Saturday, December 20, 2008

Escaping Eastern Kentucky

This was really a fun game to watch. Yeah, yeah, Cincy shouldn't have struggled so much with Eastern Kentucky. No, they shouldn't have, but I still prefer a win over a loss, thank you very much.

What do these numbers tell ya?

2 pt fg%: 47%
2 pt fga: 34

3 pt fg%:30.6%
3 pt fga: 36

Believe or not, the answer might not be the obvious one. Cincy scored .94 points per shot on 2 point field goals and .92 pps on 3s. There's really nothing there that says they should have shot more 2s; they were equally effective inside and outside the arc.

Now, I realize that's an extremely simplified analysis that doesn't take into account many things, but I thought it was sorta interesting nonetheless. During the game, I really felt UC had the advantage inside and that they should start pounding it in there more often. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe not.

Any way you look at it, the big men inside won this one for the Cats, mainly due to a 45-26 rebounding advantage. Mike Williams had a great game with 13 points (on just 7 fga) and 16 bounds (9 offensive!). Big Yancy gates had 17 and 8.

Deonta Vaughn, despite shooting 5 of 13 from the field, had a nice all-around game. He scored 20 and dished out 7 assists (with just 2 turnovers; overall, UC took care of the ball with just 10 team turnovers).

Sure, it should have been easier, but I'll take the W ... and the exciting finish!


Since I posted last after the win vs. UNLV Cincinnati has:

beat UAB 87-80
lost to Xavier 76-66
beat Charleston Southern 74-55
beat Miss. State 75-63

They are now 9-2, and ranked 49th in the country by Pomeroy (not counting tonight's performance). Pomeroy's model expects them to go 19-12, which is probably bubble territory. It's fun to be back into contention, although we can't forget UC was 8-3 two years ago at this point, and stumbled to an 11-19 season. 11 non-conference games don't always tell ya everything. But thing's are definitely looking better.


Regarding the blog, if anyone is still here, expect things to continue to be sporadic and relatively inactive. Thanks for stoppin' by, though!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

UC 67, UNLV 65

Coming off the loss to Florida State, this is a very good win for Cincinnati. Basketball Prospectus 2009 predicts UNLV to go 13-3 in the Mountain West and Vegas had them favored by ~6 tonight (oh, yeah, they were also playing in Veges ... where they are usually pretty tough).

If you were to look at the box score without looking at the final score, it'd probably be tough to pick out the winner. Here's a comparison:

FG% on 2-point fgs
UC: 41%
UNLV: 43%

FG% on 3-point fgs
UC: 36%
UNLV: 30%

UC: 36
UNLV: 34

UC: 14
UNLC: 13

UC: 15
UNLV: 12

Okay, you get the point. There really isn't an area of the game that jumps out and says ... "that's why we won this game." Well, maybe there is, but it isn't really in the box score (and I didn't watch/listen to the game -- I've heard that's helpful in determining these things : ). Anyway, it really makes you (me, anyway) think about the almighty win. Does Cincinnati really deserve 100% of a win and UNLV 0% of one? Shouldn't it be more like 55/45 or something? Okay, those aren't really questions. Just remember that when we're talking about "win shares" in college hoops in like 2022, you heard it here first!

Anyway, there were about 70 possessions in this one. That's .96 points per possession and .93 allowed for Cincy. When the differential is on the plus side vs. a solid team, you'll take it. Some random notes:

  • Deonta Vaughn led the team in points and assists (16 and 6) ... but he had a pretty bad game. He shot 5-19 from the floor and had 7 turnovers. A simple way to illustrate his struggles: Vaughn scored .84 points per shot. The rest of the Bearcats scored 1.1 points per shot. Redistribute Vaughn's shots to his teammates and Cincinnati would have scored like 5 more points in the game. Okay, not really. It's a team game and you can't just do that, but (hopefully) you get my point.

  • Larry Davis also did not have a good one. 0-10 from the floor doesn't need much of an explanation.

  • On the plus side, Yancy Gates had 16 points (7-10 fg-fga) and 7 rebounds in 19 minutes. Dion Dixon also had a good one, scoring 13 points on just 7 shots.

