It's almost February. That means that the basketball season is rounding to the finish, and the games start to take on a little bit more importance. The Bearcats sit at 17-3, 4-3 in the Big East. They have 11 games remaining on the schedule. Since it's Tuesday, and Tuesday kinda sucks, let's take a look ahead and try to guess how this season will play out. Keep in mind, this is for entertainment purposes only, but if I nail this shit, you'll never heard the end of it. Also, yes that is me pictured up top.1/22 @ St John's - W
I included this one on the list so it would be an even list of 12. This was a crucial win, as it was the first road win in conference play for UC. 1/26 v Rutgers
Opponent RPI: 101 Ken Pom: 87
Hopeful Result: Win. You gotta keep serve at home against a team that's inferior statistically and on paper. That's kinda the same thing. Rutgers has 3 conference wins, so they aren't a total write off. They beat the dregs of the conference, USF, Providence, Seton Hall. The only win they have on the road in conference is at Seton Hall, the last game they played. The only other road win they have is against Monmouth. UC should take care of business.
Worst Case: The Bearcats drop a game at home to a team that they should have beaten, taking their first bad loss of the season in the process.
Outlook: Win. Projected record: 18-3, 5-31/29 v West Virginia
Opponent RPI: 14 Ken Pom: 24
Hopeful Result: Win. On the news that Casey Mitchell has been suspended indefinitely
, the outlook is a bit better. The Mountaineers are running the Louisville/Cincinnati circuit, so I don't really expect Mitchell to play in either game. Even if he does, the Mountaineers have not been good outside of Morgantown. They own a nice neutral court win over Vandy, won at Duquesne and Georgetown. That's it. They've lost two neutral site games, one to Marshall, and two road games. Ken Pom currently likes UC to take this one down. I do too. UC can't afford to blow home games. True story, Mick Cronin has beaten Bob Huggins every year he's been at WVU.
Worst Case: UC blows a home game. I don't think there is a ton of difference between WVU and UC this season. The Bearcats could use this game, but if they lost, I don't think it would do much harm.
Outlook: Win. Projected Record: 19-3, 6-3 2/5 @ Pittsburgh
Opponent RPI: 5 Ken Pom: 4
Hopeful Result: The Bearcats go on the road to the PEC and do what ND did last night, tough out a win. The Bearcats get a signature win, and one on the road. The Bearcats use the week of rest that they will have for good, and come out guns blazing against the Panthers.
Worst Case: Doors get blown off, a repeat of what happened against Nova and Syracuse. The Bearcats haven't won in Pitt since they've been in the Big East. UC played them tough last season, but I think Pitt is just better. No shame losing there.
Outlook: Loss. Projected Record: 19-4, 6-42/8 @ DePaul
Opponent RPI: 219 Ken Pom: 183
Hopeful Result: Win. It's DePaul. Already beat them once. And really, it's DePaul. They say you aren't supposed to count your chickens before they hatch, and that's true. Unless that egg is a win over DePaul, in that case, you count.
Worst Case: A humiliating loss to the worst team in the conference. #BootCincinnati hashtag becomes in vogue.
Outlook: Win. Projected Record: 20-4, 7-4 2/13 v St John's
Opponent RPI: 24 Ken Pom: 54
Hopeful Result: The Bearcats won on the road, and the stats say that the team that wins on the road, almost always wins at home. The Bearcats and Red Storm are pretty even, but the Bearcats front line out worked St John's big time. UC plays better at home, and this should be win 21.
Worst Case: St John's comes into Cincinnati and gets a sweet slice of revenge.
Outlook: Win. Projected Record: 21-4, 8-42/16 v Louisville
Opponent RPI: 39 Ken Pom: 16
Hopeful Result: The Bearcats clamp on the d against the Cardinals heavy outside shooting attack, and once again hold serve at home. When the shots aren't falling for the Cardinals, they are ripe for the picking. Cincinnati does a pretty good job at limiting looks from downtown. The Bearcats and Cardinals have played tightly contested games since 2008. UC hasn't beaten Louisville at home since 2006.
