Remember before this season started, or even after last season ended and the biggest question the basketball Bearcats faced was who was going to play Robin to Cumberland’s Batman. That question should be put to rest as the Bearcats head into conference play later this week. Keith Williams has taken on the role of the no. 2 option behind Cumberland averaging 10.9 ppg so far. Along with Nysier Brook averaging 8.8 ppg and Tre Scott averaging 9.8 the role players, so far, have been playing better than expected. Bearcats fans should rest assured scoring isn’t going to be a huge problem as league play in the American begins this week. Cumberland, although he hasn’t been as consistent as some would like is still averaging 16.2 a game. Throw in Justin Jenifer’s death grip on the ball and refusal to turn the ball over and the Bearcats are exactly were they were last season heading into conference play, 11-2.
For those of you “the glass if half empty” fans out there you could point out a couple of disappointments at this point of the season too. Rashawn Fredericks is the first that comes to mind. He’s had a rough go of it to start the season. It could be expected though, he is making the transition to high major basketball. He should get better as the season goes. The second disappointment you could throw out there is the senior Cane Broome. Broome is only up 0.2 points from last season. At 8.1 ppg more was expected out of him in terms of scoring. The way he can slice though defenses with the ball and his ability to accelerate on a dime the first half of this season has left us wanting more from him.
The Bearcats only dropped 2 games in the non conference slate, OSU and Mississippi St. The highlights of the first half of the season were definitely the dismantling of the Xavier Musketeers in the Crosstown Shootout. A game where the Muskies failed to break 50 points. The second being the destruction of UCLA in a late night battle in 5/3 Arena. A perfect example of the 1-2 punch of Cumberland/Williams as they scored 25 and 19, respectively.
The Bearcats tore through the American conference last season and continued its dominance in the tournament as well. On Wednesday the Bearcats look to repeat their Championship run when they play Tulane at 5/3 Arena. The American isn’t what it was last year, which isn’t saying too much but with the lack of Wichita St in top 15, 3 bids to the big dance is what it’s looking like for the conference. At the top you have Houston, 13-0 and the Bearcats at 11-2. Everyone should remember how that turned out for the Cougars last season. Joe Lunardi has Houston, UC, and UCF in to represent the American. The biggest surprise is who comes next, USF at 10-2. Although Dick Vitale would call their schedule “cupcake city” conference play will catch up with them soon enough. Temple,UConn and Tulsa are bubble teams but on the outside looking in.
The UConn Huskies still continue to struggle, hard, someone please alert their fanbase, they’re delusional. Memphis might have Hardaway but they’re not close this year.
The Bearcats were picked to finish 2nd in the league behind UCF.
On Wednesday the Bearcats look to start their AAC Dynasty as the Tulane Green Wave comes to town and as you can see above, they haven’t quite figured out basketball. The Bearcats win big in their AAC debut of 2019. Bearcats 82 Green Wave 56