No. 11 Cincinnati’s loss to UConn shows it needs more offensive variety

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The No. 11 Cincinnati Bearcats are one of the toughest teams in the country. Nobody will dispute that Mick Cronin’s team can rebound and defend with the best of them. But does Cincinnati have enough scoring and variety on offense to be a major factor in March?

After Saturday’s 51-45 road loss to UConn, Cincinnati should be a bit concerned.

The Bearcats should be pleased that they were able to hang with UConn despite a poor offensive showing, but history has shown this season that when Cincinnati struggles to score, they usually struggle to win.

That isn’t earth-shattering analysis by any means, but to illustrate my point, Cincinnati is 22-0 when they score 60 or more points and just 2-5 when they don’t.

And when you only have two players that average double-figures in points, like Cincinnati does, 60 points isn’t as easy as it looks.

While Sean Kilpatrick is enjoying a tremendous season — and averages 20 points a game — when teams are able to slow him down like Connecticut did, it gives Cincinnati’s offense major issues.

The Huskies usually denied Kilpatrick the ball on the perimeter, and to avoid getting beat on backdoor cuts, a UConn interior defender would usually sag and help to make sure Kilpatrick didn’t get any easy buckets. Kilpatrick got a few — all good scorers do — but UConn’s defense showed that Cincinnati needs more offensive variety to be a serious threat.

UConn dared Cincinnati’s other players to beat them and they couldn’t. While Kilpatrick struggled to a 4-for-16 day from the field, his teammates weren’t much better. The Bearcats shot 27 percent from the field on 13-for-48 shooting from the field and had four points the first 12 minutes of the second half.

Cincinnati is filled with gritty and tough role guys that do their job, rebound and defend but can they get someone besides Sean Kilpatrick to step up and score if their senior star is struggling? Cincinnati can stay in most games because of its defense, but if a team gets hot against the Bearcats and gets a double-digit lead, Cincinnati could be in trouble.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson’s coach is holding a sleeping baby

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LaMelo Ball vs. Zion Williamson was insane, but it wasn’t quite crazy enough to wake up the sleeping toddler that Williamson’s coach is holding in his arms:

This is peak AAU basketball.

It will never be more AAU than that.

PHOTOS: Zion Williamson, LaMelo Ball showdown was, of course, insane

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In a showcase game in the adidas Uprising event in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, LaMelo Ball — the youngest member of the Big Baller Brand — faced off with Zion Williamson, who is a force on youtube and a highlight machine.

The crowd was insane for the game:

According to a report from ESPN, there were even concerns about whether or not the game would actually be allowed to be played; the police and fire marshall considered shutting the event down.

Williamson, of course, put on a show in warmups:

At the time of this posting, there were more than 60,000 people watching a livestream of the game on BallIsLife’s facebook page:

(UPDATE: It’s now over 70,000)

Puerto Rico Tip Off bracket revealed

AP Photo/Sean Rayford
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The bracket of the 2017 Puerto Rico Tip off was revealed Wednesday, setting up a showdown between a 2016 Final Four participant and the 2016 Big 12 tournament champion.

South Carolina and Iowa State headline the event, which will be played Nov. 16-19, in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.

The Gamecocks are on the top half of the bracket, opening against Illinois State while the Cyclones are on the bottom half, squaring off against Appalachian State.

Boise State vs. UTEP is the other top-half quarterfinal while Tulsa vs. Western Michigan is the other.

The championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip Off on Sunday, Nov. 19.

VIDEO: Michigan State’s Miles Bridges is dunking again

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Just what you wanted to see, a video of former Michigan State star Denzel Valentine throwing an alley-oop off the glass to current Michigan State star Miles Bridges in a Pro-Am in Michigan:

VIDEO: Kentucky’s entry into the #DriveByDunkChallenge

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A day after Grayson Allen threw an alley-oop to Trevon Duval for Duke’s entry into the #DriveByDunkChallenge, Kentucky’s team of freshmen decided to do one of their own:

https://twitter.com/i/web/status/889947577734574085

That would be, in order, Johnny David, Jarrod Vanderbilt, Nick Richards, PJ Washington and Kevin Knox abusing some poor sap’s rim somewhere in Lexington.

But was that better than John Calipari’s attempt?