Saturdays Louisville match-up on the road against Cincinnati is a dangerous game if your a Cardinal fan. For starters Bearcats coach Mick Cronin was an assistant under Pitino at Louisville and beat the Cards last season in Louisville. Cincinnati is a hungry and young team who are fighting for their tourney life’s and a win over the Cards is the resume booster that they need.
The Bearcats had won three in a row and seven out of nine before getting spanked like a dog who got into the trash by Pittsburgh, 85-69. That loss hasn’t taken away coach Cronin and his young teams dreams of playing in March though. Cincinnati is on the fence you could say with a 7-6 Big East record and 17-9 overall. With games also coming up with West Virginia, Syracuse, USF, and Seton Hall. The Cards are the Bearcats last chance at a “key win” in their argument to make the tournament. In fact ESPN’s bracketolgy has the Bearcats as their last four out at this moment.
Cincinnati has been led most of the season by Deonta Vaughn, the Junior guard lead the team in scoring (15.7) and assists (4.6), while contributing 4 rebounds a game but the key to this team and this game will be Yancy Gates.
Gates, a 6’9 255 pound Freshman has been getting better with each game. He (Gates) is averaging 10.4 points (second on team) and 6 rebounds (first on team) but put up a career high 21 points on St. Johns prior to their game against Pittsburgh. Gates is a little less polished then Samuels but his biggest weakness isn’t his (Gates) fault.
While Vaughn is leading the team in assists, he isn’t a true point guard and Cincinnati has struggled through the season getting the ball to their talented Freshman in the post.
Louisville should be able to force turnovers but last season the Bearcats forced the tempo into a slowdown half court game and the Cards ended up losing at home. The Cardinals talented guards must control the tempo and speed up Vaughn and company if they want to get the win.