What To Expect This Season For UC Men’s Basketball?

The 2017-2018 Cincinnati Bearcats Men’s Basketball season is probably the most anticipated in the Mick Cronin tenure. Cronin is in his 12th season as the head coach and talent wise this is his best team that he has inherited.

Last year, UC won 30 games and won a game in the NCAA tournament before falling to Lonzo Ball and the UCLA Bruins in the round of 32.

The players lost from that team is Troy Caupain, Kevin Johnson and Zack Tobler. We will miss Troy’s late game clutch shots, good defense and his non turnover free basketball. Johnson gave us great UC defense but was head case at times when it came to his offensive game but we appreciated him playing the “Bearcat Way.” And what can say about Tobler? Going to miss “Tobler Time.”

Projected lineup for 2017-2018 season:

Cane Broome, Jacob Evans, Jarron Cumberland, Gary Clark and Kyle Washington.

The Sacred Heart transfer Broome will take the place of Caupain and Bearcat fans are very excited to see what Cane can bring to this team. When he was at Sacred, Cane averaged 23.1 points per game, good for 8th in the nation during his sophomore year there. He has speed. It’s been awhile since UC had a point guard that has speed that can go to the basket at will and score. I think he will be the difference where this team is going to be at in March. Can’t wait to watch his speed and scoring.

The seniors Clark and Washington are going to major factors in this team’s success. I can’t believe Gary is Senior. I’m going to cry on Senior night. Clark has been solid in his time at UC and we are hoping in his last go around he can have a big time season. Washington was great for the team last year but had head scratching games. Let’s hope with a year under his belt that he can be consistent because when he is on, you can’t stop him especially his lefty hook shoot down low in the post. His defense and not fouling a lot needs to better this season, need to have him on the floor.

Evans is going to his Junior year and we need him to take the load, meaning scoring a lot and having the ball in the last minute of the game when its crunch time. Troy is not there no more so we need a clutch shooter and Evans should be that guy. If he has a great season then he could be heading to the NBA draft and might be a late first round pick. The upside is large Jacob. Cumberland, we are all ready for him to make that leap in his Sophomore season. He was such a x factor in his first season at UC and we all know what he did in the second half in his first Crosstown shootout game that helped his team beat Xavier for the first time in three years. Jarron will be asked to do a lot this season and I expect to show out. Can’t wait.

Bench:

Justin Jenifer ( back up to Cane. Going into his Jr year when Broome needs a breather, Jenifer will need to produce.)

Keith Williams and Trevor Moore (Two incoming Freshman that will make an immediate impact coming off the bench. They both can score the ball and that’s something the UC bench hasn’t had under Cronin.:

Mamoudou Diarra and Eliel Nsoseme (They will provide size that they will need.)

Nysier Brooks and Tre Scott (Brooks is expected to improve on the offensive side and his defense is only going to get better. I can see him definitely see him by the end of the season being up there as one of the premier shot blockers in the AAC and the nation as well. Scott will need to get it going consistently in the offensive side because we know he’s going to bring it in the defensive side with his energy.

The AAC is going to be really good and the addition to the Wichita State, its only going to get better. The Shockers are a preseason top 10 team in the country and will be the favorites to win the AAC in their first season. Lots of experts have them in their Final Four. This conference can get four teams into the dance or maybe even five.

UC, Wichita State and SMU are locks. Then you have Temple, Houston, Memphis and you can never count out UConn.

So what’s the ceiling for Cronin’s team? This team will score but Mick said this team will continue to defend and rebound. I’m trying to not to get excited but I can’t help it cause this team has the capability of being a second weekend team and beyond.

Let’s enjoy this season and when we get to March and finally get a favorable region, we will talk.

Red/Black scrimmage will take place on October 28th at 3:30pm from BB&T Arena.

Exhibition games will be Nov. 1 against Bellarmine at 7 p.m. at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky., and Nov. 5 against Embry-Riddle (Fla.) at 2 p.m. at NKU.

The regular season opener is against Savannah State, Nov. 10 at NKU.

Fifth Third Arena is being renovated this season so the home games will be played at NKU’s home arena, BB&T Arena.

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