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2016-17 Bearcat Hoops Preview

posted Oct 20, 2016, 4:23 PM by Austin James
Article by Jacob Geiser

I'm like most Cincinnati Bearcat sports fans, we are all waiting for hoops to start up. For the obvious reasons of course. The football season isn't going as planned, and basketball has a lot of hype. That can be said almost every season, but this season seems different.

Last season was awful. The inability to close out games and not catch a single break was the reason behind such a painful year. Sure, they made it to the NCAA Tournament, but I know that heartbreak was coming... Again. This season needs to be different, and I think it will. I'm excited to see the difference in this years team compared to last seasons.

There are some glaring differences in this team. They are smaller and more athletic. UC will be able to spread the floor really well this year. Gary Clark and Kyle Washington will be a perfect one-two punch inside. Clark showed us glimpses of what his outside game is like. It is much improved from his freshmen year, and I'm sure he worked on it more over the summer. Having to worry about Clark as a perimeter threat makes the offense that much better. Washington's mid-range game has been raved about all summer by Bearcat beat writers, which gives me a lot of optimism as to what Washington can do. Jacob Evans III bursted onto the scene late in the year and will be a vital part to the offenses success this season. Evans will need to adjust to defenses paying more attention to him, but I believe he has the skill set to be a double figures guy night in and night out.

Then there is Troy Caupain and Kevin Johnson. The two senior guards are going to be the leaders of this team, but I believe Caupain is going to be one of the best guards in the country. Mick Cronin said it best, "This team starts and stops with Troy Caupain." Cronin said he hopes he doesn't have to score the points that SK did in his senior year, but wants to see him make that jump that SK did his senior year to be one of the best players in the country."

That is high praise, and pressure for Caupain. We all know he can put the ball in the basket, but even on an off night Caupain needs to keep the Bearcats on the right path. Cronin has been big on the teams depth this season. I can see why, think about some of these guys coming off the bench. Jarron Cumberland (Reminds me a lot of what Jacob Evans can do offensively), Tre Scott (who is extremely athletic), Quadri Moore (#QuadSquad, he lost the hair and Cronin said he is in great shape to get solid minutes), Justin Jenifer (Cronin said he has worked extremely hard and expects him to play a solid amount this season), Nysier Brooks (Big, lengthy freshmen who will get some minutes behind Clark and Washington). Athleticism is something that sticks out to me with this team. I really like what Cronin has to work with this year.

This what I am assuming will be Cronin's starting 5 will be to start the season.

Starting 5:
PG: SR Troy Caupian
SG: SR Kevin Johnson
SF: SO Jacob Evans III
PF: JR Gary Clark
C: JR Kyle Washington

I have high expectations this season for the Bearcats. I expect them to go 26-5 in the regular season. I expect the AAC to be a two team race for the regular season title between Cincinnati and UConn. Those are going to be some unbelievable games. This is a rivalry without it being called a rivalry. Every game is exciting and I expect the same this season. Butler, Iowa State, Rhode Island, and a potential matchup with Duke will give UC plenty of chances to get some solid RPI wins and show the nation what they are made of.