After being mired by poor offensive play sets and execution, everything came together for the Bearcats in their 18 point win over Villanova on Tuesday night. Hopefully that performance was a sign of the team finally getting its act together as they approach perhaps the most difficult stretch of games this season. Tonight they take on #15 Georgetown before traveling to UConn and #12 Notre Dame, returning home to host UConn, then making the quick trip down the Louisville to play the 12th ranked Cardinals.
Heading into the season this looked like one of the toughest few games on the schedule but most of us anticipated Cincinnati being 8 – 4 or 9 – 3 in the Big East up to this point. Theoretically the Bearcats picking up seemingly gimme wins earlier in the season would have bolster the resume enough to overcome any hiccups during this stretch. But no one could predict UC laying an egg against Providence or them letting the Pitt and St. John’s games slip away. So at 7 – 5 panic is starting to set in and because of the desperation of getting each win, the next two weeks now looks more like a murder’s row.
But as Mick professes, we need to take it one game at a time. First up is the Georgetown Hoyas. Analysis after the jump.
If there’s one team that mirrors the Cincinnati Bearcats almost perfectly it’s Georgetown. They struggle at time scoring points, averaging just just 64.3 points per game, play tremendous defense. They have held Louisville to 51, Notre Dame to 47, and Marquette to 55, all in Hoyas wins. On the season they are allowing opponents to score just under 56 points per game. Considering UC is allowing about 58 points per game, this could be a real dogfight tonight.
Players To Watch
Otto Porter (#22): This guy is just a superhuman athlete. When you look at some of his numbers, you’d think he was a guard. Porter is averaging 15.3 points, 1.9 steals, and 7.9 rebounds per game, leading Georgetown in all three categories. Plus he’s shooting 44% from three. All of this from a 6’8″ forward. Porter does just about anything for the Hoyas and his ability to shoot well from all over the court, within the paint or beyond the three point line, makes him a headache to defend.
Greg Whittington (#2): Complimenting Porter is fellow sophomore Greg Whittington. Really he is the yin to Porters yang. Averaging a solid 12.1 points per game himself, Whittington also does a nice job on the glass, picking up 7 boards and 1.3 steals per game, both of which are right behind Porter. As shaky as Cincinnati’s interior play has been this season it could get ugly tonight if the Bearcats’ post players key in on one guy and leave the other one alone.
Final Thoughts And Prediction
Clearly Whittington and Porter are the primary reasons why Georgetown has been so dominant on defense this season, leading the Hoyas to an impressive 18 – 4 record. I mention the defense since that is what they have done so well this year but Georgetown can score points in the paint, led by these guys. I don’t expect this to be a “pretty” game by any means. UC games rarely are. But tonight both the Hoyas and Bearcats will have to scratch and claw just to get to 50 points. Realistically I’d say the first one to hit that mark will win this game and UC will be the first to do it.