Lehigh in 2012? The Blue Devils checked in at 145th in Defensive Efficiency that year.

Translation: No matter how good your offense is, if your foundation isn’t defense, you’re vulnerable. Your counterpoint to that statement is likely this: “I could say the opposite. If you can’t score, no matter how good your defense is, you’re vulnerable.” And that is a fair counterpoint.

rick pitino mick cronin

Rick Pitino offering Mick Cronin a handshake.

I’ll rebut with this: Mick Cronin’s Bearcats have beaten Jim Boeheim twice, Bob Huggins twice, Jim Calhoun three times and Rick Pitino five times. And let’s be real: UC was the less-talented team in every single one of those victories. How’d Mick manage to knock off those hall-of-famers? Defense and rebounding, of course. In those twelve ballgames, UC allowed an average of 38% from the field while accumulating a +46 rebounding margin.

It ain’t always pretty, but it works. What’s more, it’s the way it has to be done when you’re at a recruiting budget disadvantage (not to mention the outdated arena your team plays its home games in).

Mick Cronin wins games, and he wins them with less talent. Imagine what he’ll do when his teams have the most talent.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series, when we’ll discuss recruiting at Cincinnati and touch on why the 2014-15 Bearcats may have the most talent of any of Mick’s UC teams so far. Enter your e-mail address in the box at the top of the right-hand side bar to receive Part 2 and all future BergOnSports posts and podcasts directly in your inbox.  

 

Ole Miss Suffocates #Bearcats, 66-54: Postgame *Podcast* (5:48)

Experience over youth. Grown ass men against boys. That was the story from Niceville, Florida tonight as the Ole Miss Rebels squashed the Cincinnati Bearcats in the final of the inaugural Emerald Coast Classic.

I wasn’t shocked. UC had been skating by against inferior competition, and when I looked at Andy Kennedy’s roster and saw virtually all seniors and juniors, I figured the Bearcats were due for a reality check.

It’s not all bad, though. There were a couple of bright spots for UC, and, a loss in November certainly does not end your season.

Check out the Postgame Podcast:

Click Here to Listen (5:48)
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#Bearcats Smash Middle Tennessee, 69-51, Led Once Again By Gary Clark: Postgame *Podcast*

The Bearcats built off the huge win over NC Central on Tuesday, taking the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders to the cleaners, 69-51 on Friday night in Niceville, Florida. 6’8″ freshman Gary Clark again owned the paint on both ends of the floor. UC was magnificently balanced, with five players scoring 9 or more points. Mick Cronin’s squad shot 56.7% from the field.

Junior guard Farad Cobb went for 9 points, 2 assists and 2 steals in the same gym he played in last season at Northwest Florida State.

UC advances to the finals of the Emerald Coast Classic, to be played Saturday night at approximately 9:00 EST on CBS Sports Network vs. Ole Miss (4-1). The Rebels are coached by former UC assistant (under Bob Huggins) and interim head coach Andy Kennedy. It will be the first time Kennedy has faced Cincinnati as the head man in Oxford. The Rebels are loaded with upperclassmen.

Here is your BergOnSports Postgame Podcast:

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