Saturday, December 19, 2009

UC routed by UAB, rolls over Limpscomb

The game at UAB set up as a trap for Cincinnati, coming off a hard-fought loss to rival Xavier, and against a solid team with a great home court advantage (UAB is 33-2 at home since the 2007-‘08 season). They lost 64-47.

It is easier to look at the positives for the Cats, then to look at what they did bad (mostly everything). They played solid defense, holding UAB to a 39% mark from the field and forcing 19 turnovers.

Offensively, Cincy was terrible, scoring just 47 points in 69 possessions. They shot 32% from the field, 14% on threes, and had 17 turnovers of their own.

Deonta Vaughn continued his shooting struggles, making just two of nine shots (1-7 on threes). He also had five turnovers and just two assists, but did add seven rebounds. Yancy Gates was also contained, scoring just seven points while collecting six boards. Cincinnati was dominated on the glass overall, losing the rebounding battle 47-34.


On Saturday, Cincinnati rolled over Limpscomb 80-52. The Beatcats shot the ball well, hitting on 54% of their shots from the field (39% from three). Cincy’s defense was great, holding a solid offense (ranked 96th in the country by KenPom) to 29% from the field, and 52 points in 69 possessions.

Lance Stephenson lead the way from UC, scoring 19 points on just 11 shots, adding five assists without a turnover. Ibrahima Thomas logged a solid 18 minute effort for the Cats (after looking shaky, to say the least, in his debut against Xavier), scoring ten points (4-5 shooting) and picking up six rebounds. Rashad Bishop did not miss in five shots (three from deep) and scored 13.

Yancy Gates played just four minutes, apparently due to a lack of effort. Cincinnati takes on Winthrop on Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What is wrong with Vaughn?

If you look at Deonta Vaughn’s raw numbers, he looks like a player in decline. He debuted as a freshman averaging 14.5 points a game, and peaked in his sophomore year at just over 17. This year, his senior season, his average is just under 11 points a game, his career low. However, is he really playing worse basketball? updated its individual player stats page today, so let’s take a closer look at the numbers:

YR %Mins ORtg %Shots eFG% DR% ARate TORate 2pt% 3pt%
FR 82 100 29 45 10 25 17 47 29
SO 83 110 28 56 9 31 21 49 40
JR 89 105 24 49 11 27 23 47 34
SR 66 114 20 50 15 30 18 53 33

(edit: these stats don’t include the Xavier game)

Most of the stats in the table are explained here.

So, what do we make of the above numbers? The first thing that stands out is Deonta’s decline in minutes so far this year, compared to the rest of his career at UC. Deonta has always been the go-to guy, needed on the court at all times for Cincy to have a chance (or, precisely, about 85% of the time). This year, however, with an improved supporting cast, and scorers like Lance Stephenson on the floor, Deonta does not have to log as many minutes.

He is also shooting the ball less. His %shots (percentage of team shots while on the floor) has actually declined since his freshman year – his worst shooting year, percentage wise – and this year it is down to 20%. This coincides with point one; that there are currently more options on the floor than in the past.

Vaughn’s best shooting% year was indeed his sophomore campaign, but he’s actually shooting just as well this year as he did last year, and well better than his freshman year. He’s also posting career-best rebounding marks, grabbing 15% of possible defensive boards while on the court, a solid number for a 6-1 guard.

It looks like moving off the point has also helped his game. His assist rate has remained high despite playing a lot at shooting guard, giving way to Cashmere Wright at the point, and his turnover rate has dropped. If Vaughn can recapture the three-point shooting touch of his sophomore season, he could be absolutely lethal for this team. But even as it is now, he is still very productive, and any talk of deteriorating skills or production are probably premature.

Deonta Vaughn’s rate stats appear to be in decline, and in some ways, they are. But he is adjusting to his new role on this team, and he is arguably playing better basketball than he has played in the past.

*I should note, as a huge caveat, it is always dangerous to rely too much on early season stats. They certainly do not tell the whole story eight games into the season.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cannot shoot free throws

Cincinnati was shooting 63% from the line coming into tonight’s game against Xavier, good for 301st in the nation. Tonight, that number went down. They shot 10-22 from the line, which clearly helped Xavier sneak by UC in two OTs. Seriously, that is unacceptable.

Other notes:

  • Lance Stephenson is awesome.
  • This is a very solid basketball team.
  • That is a very tough loss to stomach.

UC takes on Xavier

Cincinnati faces arguably their toughest challenge today, as they take on Xavier in the Crosstown Shootout (at the Cintas Center). Both teams have been relatively similar so far, by Pomeroy’s rating. Xavier is ranked 80th in adjusted offensive efficiency, and 20th in defense. Cincy is ranked 143 on offense, but 28th defensively.

UC should get a bit of a test on the glass, with 6-9 Jason Love and 6-8 Jamel Mclean leading the way for Xavier (combining for 17 boards per game), but Cincy should still at least hold their own in rebounding.

I think the game will come down to how the Cats play from three-point land, both offensively and defensively. Cincy has shot just 29% from three so far, and they’ve allowed opponents to shoot 34% from long range. Xavier is ranked 7th in the country, knocking down 44.5% of their three point attempts. However, opponents shoot almost 36% against them.

If Cincinnati can finally knock down some threes, and if they can defend Xavier well on the perimeter (a tough task), they should be in great position to pull of a huge road win. If not, well, it could be a long night.

Either way, it will be a fun one tonight, as it always is when these two teams do battle. Let’s go Cincy!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Cincinnati is ranked in the top 25 for the first time since 2006 (h/t: Bill Koch). That is a long time to go unranked, especially for a program with such a winning tradition. Followers of this blog may recall my apathetic take on the top 25 rankings, but hey, I’m not going to complain now : ) has Cincy rated as the 41st best team in the country, so it is not unreasonable that they are in the top 25. Not to mention, of course, the early ratings are pretty unreliable because of the small number of games played.

Anyway, tomorrow the Cats take on a Texas Southern team that is only 1-4 against Division 1 teams so far (3-4 overall). Their offense has been decent, however, ranking 117th in the country by Pomeroy’s Adjusted Efficiency, and lead by 39% shooting from beyond the arc. Cincinnati has struggled a bit defending the three (36% against) – so that is something to watch for.