Date: Friday, November 27th
Location of School: Cincinnati, OH
Mascot: Bearcats (No bearcats are in the continental US. I know, a bummer.)
Coach: Mike Cronin (10th year)
2014-15 Record: 23-11 (13-5 conference)
This will be played in Brookly, NY at the Barclays Center Classic
Cincinnati is our second big test of the year behind the Villanova game. At this point in time, we hopefully have our ducks in a row and will be playing with some steam.
The Bearcats went into the season with the idea that this was probably going to be a rebuilding year. They lost a lot of their contributors from the previous year and in December Coach Cronin was diagnosed with an aneurysm and was to sit out the remainder of the season. He is back on as coach full time for this year.
Just these two facts alone would make one think that it would be a rough year for such a historically good program. However, the team came together and maximized their raw talent for a 23-11 record and a trip to the NCAA tournament.
In the post season they made it to the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament and lost to runner up Connecticut. They then made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament and lost to a Kentucky team on their way to the Final Four. No shame in either one of those losses.
Interesting fact, the Bearcats ended the season with 42 straight wins when scoring 60 or more points a game. That statistic lays almost solely with their defense which is something that is consistent with Cronin's teams and will help make them a force against any team in the upcoming season.
The Bearcats bring back a majority of the team including senior forward Octavius Ellis with 9.9 ppg and 7.2 rpg, junior guard Troy Caupain 9.6 ppg, and sophomore forward Gary Clark. At 6'10", Ellis came in and helped carry the team through most of last season while Caupain and Clark both held their ends of the court.
As was stated above, this is a big defensive team so if Nebraska can step up their scoring from last year, we might see a heck of a show in Brooklyn. For a win, containment of Ellis is also a must. On the other end of the court,Cincinnati's shooting looks like it has improved from last year so the Husker defense will need to bring it's A-game to have a chance in this match up.
However, if Nebraska's shooting goes cold like it did a lot last season, this might be a short game in New York and long plane ride back to Lincoln.
This will be a heck of a test for this Husker team to end the month of November. This is also the type team that will help us prepare for the Big Ten schedule coming up. Any major struggles here and it might be a long winter in the Railyard.