The Bearcats never trailed and jumped out to such a fast starter (16 – 4) that it caused many of us to hark back to the Marquette game in which UC started in the same fashion and ended up getting white washed for the rest of the game. Not today. Cincinnati had a job to do and never let their foot off the gas. The score doesn’t reflect it but watching the game UC has full control from the opening tip. Yancy Gates and Cheikh Mbodj exerted themselves inside early and they allowed the Bearcats to get plenty of open looks from beyond the arc. They were shooting so well that at halftime UC had made 58% of their shots from three. Overall it was a very balanced offensive performance. The transition game was still shaky but Cincinnati did well early dealing with the Pirates’ press. On the defensive end, UC kept Seton Hall’s primary weapons Jordan Theodore, Herb Pope, and Fuquan Edwin in check. It wasn’t until the final 5 minutes when they started to improve their line. By and large, the Bearcats just took care of business today.
In a critical six-game stretch to finish off the Big East regular season, the Bearcats are now 2 – 0. UC has a 9 – 5 conference record and is in prime position to get a high seed in the tourny at MSG in early March and most importantly the Big Dance. Cincinnati is sitting pretty right now and if they continue to play with this kind of intensity will have their name called on Selection Sunday. But it’s too early to break out the champaign. The archrival Louisville Cardinals invade 5/3rd next Thursday and a win against them would all but secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament.