Thursday, March 17, 2011

Game Day For Bearcats

U.C. fans have been waiting since March of 2005 to see their team play another NCAA tournament game. That day is here. With the late starting time tonight almost all of those fans waited until today to make their way to Washington, D.C. Of course they hope to stay for the weekend but the Bearcats have to withstand the pressure of Missouri. Sometimes the U.C. guards take care of the basketball and other times there have been issues. The fact that Cashmere Wright has had several days to rest up a problematic knee should be a plus. Wright will have to play a lot of minutes and carry the ball handling load against the Tigers. Where U.C. really needs to win this game is on the defensive end. The defense was solid for an entire season until the meltdown last week against Notre Dame. That would have to be the scary thing for U.C. fans going into this game. Missouri has a very capable shooter who can hurt a team from the perimeter. Marcus Denmon averages 17 points a game and is better than 45% from three-point range. Mizzou's entire starting five averages double-digits in scoring. Outside of the Notre Dame fiasco, the Bearcats have found ways to deal with teams that can score. They'll have to find a way to get that defensive edge back tonight. But U.C. should really exploit the rebounding category. Missouri simply stopped doing windows down the stretch. Granted, the Tigers lost the rebounding battle in their final five games, and lost four of those games. Kansas won the rebounding battle 49-29, including a whopping 16 offensive rebounds. Texas Tech had 15 offensive rebounds against the Tigers in the Big 12 tournament, but the Mizzou found a way to win that one. From the first time the U.C.-Missouri match up was announced, the rebounding battle seemed to be a big key. It still seems to be the big key for U.C. fans hoping to see the Bearcats play their second NCAA game since 2005 on Saturday.

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