I'm really super-impressed with this win, despite the random nitpicks in my "recap." Next up is another big test against UAB on December 6th.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I was going to make a short post about VMI's 133 point night vs Stevensen, but then I scrolled down a bit more and saw ... Texas Tech, 167, East Central 115. There were ~122 possessions in this one. I don't know what the record is, but that's crazy. The average per game is like 65-70. Anyway, that's 1.37 pts/poss. (137 per 100). Or it's like 96 points for a 70 possession game, a normal pace. So, yeah, they were very efficient offensively, but you can see the kind of effect pace has on a team's final score. Tech had 18 turnovers, which is pretty bad at first glance. Again, this is an area where tempo-free stats can help us out. They had only .15 TO per poss. -- that's 15 per 100 possessions, a well above average number.

Back to the VMI game real quick. There were about 101 possessions in the game. VMI scored 133, so that's 1.32 per poss. Check out Chavis Holmes' line: 21 pts, 9 rebs, 4 asts, 5 stls, 4 blks, 8-13 fg-fga ... all in 21 minutes!

Crazy stuff ....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rollin' past Texas Southern

Both teams had about 70 possessions in this one. Cincinnati scored 82 points, or about 117 points per 100 possessions (that's just about as efficient as they were in their game vs. South Dakota). They allowed 51 points, or about 73 per 100. Again, a pretty dominant performance.

Individually, the standout was probably Alvin Mitchell, who scored 15 points on just 8 shots and 22 minutes on the floor. He went 4-7 from three and 3-4 from the line. Deonta Vaughn had a solid all around game with 12 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds in a team-leading 31 minutes. Other good performers:

Dion Dixon: 4 pts, 5 ast, 10 reb, 19 mins
Steve Toyloy: 11 pts, 7 reb, 5-5 fg-fga, 19 mins

The only real negatives from the Bearcats' side were the 17 turnovers and poor shooting from the line (12-21, 57%).

FWIW, Big East teams are like 24-2 so far this year.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

UC 77, South Dakota 46

I thought South Dakota was a D2 school, but I guess they made the jump to D1 this year, as part of the Great West conference. You can call them D1, I guess, but they are probably about as close to D2 as you can get. Either way, Cincy has to play the games on the schedule, and it looks like they did about as much as you could ask tonight.

According to the formula for estimating possesions in a game, the Cats had about 65 possessions in the game. They scored 77 points, so that's like 1.18 points per possession. For some context, last year the NCAA average efficiency (points per 100 poss.) was 102. The number one team, IUPUI, was at 118. Cincinnati had a very efficient offensive game vs. South Dakota, but obviously we must consider the competition.

South Dakota had 69 possessions and they scored 46 points. That's .67 points per possession or 67 per 100 possessions, depending on how you want to look at it (it's the same thing, of course). That's also ... pretty bad. Again, for some context, the leader in defensive efficiency last year was Kansas at 83. So, we'll have the best offense and defense in the nation ... if we keep playing Great West teams : )

Some other random notes:

  • Yancy Gates had quite a debut: 16 pts, 11 reb, 3 blks, 7-11 from the field. What's more impressive is that he only played 20 minutes. So that's 32 points, 22 rebounds, and 6 blocks per 40. Yeah, not a bad start.

  • Also a nice start for Mike Williams, having not played in two years. He had 8 points and 9 boards in 26 minutes.

  • Junior transfer Steve Toyloy had a good, under-the-radar-type game: 8 points, 7 rebounds in just 16 minutes.

Okay, I'm runnin' out of bullet points here. It was a nice game all around. Quick turn around Tuesday against Texas Southern, who brings back all five of their starters ... though, they went 7-25 last year.

Hey, I should keep this thing goin'

Hey, folks ... sorry for not posting in such a long time. I thought about just shutting this thing down, but I saw that Mr. Koch linked to me (thanks, Bill!), and that encouraged me to give it another shot. Going forward, the content here will remain mostly UC hoops, but I'll 'cover' college ball in general (I especially enjoy tracking some smaller D1 schools) and even the NBA on occasion.

If you happen to be new around these parts, please feel free to comment on any posts. It'd be great if we could get some intelligent discussion going ... God knows I'm not going to provide it by myself : )

Anyway, I like to try to look at things from a statistical perspective. I'm surely not going to provide much insight from a scouting standpoint, and I think the stats can be pretty interesting. I've been following sabermetrics (that's what they call this stuff in baseball) for a good 4-5 years, but I'm pretty new to the basketball stuff -- so we'll be learning together, if we learn anything.

Thanks for stopping by. I'm a bit more busy than I have been in the past, but I hope I can do a better job of following the Bearcats this year. I'll try to have a little recap up of the game vs. South Dakota either tonight or tomorrow night.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Retiring numbers

Bill Koch writes that only three UC basketball men's basketball players have had their numbers retired.

