Tonight’s loss played out much in the same way as New Mexico last Saturday, except for the fact that Cincinnati’s death knell also came by way of the three-ball. Against the Lobos, UC was manhandled inside by big men Alex Kirk and Cameron Bairstow. Cincinnati was dominated in a similar fashion by Xavier’s Matt Stainbrook and Justin Martin. Clearly the lack of talent and depth in the post for the Bearcats was again exposed tonight.
But the Musketeers also shot lights out from beyond the arc. Six different Musketeers hit a three. As a team, Xavier shot 68.8% from three point land, draining 11 total, and ripping the wind out of Cincinnati’s sails with clutch tres whenever the Bearcats made a run. Xavier just did basically anything they wanted to do offensively against Cincinnati and most of the time it was without star point guard Semaj Christon who finished with just 8 points. I think that was the most discouraging factor from the game.
Overall, Xavier just played perfect team basketball tonight. Sure, Cincinnati did itself no favors by failing to take advantage of Musketeer turnovers and several XU players in foul trouble. But the Musketeers got contributions from nearly every single player on that team and made the plays at the right moments to put UC away.
Additionally, the Bearcats again left a lot of points on the floor tonight. I feel like that’s a narrative that has haunted the Mick Cronin regime since he took over nearly a decade ago. Yet, the UC head coach seems to fail to admit or correct it. If Mick doesn’t think his team has issues offensively, that severely frightens me.