One team that may be a bit underrated this season are Mick Cronin’s Cincinnati Bearcats. With their head coach sidelined for a significant portion of last season for health reasons the Bearcats still managed to reach the NCAA tournament, falling to Kentucky in the round of 32, and many of the key contributors are back.
Sunday afternoon the Bearcats moved to 2-0 on the season with a decisive 106-44 win over Robert Morris, using the combination of a balanced offensive attack and some stifling defense to get the job done. Guard Farad Cobb led eight double-digit scorers with 15 points, and point guards Troy Caupain and Justin Jenifer were responsible for nine points and one turnover apiece.
Thirty-two of their 38 field goals were of the assisted variety, and the Bearcats scored 52 points in the paint while also converting 29 Robert Morris turnovers into 36 points.
Two of those 36 points came on an impressive Shaq Thomas windmill during the second half, which can be seen above. While SMU and UConn have received an ample amount of attention when it comes to projecting the American Athletic Conference race, Cincinnati will be heard from as well. They’ll face tougher opposition than Sunday (or Friday’s win over Western Carolina, for that matter), but the Bearcats have more than enough talent and experience to make a statement nationally this season.
Video credit: Cincinnati Bearcats
In mid-April it was announced that beginning in November 2017, there would be an in-season tournament played on the Cayman Islands. Wednesday half of the field for the eight-team event was revealed, as Global Sports Management announced that Cincinnati, Iowa, UAB and Wyoming have committed to making the trip.
All four of those teams participated in the NCAA tournament last season, with Cincinnati, Iowa and UAB each picking up a win once there. Entering the 2015-16 season Cincinnati is viewed by many as a contender in the American Athletic Conference and the same goes for UAB in Conference USA. Iowa has some key personnel losses to address but returns seniors Mike Gesell, Jarrod Uthoff and Adam Woodbury, and Wyoming lost four starters from last season’s Mountain West tournament champion team.
Of course November 2017 is a long way off, so it remains to be seen what each of these teams will look like from a personnel standpoint when the time comes.
No specific timeframe was given in regards to when the other four teams participating in the inaugural Cayman Islands Classic would be announced.
It’s never a surprise when college basketball players get excited over new uniforms, as having something different tends to have that kind of effect on the team. Cincinnati’s players got their first look at the team’s new uniforms for the upcoming season ahead of their annual photo day, but things were a little different for Mick Cronin’s team.
July 1 marked the school’s official switch in footwear and apparel provider, as they made the move from adidas to Under Armour. That likely means no more uniforms like the ones Cincinnati wore during postseason play in 2013, which featured shorts that looked Zubaz-inspired.
The jerseys have a simple look, and in the video above one player can be overheard commenting on the material used by Under Armour. And one of the details of the uniforms, which won’t be often seen during games since players are required to keep their jerseys tucked in, is the use of the school motto “Juncta Juvant” (“strength in unity” in Latin).