A mini-debate in the comments centered around whether or not Cincy should retire more numbers and how those players (and their accompanying numbers) should be selected. A couple people said, essentially, take out the subjective aspect -- make it be a requirement that the player had won a national player of the year award.

I say ... hmm, that is basing it completely on something subjective -- the selection of the national player of the year is certainly subjective. Now, you kind of take it out of the universities hands, so there will be no controversy there, but this method would not exactly take the subjectivity out of the process.

Furthermore, who's to say that's a good 'method' anyway. Aren't three years as a top ten player better than one year as the best player and two or three relatively insignificant ones. I don't know for sure, but I'd certainly say so.

Unless you create some sort of detailed, uber-stat, there is always going to be subjectivity in something like this (and you could even argue it'd still exist, even if you did that). Personally, I'd put together a committee of past players, writers, etc. to have some type of vote to determine the numbers that would be retired. Heck, have some type of internet vote for the fans. Nobody knows a team's players like its fans, collectively.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

CBI? ... News to me

More games, huh?

Looks like Cincy isn't done yet (yeah, I'm a little late with the news). Frankly, I didn't know about this tourney (the College Basketball Invitational) and figured the Bearcats were finished for the year. According to Koch, they'll now face Bradley in the first round of the CBI.

Personally, I'm excited that there are more games, and we'll see what happens here.

But I wanted to take a moment to address a couple of larger issues. I'm not a controversial person by nature (at least at this point) and since nobody reads this anyway, I doubt my thoughts on these issues will be deemed controversial. Anyway ...

The negative approach

The general negativity from a large portion of fans is quite hard to believe. I guess, maybe it's understandable, but it goes beyond simply be frustrated with the season. It is like some people will make a negative comment on any issue that comes up (in the few blogs/forums that I read). Sure, any fans who post their thoughts on the 'net are "super fans" and probably not that representative of Bearcat fans as a whole, but it seems like there are quite a lot of them with negarive views.

Anyway, is there any reason to be particularly upset with getting an invite to this little tournament? It's more games to watch (maybe; if they're on tv), it's another game for the seniors, another game for the younger guys, perhaps there's a chance for some recognition, etc. etc. Where's the bad stuff? Sure, it's no big deal, really. It's not the NCAA tournament, but who's making it out to be that? Better than nothin', I say. Either way, to each their own ...

What's that about wins and losses?

The other thing that I think is interesting is that many fans cannot seem to look past win-loss record. Sure, it's important; nobody would deny that. But a win and a loss is on such a cut and dry scale. Imagine this: Cincy loses to #1 ranked, oh let's say Duke, 65-61. Marquette loses to #255 ranked Longwood by 20. That's all the info you have on both teams. Are they equal because they're both 0-1? Not if I have anything to say about it. Now over the course of the season, things like that are supposes to balance out and W/L record will become pretty telling, right? Well, sure, to a degree. But record by itself serves little purpose. I mean, just take a mid-major variety ball club. They could easily go 25-5 and not be ranked all year (and righlty so). North Carolina does that and they're a top team. That brings us to the novel concept of ...

Strength of schedule. Pomeroy has UC's SOS at 21st in the nation. That's second best in the Big East and, well, 21st overall out of some 300+ teams. Now it's 13-18 against much better than average competition. Pomeroy then has UC ranked 100th overall. Nah, it isn't great, but it's a lot better than you'd expect from a 13-18 record, and a lot of that is due to that tough schedule.

So is there awkwardness with UC getting into this tourney? I don't see it. Bradley and their much more respectable 17-15 mark are ranked 85th by Pomeroy's measure, just 15 spots better than Cincy. Brown, another CBI team, is ranked a whopping 148th in the country, but of course their 19-9 record makes them look, well, pretty damn good. They played in the Ivy League, folks.

A bad 30 point game?

This is turning into a longer post than I planned and, quite frankly, I'm having fun with it. I was meaning to post this the other night but I didn't get around to it. Anyway, is it possible to score 30 points in a 40 minute game and have a bad night offensively (I'm only considering shooting here; not passing, ball control, defense, etc.)? The quick answer would probably be no, not really. But did you see Deonta Vaughn the other night vs. Pitt? Outside of being electrifying at times, he had a pretty rough night. He scored 30 in 39 minutes, but he shot an ugly 8-25 from the field.