Worst Case: Preston(!) Knowles and company drop threes all over 5/3 Arena and hand the Bearcats a loss. Not a bad loss, but it would be in the sense that UC needs to win at home.
Outlook: Win. Projected Record: 22-4, 9-42/19 @ Providence
Opponent RPI: 103 Ken Pom: 77
Hopeful Result: The Bearcats go on the road and keep the winning streak alive at 4. The Bearcats should be able to go on the road and beat a team that they seem better than. Plus, these are the games you definitely have to win to have a good looking resume in March.
Worst Case: Providence has only lost 1 time at home this season. With the schedule before the UC game, it'll probably be twice. The Dunk is a tough place to win, Louisville @ Providence Saturday exhibit A, and while it wouldn't be great, it wouldn't be the end of the world. Ok, it could be.
Outlook: Win. Projected Record: 23-4, 10-4. 2/23 @ Georgetown
Opponent RPI: 8 Ken Pom: 29
Hopeful Result: The hopeful result here is that UC goes to Washington DC and doesn't get annihilated. UC won in 2009 at Georgetown, but the other 3 trips have been ass kickings. The Hoyas are a step below elite, at least so far. One would hope the Bearcats could ride the hot streak that I have them on into DC and grind out a win.
Worst Case: Nearly every other trip to Georgetown.
Outlook: Loss. Projected Record: 23-5, 10-52/27 v Connecticut
Opponent RPI: 3 Ken Pom: 15
Hopeful Result: A replay of the series from last season, when the Bearcats swept the Huskies.
Worst Case: The UConn squad of this season is not that team. They have the best player in America, in my humble opinion, and he can pretty much do anything. If the game is close this year, the Bearcats will lose. Because, as our buddies the UConn blog say, they have Kemba Walker and we don't.
Outlook: Loss. Projected Record: 23-6, 10-63/2 @ Marquette
Opponent RPI: 61 Ken Pom: 27
Hopeful Result: Cincinnati does something that they haven't done since 2006, beat Marquette. Yeah, it's been that long. Seems like we use to beat them every year. It use to be special playing Marquette. Now, it just feels like another game. Did you know UC and Marquette didn't play at all in 2007? Seems weird.
Worst Case: Marquette will be on the bubble. When they are on the bubble late in the year, they seem to win. The last time UC went to Marquette, I think the score was 90-40. Oh, it was 84-50. My fake score was incredibly similar to what actually happened.
Outlook: Loss. Projected Record: 23-7, 10-73/5 v Georgetown
Hopeful Result: The Bearcats get revenge on the Hoyas for the projected road loss. And, it's Senior Day, so it would be great for the seniors to go out with a W.
Worst Case: Cincinnati doesn't match up well with Georgetown, and get swept into a 4th straight loss. Georgetown won't have played for a week before this game. 2 of their last 3 are against UC. I kinda hope they play the first game in the BET.
Outlook: Win. Projected Record: 24-7, 11-7
I may have gone a bit on the optimistic side, but I don't think I did too much. Even if you make the Louisville and Georgetown games losses, that's still 9-9, 22-8 overall, and that might be enough for the Bearcats to get in the NCAA tournament. They would have work to do in the BET, but they could do something. I think the schedule breaks down into a few categories.
- @ DePaul
- @ Providence
- v Rutgers
Should win toss ups
- v Louisville
- v Georgetown
- v West Virginia
- v St John's
Could steal, maybe 40/60 to win
Bring your work boots because it could be a long day
- @ Georgetown
- v Connecticut
- @ Pittsburgh
The schedule breaks down well for the Bearcats. They get the toughest bubble tests at home. They get UConn at home. Georgetown doesn't seem like the worst team to have to play twice down the stretch. I know I've been saying it quite a lot lately, but believe people. The road is gonna be hard, but I think we can make it through the other side.