Wednesday, March 14, 2001

UC scouting report

By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The player UC will turn to:

        Steve Logan Kenny Satterfield. Might as well lump the two guards together. They have carried the Bearcats (23-9) all season, and there's no reason to believe that will change now.

        They are the most consistent players. Satterfield has scored in double figures 25 of 32 games, including 10 of the last 11; Logan 25 of 31 games, including 18 in a row. The Bearcats have lost only twice in 19 games (at home to Marquette in overtime, to Charlotte last Saturday) when both score in double figures.

        The guy UC must have playing well:

        UC's roughest stretch of the season came when Leonard Stokes was struggling. While the Bearcats lost four of seven games, the sophomore forward shot just .318 from the field, including .176 from 3-point range, and averaged 5.9 points and 3.0 rebounds. When Stokes (10.3 ppg) scores at least 12 points, the Bearcats are 13-2. He is the wild card.

        He can provide so much off the bench. Stokes rebounds, scores and defends. When he is playing well, he has more confidence and more energy, and UC has another dangerous perimeter player.

        Perfect example: In the first half against Charlotte in the Conference USA Tournament final, Stokes was 3-of-4 from the field, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range, and had eight points; UC led 40-35. In the second half, he scored seven points but was 3-of-9 shooting and missed all four of his 3-point tries; UC was outscored 45-32.

        The team UC doesn't want to face:

        Stanford. Should UC advance to the Sweet 16 and play the top seed in the West, it will be a tough matchup. The Collins brothers — 7-foot Jason and 6-11 Jarron — combined to average 27 points and 14.7 rebounds. The Cardinal have the size and talent inside to pose many problems for the Bearcats.

        What gives UC its best hope to get to Minneapolis?

        New Jersey Nets forward Kenyon Martin discovers he has some college eligibility remaining.

        Cincinnati is a perimeter-oriented team that relies on outside shooting. With no reliable inside presence, the Bearcats can go only so far. But if the Bearcats win their first two games and Stanford gets knocked off before the Sweet 16, anything can happen.

        What could get UC bounced in the first round?

        The Bearcats have shot 60 percent or worse from the foul line eight times. Their big men have been especially poor in recent weeks. Donald Little is at .489 for the season, B.J. Grove .415 and Jamaal Davis .569. This is the time of the year when teams have to make foul shots.

        Rebounding, of course, has been UC's biggest problem all season. Cincinnati also will have to do a good job stopping Brigham Young senior Mekeli Wesley, a versatile inside player who can score in bunches.

        What was UC's best win?

        Cincinnati 78, Wake Forest 72 (OT), Shoemaker Center, Jan. 27: The Demon Deacons were No. 9 in the Associated Press poll, and this victory grabbed national attention. It was especially needed for the Bearcats' confidence, because they had just lost to a struggling Louisville team. UC was ahead by 10 with 4:44 left, allowed Wake Forest to tie it, then came back to win in overtime.

        What was Brigham Young's best win?

        BYU 77, Wyoming 66, Las Vegas, March 9. The stakes were high in the semifinals of the Mountain West Conference Tournament. These two teams shared the regular-season title with Utah, and the game was a toss-up. The loser would not be going to the NCAA Tournament. Wyoming had defeated BYU 85-78 on Jan. 22.

        What was UC's worst loss?

        Louisville 63, Cincinnati 54, Shoemaker Center, Jan. 24: This was the Bearcats' first home loss in Conference USA play in 35 games and came 11 days after they defeated Louisville by 20 points at Freedom Hall. The Cardinals' 129 RPI is the lowest of any team that beat UC.

        What was Brigham Young's worst loss?

        Southern Cal 70, BYU 67, at Pearl Harbor Classic, Dec. 23: This wasn't as “bad” a loss as to San Francisco (231 RPI) Nov. 30, but it was probably the toughest. The Cougars were ahead by 20 points in the second half against a quality opponent, only to watch their lead disappear.

        Where is UC now, compared to November? What has gotten better or worse?

        The Bearcats' defense has improved dramatically. They take care of the basketball better than any other team coached by Bob Huggins. Logan is better than he was at the start of the season, to say the least. He was so good since the start of the new year that he was named Conference USA Player of the Year. His play, along with Satterfield's, sometimes can offset the lack of consistent production from the big men.

        UC has not gotten much better at rebounding the ball or scoring inside.

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