Let's pretend Vaughn took every Bearcat shot that night (all 54) and got to the line as much as he did, relative to his field goal attempts. That gets us:

from the field: 17.28-54
from 2: 6.48-21.6
from 3: 10.8-32.4
from the line: 19.5-26

Total points = ~65

I'm all over the place here. If you can't follow what I did there, you're in good company, as I can't either. I think I did it right, though, and the point is: Vaughn barely increased UC's point total, relative to how his teammates performed (Cincy actually scored 64 points). Of course, this is an oversimplified "analysis," as players don't take all of their team's shots. if they did, they'd be blanketed more than Deonta was, and they'd shoot an even worse.

I'll go a step further and say that part of the reason Vaughn had to shoot so much was because he was the only player that could consistently get open. Yeah, the rest of the team shot 45% compared to Deonta's 32%, but if they only shot when they were open and they didn't get open often, what was he supposed to do? Now, I'm not saying that's what happened; I'm merely throwing it out there as something to chew on.

Men of Bradley

So we've got this game with Bradley coming up. Who are these guys? They're 5-11 vs teams in Pomeroy's top 115. That means they're like 12-4 vs. teams outside of the top 115. So they beat up on bad teams ... but who doesn't? Plus, the 115 number was just an arbitrary selection by me (it's close to Cincinnati's ranking).

They play to about 70 possesions a game compared to Cincy's 65, so the game might be a battle of conflicting interests, at least in terms of pace. They're also real dangerous from 3 with 5 guys who've made at least 20 on the year.

We'll see you around.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Well, that's that

I think the loss to Pittsburgh is a pretty good example of what happens when you have one, and only one, real scoring threat. Vaughn is awesome, but if he's the only guy that's going to score, the defense is going to play him tighter and tighter. And I think that's what happened, especially late. Sure, he got on fire there, and that was pretty special. But then the d tightened up even more and then you've got trouble ... and that led to an ugly overall shooting night for Deonta (8-25 from the floor), despite some late magic. If someone could have buried a couple of 3's there or they could have got something going inside, then Vaughn gets freed up a little bit and maybe shoots better down the stretch. As it was, Pitt was all over him and he struggled getting off solid shots. It's a lot of game theory, really, I think. They need more weapons next year and I hope they'll have them.

As for the season in general, it was a disappointing finish, but -- as I've said before -- I think they outperformed expectations by a good bit. I understand there are already two factions in the Cincy online world (and as I follow more teams via the net, I find that is more often than not the case). I am not really on either side of the hate/love Mick Cronin debate. Frankly, I don't follow things closely enough, or know enough about basketball, to be really entrenched on one side or the other. Hopefully I can fall somewhere in between and try to offer a somewhat "objective" take, although I try to be an optimistic person in general.

And that takes me to this final note: the future of this blog. It isn't going anywhere (well, I might change the domain name in the future, but we'll see), as there's no reason for that. I'd certainly like to update it more next season and even in this offseason. Currently, I'm writing for a couple of baseball blogs and I maintain another, smaller web site. I have made a 88 cents overall in close to a year of blogging on the net (although making money is certainly not a priority, or even a goal at this point), I go to college, and I try to do some non-internet related things every once in a while. You'd be surprised at how much time I have left over, but a lot of it goes to baseball, a sport I know a bit better. Either way, I'm going to update this blog occasionally over the next few weeks with my thoughts on the tournaments, college sports in general, and possibly a few UC offseason things. I'm not particularly impressed with my first go around with this blog, and I bet you're not either. Hopefully, if I keep things up for a while, I'll improve and we'll create a nice little community here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

It's go time!

Well, I don't know about you (all one of you : ), but I am excited about the game tonight vs. Pitt at MSG. The way I look at, who cares about the last 5 games? Who cares about the loss to UCONN, or for that matter, every other game this season? It all comes down to one game ... and then, of course, one game tomorrow ... and one game until we win this Big East tourney. Of course, that's easy for me to say. I'm not on the team and I haven't played a competitive sport in years. Can you just wipe out a 45 point loss and a disappointing 5 game losing streak? I'm not sure, but why not? If the final goal of a National Championship -- and I'll assume that's the ultimate goal -- is still in reach, then why not give it all you've got and see what happens? Sure, a championship of National or Big East variety is a stretch to say the least, but there's really no reason to not go all out for it, despite the odds.

