Big East Basketball Tournament - Cincinnati v Georgetown

Cincinnati aims to keep leading scorer Sean Kilpatrick fresh during preseason

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Entering the 2012-13 season there were high hopes for Cincinnati wing Sean Kilpatrick and the redshirt senior certainly didn’t disappoint, averaging 17.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per game for a team that reached the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive season under head coach Mick Cronin. Kilpatrick’s production opened a door in the form of a spot on the United States World University Games roster, with whom he averaged 7.5 points and 2.0 rebounds per game.

While having the opportunity to represent one’s country is certainly a positive, as are the games against solid competition, there’s also the concern once the college season begins that a player can get worn down. That’s something the Bearcats are looking to avoid with Kilpatrick, and the focus on keeping their leading scorer isn’t solely about fitness for Cincinnati.

“Five years is a long time to be in college basketball. What he did this summer with Team USA was great for his career,” Cronin said following the Bearcats’ first practices of the season Saturday (they held two sessions). “My concern is to not burn him out. We need to keep him fresh. There’s not much more he needs to learn about college basketball. We’ve got to get him help on the offensive end. Get him more open shots.

“He’s a guy I’ve got to make sure to keep his legs fresh all year because of what he went through this summer. This is his fifth year so I need to keep this fresh and keep this fun because you never have to worry about his intensity level.”

Kilpatrick finished the 2012-13 season with a possession percentage of 25.5% per, and of the other three Bearcats with a possession percentage above 20% two are gone (guard Cashmere Wright and forward JaQuon Parker). The returnee: senior forward Titus Rubles, who averaged 5.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in his first season at Cincinnati.

So who steps up offensively to help out Kilpatrick? Rubles would be one possibility (he’s also the team’s leading returnee in assists), and role players such as Ge’Lawn Guyn, Jermaine Sanders and Shaquille Thomas will need to take advantage of the minutes and scoring opportunities available now with Parker and Wright gone.

Sean Kilpatrick’s going to get his points, but Cincinnati returning to the NCAA tournament will depend on whether or not his teammates prove capable of helping shoulder the offensive load.

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley
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No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”:

Wayne Selden stars as Kansas wins the title in Maui

Wayne Selden Jr., Jeff Roberson
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The last time we wrote about Wayne Selden in this space, it was my colleague Scott Phillips who questioned, after a poor performance in the Champions Classic, whether or not Selden is capable of bring a primary scorer for a team with NCAA title aspirations.

At the time, it wasn’t an unfair question to ask.

Selden is a former top 15 recruit. He is a guy who was expected to go one-and-done that played poorly in the first big game of his third year on campus. But after three days it Maui, it appears that the old Wayne Selden is gone.

[MORE: Kansas got Cheick Diallo news today]

He capped an MVP performance in the Maui Invitational with 25 points and seven boards on 8-for-11 shooting as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks knocked off No. 19 Vanderbilt, 70-63, in the title game. Selden was terrific for the entire weekend, averaging 21.5 points in the two games against Division I competition and shooting 12-for-17 from beyond the arc in the three game tournament.

It was the best that we’ve seen Selden play during his Jayhawk career, and it came in a game the Jayhawks desperately needed it. Vanderbilt is a damn good team. They’re ranked 19th, which may actually be too low, and they seem to clearly be the biggest challenger to Kentucky in the SEC. They jumped out to a double-digit lead on Kansas in the first half as the Jayhawks seemed to be sleep-walking early in the game.

Enter Selden. He drilled three threes in the first half and scored 13 of the 26 Jayhawk points to keep them close. In other words, he played like a star on a night Kansas desperately needed someone to step up and play like a star. Remember: this is a dude that had enough talent and potential in high school to be considered a McDonald’s All-American and a potential lottery pick. The ability is there:

(That move is filthy.)

The question has always been whether or not he is capable of putting it all together, of being the guy that can be relied upon to make the big play in the big moment, to carry a team with title aspirations.

And to be fair, the jury is still out in that regard. Are we just going to ignore those four free throws he clanged down the stretch?

But seeing Selden have this kind of performance in a game like this against a team that is this good is unquestionably a positive for Kansas moving forward.