There are some built in excuses for the performance against SMU Saturday night. Like it was the first time UC played twice in three days. True, UC had already done that this season, but it was a home stand and it was December and those teams weren't that good. The last 3 weeks we've seen UC play Thursday/Sunday. This is a valid excuse. It will be a lot less valid because the Bearcats do it again to close the season. And the game before that is senior night against Memphis, possibly the most emotional game of the season.
Another excuse is that no team has been ridden harder in conference play like the Bearcats. UC has played 12 conference games. Louisville, Memphis, UConn, USF and Temple have all played 10. The Cats have played twice a week since the Xavier game on December 14. Now the Cats play 3 times in the next 18 days. The schedule this league made has not been fair to teams at all. It seems like every team gets 2 of 3 weeks off. Really don't know why they didn't use the Pac 10 model that has worked in the Pac 10 forever.
But those are just excuses. The Bearcats were straight up hammered by SMU. In a 64 possession game, SMU scored 1.19 points per possession. That's the most of the season against UC. SMU got pretty much whatever shot they wanted. The Mustangs connected on 21 of 32 from 2, 66%. SMU got to the line and knocked them down to the tune of 22 of 25, 88%. When SMU missed shots, they rebounded them to the tune of 36.4%.
There have been a couple of themes in every loss. The winning team scored over 1 point per possession, something that's only happened to the UC defense four times this year. Temple was the other one. The winners have shot 54%, 50% and 56%. Cincinnati has shot 33%, 36% from 3, 30%, 25% from 3, and 35%, 17% from 3. What's more concerning is that in the last two losses, Cincinnati has posted a much higher turnover rate that their season average. Even the New Mexico game was above the season average UC had going into the SMU contest. It's also worth mentioning that all 3 of the losses have happened away from home. Those really, really important games in March will also be played away from home.