Anyway, it has been a nice run. Yeah, I've caught up on some of the online reaction on the finish -- as much as I can stomach, which is not much. What did everyone expect? I mean, while I say the "final goal" is an NCAA championship that is more of a dream than anything. For the most part, this team outperformed expectations, perhaps even destroyed them. It's human nature, I suppose, to allow the recent games to put the season into a negative light ... but there's time to right that ship and turn things around, if you if think this was somehow a disappointing season.

Pomeroy (for some reason, can't hyperlink: has Pittsburgh as the 30th best team in the country and UC at 100. But let's not forget we beat this club back in January and we only lost by six in Pitt. With no real home court advantage, the oddsmakers have Pitt as a 9 point favorite. Seems a bit high to me -- did I mention anything about weighting recent performance too much?

Anyway, there would be no better way to finish off the season than with an exciting run in New York. Let's get this thing started tonight. With nothing to lose myself, I'll make some "bold" predictions.

Cincy -- 83
Pitt -- 81

Vaughn buries two late threes and racks up, let's say ... 41 on the night.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Rough loss

Hey, I'm still here. As you can see, I haven't posted much of late. I'm not sure that will change, but we'll see.

Anyway, this loss to Depaul was a frustrating one. I listed to the last 10 minutes or so on the internet radio feed after tracking the score on espn. Seems like they simply didn't shoot well down the stretch and made too many big turnovers. Still, I thought they had a real chance down 2 with Depaul still being in the one and one. I just can't see how you foul Burns there and then foul him again after he missed the free throw. Make him give the ball up. The announcers were saying he was the only good free throw shooter on the court for Depaul. In his career, he's hit 78% of his free throws. I'm not sure who exactly was on the court, but Green and Walker are just slightly over 70% for their careers and the rest of the team is worse. Sure, it's only percentage points, but it may have made a difference.

Of course, if they rebounded Burns' first miss, it may not have mattered.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

UC takes on West Virginia, Huggins

Cincinnati looks solid early here -- West Virginia looks awful, at least offensively. Anyway, it's 29-21 with 2:32 to go in the first half. Really, it's frustrating to just have an 8 point lead as WV has shot just 24% and UC has hit 50% of their shots. It's the fouls -- some ticky take ones -- that are keeping WV in the game. The shots are going to start falling most likely, so Cincinnati has to keep it coming here ... but what an impressive start. I'll update this a few times ... if you happen to stop by, make a comment n the game if you'd like (it will appear instantly ; ).

UPDATE: 43-29 UC with 11:42 to play. Just unbelievable here. They were 13.5 point underdogs. We've just caught West Virginia on an off night shooting-wise (with some great defense) and played really well. Still, this is a critical point in the game. Don't want to get tentative and let them creep back in it. Go for the knockout right here.

UPDATE: Well, yeah, that's what I'm talking about! 7-0 run since I last posted like a minute ago.

UPDATE: Well, folks, that's a great win. But you don't need me to tell you that. I don't know how often a 13-14 point underdog beats a team by 23, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say it's pretty rare. I think it's getting pretty clear that this team is dangerous ... Marquette should be fun on Saturday.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cracking the top 25?

First a miniature rant. I'm not really sure what the point of the top 25 is in NCAA D1 basketball. I haven't paid attention to it for years. I mean, what is it, the aggregate opinion of a group of writers ... what's the point? When it comes down to tournament time, you're going to have to go past the top 25 anyway, so it doesn't really serve much of a purpose there. And why stop at 25? What's the difference between #25 and #26. I just don't see the point. I'm sure it's largely made to create excitement, but it just seems pointless to put too much stock into it.

Anyway, I read a post over at Bill Koch's blog on Cincy receiving a couple of votes for the top 25. Now, I don't care about "being ranked," but the natural question does come up: where should UC be ranked out of all 341 division 1 teams? Well, even if we wanted to use the writer's or coach's poll, we can't, as it doesn't cover every team. So, instead, we'll go to Pomeroy's ratings, RPI, and Jeff Sagarin's ratings.

Pomeroy: 105
RPI: 96
Sagarin: 109

Quickly average those and you get 103. So, by the numbers, UC is somewhere around the 100th best team in basketball. Or, at least, that's where they should be ranked based on their performance so far against their schedule. Anybody voting them up near 25 is either overestimating their early performance or great at identifying good basketball teams before they're good. That being said, Cincinnati has played extremely well of late and their recent play should probably be weighted more heavily. With a couple more big wins, they could definitely start to merit some consideration for that prestigious top 25. But I think that Bill (or anyone else) is pretty justified in his belief that they're not a "top 25 team" (not that anyone cares what i think).

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Downing Pitt

I'm late with the recap for this one. Since I didn't see or hear it, I don't have much to add anyway. Glancing through the box score, it looks like UC made a conscious effort to dial in the 3's a little bit. They only shot 8 and saw their field foal percentage rise to almost 47% because of it. They shot a little better than Pittsburgh, they got to the line more (and converted at a higher rate), and they held their own on the glass. Basically, they played a little better game and ended up on top by 3. Another fantastic win over a very good team.

UCONN coming up next as it doesn't get any easier.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Taking on the Irish

Let's start with the obvious: this is a difficult game. Notre Dame has a .786 winning percentage under Mike Brey at home. They haven't lost as home since February 6, 2006. Pomeroy's model predicts a 77-60 ND win and only a 6% chance of a UC victory. He has Notre Dame as the 23 best team in the country and Cincinnati at 115.

Here's the scouting report on ND.

69 possessions per 40 minutes puts them at 134th in the country. They play slightly faster than average, but nothing too extreme. However, they're 26th in (adjusted) offensive efficiency and 37th on the defensive side. They're deadly from downtown with a 41% shooting percentage, but they don't take too many 3's. They're defense is, on the other hand, great at defending 2 point field goals (40% -- 9th in the nation), but much more susceptible from long range (35%). We'll see if Cincinnati looks to get up a lot of 3 pointers, as they have been recently.

Anyway, Harangody's the big threat inside (and he takes 35% of their shots). Ayers and McAlarney are the 3 point specialists. Kurz can also score it and Jackson, the point guard, has the 61st best assist rate in the country.

They're a tough team and we'll have our hands full ... but, with this team, you never know. Vaughn and Gentry need to be dialed in from deep. Let's go Cincinnati!

(as a side note, I'm not sure if this one's on espn2 or espnu yet ... hopefully it's on the deuce).

Monday, January 14, 2008

Vaughn vs. Logan, part 2

It's the latest buzz on the 'net. Deonta Vaughn is the next Steve Logan. Anytime you get to watch a guy like Logan for 4 years, you're going to be quick to anoint this guy or that guy as "the next Steve Logan." Who wouldn't want to see another one? Anyway, Bill Koch made a post about it last week and there's been some talk on the forums, as well. Let's take a look at some numbers and see how they compare.

It seems to me that the first thing we want to compare is Logan vs. Vaughn in their first two years. We can't compare Vaughn to the senior version of Steve Logan, because that just wouldn't be fair. The next problem that presents itself is that fact that Logan didn't play that much in his first two seasons, while Vaughn has been a starter who has racked up a ton of minutes. So we can't just compare raw numbers. Let's take it by the minute ...

Logan as freshman -- as sophomore
2 point fg: 53% -- 42%
3 point fg: 33% -- 42%
Points per 40 minutes: 16.6 -- 14.7
Shots per 40: 13.5 -- 10.9
Rebounds per 40: 2.9 -- 2.7
Assists per 40: 4.1 -- 5.3
Turnovers per 40: 2.3 -- 1.9
Steals per 40: .7 -- 1.1

Vaughn as freshman -- as sophomore
2 point fg: 47% -- 55%
3 point fg: 29% -- 42%
Points per 40: 17.6 -- 21
Shots per 40: 16.5 -- 14.5
Rebounds per 40: 4.2 -- 4
Assists per 40: 4.3 -- 5
Turnovers per 40: 3 -- 3.9
Steals per 40: 2.2 -- 1.1

For the sake of, um, clearity, I left plenty of things out (like free throws, free throw%, etc.). Click on their player cards and check out some other stuff, plus, I'll leave some stuff for another day. Anyway, through their first two years, let's try to make some general comparisons between Logan and Vaughn.

  • they are similar shooters both from 2 and 3
  • Vaughn's a better overall scorer
  • Vaughn is also a much larger part of his team's offense (at least shots-wise)
  • Vaughn's a better rebounder
  • Logan has (or had, whatever) better ball control
  • They are similar in assists
  • Vaughn's a litter better at creating steals

All in all, this seems to look very good for Deonta Vaughn. Over his first two years (or really, year and a half), he's been a comparable, if not better, player than Steve Logan was in his first two years.

The reason I stressed first two years and keep mentioning it is because Logan blossomed into one of the best players in the country over his last two years. You can't expect every above average sophomore to turn into Steve Logan as a senior. But after glancing at these admittedly quick-and-dirty numbers, there's certainly a chance that something like that happens and it wouldn't exactly be shocking if it did. Let's touch on a few other things.

These numbers, besides the fact that they are just numbers, don't account for a lot of things -- like, for instance, the pace of these teams, the teammates surrounding each player, the strength of opponents, the player's role, etc. They also don't account for scouting and/or things that aren't captured in the numbers. Leadership, defense, actual skills are a few examples. Like I said, it's just a quick look.

For Vaughn, sustaining this type of play isn't going to be easy. If he continues to play like this, opponents are going to start focusing on him more and more. Basically, it's tough to keep playing at an above average level and it's a credit to Logan that he was able to do so for so long. That said, if there's anyone that has reminded me of Logan since his departure, it's Vaughn. Be it size, stature, or numbers -- I can see a glimpse of Steve Logan when I watch Deonta Vaughn play, and that's why the comparisons seem so natural. Let me tell you, there isn't anyone who would want to see another Logan in Cincinnati more than me (well, I'm sure there are some people, like Mick for example). Steve Logan is still one of my favorite athletes ever. Who can forget going the length of the court against Memphis. Or the finish at the shoe against Marquette in his senior year ... beating Southern Missisippi by himself (literally). The guy is larger than life to me. And I didn't even really start following UC basketball until Logan's junior year.

Deonta Vaughn has a long way to go if he wants to fill Logan's shoes. But he's off to one hell of a start.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Cincinnati 69, Villanova 66

Creative title, ey?

Another fantastic win. I don't have espnu, so I listened to this one on the radio (via the internet).

Vaughn was great again (more on that in another post soon). Williamson had a solid game, as usual. Bishop buried the huge 3 with 22 seconds to go. How about that recap ...

Couple of random things. I was watching the highlights on espn's Cincinnati site. I believe it was just a clip from the espnu post game show, but somehow they managed not to show the Bishop 3. I mean, if you're going to show anything, show Bishop's 3.

Also, let me try to understand what the analyst half of the announcing team was trying to say while I was listening on the radio(believe it or not, I don't even know his name). I think (but I could be wrong) that he said that he'd foul if Williamson made both free throws to make it a 4 point Cincy lead with 5.6 seconds to play. I haven't done or seen a comprehensive analysis, but that has to be the wrong play. Just let them dribble up the court and fire a 3 with no time remaining .... game over, even if it goes in. If you foul, you give them the slight chance of making the first, missing the second, and burying a 3 to tie. Maybe I heard him wrong.

Anyway, what a great win.

Strength of schedule

Bill Koch mentioned the Bearcats' tough schedule in a post today. He actually mentions how Mick talks about the non-conference schedule a lot. Let's go to Pomeroy's ratings.

He has Cincinnati's non-conference strength of schedule (NCSOS) at 55. Believe it or not, that's third in the Big East behind Syracuse (shocker, ey? ... they're at 25) and Depaul (35). The 55th hardest SOS may or may not initially be impressive, but when you compare it to the rest of the Big East teams, you see that a lot of them go with a really easy non-conference slate. West Virginia, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Villanova, and Notre Dame are all over 200 in NCSOS.

So, Mick is pretty spot on talking about his team's tough out of conference schedule. I mean, I know some people don't give a crap about strength of schedule and all of these different ratings, but I don't see how you can't at least acknowledge it in someway, especially if you accept the ratings.

Anyway, Cincinnati's overall SOS sits at 16 right now, and I'm guessing it's not going to go down much form here. This could be a big factor when selection day comes around ... of course, we've got a long way to go before really becoming a major player there.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Great win

It sounds like I've been saying this quite a bit of late ... but that had to be Cincinnati's best game of the year. At least it was right there with the Louisville win and maybe a couple of others. I was interested in how the pace of this one would go. If we use the formula for estimating possessions in a game we can figure that out.

Poss. = FGA-OR+TO+0.475xFTA

Cincy ...55-17+16+(.475*29) = 67.8

Cuse ... 54-11+13+(.475*24) = 67.4

So let's say 68 possessions. As I noted yesterday, Syracuse and Cincinnati were quite different in teams in terms of pace. Before tonight, Syracuse averaged about 75 possessions a game and Cincy 66. It looks like Cincinnati won the battle here, as the game was probably much slower than Syracuse wanted. This was probably largely due to the Bearcats getting that big lead and then being able to sit on the ball late.

Vaughn was the star again, scoring 29 points on 16 shots from the field. He also chipped in with 5 assists and 3 rebounds. Jamual Warren had a nice line: 5 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists. Won't get headlines, but that's a nice game (he also had 3 steals, a block, and just 2 turnovers). McClain had 7 points and 7 rebounds in just 23 minutes. I'm going to guess his minutes will keep going up.

Anyway, it was a great win all around. The real difference was Cincinnati's rebounding. They beat Syracuse on both sides of the ball:

Cincy: 17
Cuse: 11

Cincy: 21
Cuse: 18

Of course, there are still things to improve on. They had 16 turnovers, which is a bit high. 7-26 from 3 isn't going to get it done on most nights. A good Villanova team comes in on Saturday and Cincinnati looks for a 3-1 Big East start.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Shades of Steve Logan

Deonta Vaughn has 20 points on 10 1st half shots.

Cincinnati is dominating the glass with 22 rebounds (including 10 on the offensive side) to Syracuse's 10. The Bearcats have shot as ridiculous amount of 3's against the zone (6 for 18). Anyway, things couldn't be much better right now. I'll check back in when this one is over. Let's keep this up!


The odds makers have Syracuse as a 3 point favorite for tonight's game. Of course, with the game being in Cincinnati, that means the Orangemen are pretty clear favorites. Anyway, if you look at something like Ken Pomeroy's site, 3 points may be a little light. He has Syracuse ranked as the 33rd best team in the country. The Bearcats come in at 136. If you look at the link there, his model predicts a 81-71 'Cuse win and just an 18% chance of a UC victory. In fact, he only has Cincinnati winning 3 more times all year ... all in tight games. Obviously the Bearcats early performance is not one that is going to get a lot of support in a model that is based on early performance. That being said, it's still .... um ... early. Statistics are fun to look at, at least for me, but they're certainly not the end-all-be-all (especially at this point).

Anyway, take a look at the "scouting report" on Syracuse. I didn't even realize all of this stuff existed on Pomeroy's site (perhaps I shouldn't even update any stats -- they are all right there). The Orange are a fast based team, as they play at about 75 possessions per 40 minutes (12th in the country). If you look at the report, you can see that their offense has been borderline elite, while the defense is much more middle of the pack.

They basically start 5 guys and play them a whole bunch of minutes (all 5 over 30). I'm not sure about their depth, so maybe the key for Cincy will be to get them into foul trouble. It'll be interesting to see how this one plays out. Syracuse is a high paced, high scoring team. Cincinnati is a much slower paced team (66 poss. per game). We'll see if the Bearcats try to slow things down or if they try to keep up with Greene and company. Needless to say, this is a big game.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Cincy stuns Louisville

I'm not surprised by close Bearcat games anymore. It seems like every game -- whether it's Western Carolina at home or Louisville on the road -- is going to be close. They've done a fine job, if you want to call it that, of playing to the level of the competition so far.

So I'm not sure if I was really stunned by this outcome, but they were getting about 14 points. Pomeroy's ratings had Louisville at 27 and Cincinnati at 140. Add in the fact that the game was on the road, and I think it was quite a shocker.

Anyway, I got to see this one on espn and what a win it was. This definitely had to be one of their best performances of the year. Cincinnati held the Cardinals to 36% shooting from the field (including 3-23 from three point range). The Bearcats shot 47% and made 8 of 14 from shots from downtown. Vaughn is really having a nice year. He just doesn't seem to be forcing shots like I think he was at times last year. Here's how his scoring numbers compare to last year's:

2 point: 47%
3 point: 43%
Shots/game: 11.2
Points/game: 15.3

2 point: 47%
3 point: 29%
Shots/game: 13.6
Points/game: 14.5

The main difference is of course the huge improvement on three's. You can see that he's taking less shots and scoring more points per game this season. Of course, last season's numbers count a full slate of Big East games, while this year's are mostly non-conference. We'll have to see if Vaughn keeps up the improved play.

I don't know too much about either McClain or Hrycaniuk, but I feel a lot more comfortable with McClain out on the floor. He's much more of a presence on the defensive side of the ball and at least he can finish with a dunk offensively.

(checking the numbers) ... To my surprise, Adam H. has actually been pretty good offensively. I guess it just scares the hell out of me when the guy touches the ball.

Anyway ... great win. The team played good on both sides of the ball and beat a tough team on the road. What a way to start Big East play!