Big East Tournament 2012: Cincinnati Basketball Preview

The Big East Conference Tournament 2012 tips off Tuesday afternoon at Madison Square Garden, and this SB Nation New York StoryStream is the place to come for every tidbit of information. For a full schedule with results and updates of the bracket, click here.

The Cincinnati Bearcats began their season with hopes of back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, as they had three solid players -- senior forward Yancy Gates, senior guard Dion Dixon and junior guard Cashmere Wright -- returning to their roster.

The Bearcats completed their non-conference schedule 10-3, including a well publicized loss to the Xavier Musketeers, Dec. 10. Cincinnati started league play with victories over the Pittsburgh Panthers and Notre Dame Fighting Irish and before one knew it, the Bearcats were 5-1 in Big East play.

However, a three-game skid from Jan. 21-28 put a NCAA at-large berth in jeopardy, but late-season victories over the Louisville Cardinals, 60-56, Feb. 23, and Marquette Golden Eagles, 72-61, Feb. 29, about cemented a trip into the madness that is March and helped them earn a double-bye in the Big East Tournament.

Head Coach: Mike Cronin, sixth year

Six seasons ago, Cronin left Murray State for Cincinnati and his time as the Bearcats' headman has been an up-and-down one.

Last season, Cronin earned his first trip to the NCAAs as Cincy's head coach and it seems that he's getting back there again this season. Critics said he handled the brawl with Xavier, Dec. 10, well and because of that the Bearcats are a possible threat come March.

Team MVP: Dion Dixon, senior guard

Gates is easily the team's most talented player, however, there's no debating how much Dixon's leadership means to this squad. Only five times this season Dixon has been held to a single-digit point total, and in those games the Bearcats are 1-4.

Playing For: Securing NCAA Tournament at-large bid.

If everything goes right for Cincinnati, it could earn its first ever Big East Tournament crown. However, most Bearcat fans are hoping their team can just win their first game, so they don't need to worry come Selection Sunday.

Breakdown: This team is talented and physical enough to give favored opponents fits, however, sometimes inconsistent play gets in its way from being really successful.

If Dixon and Gates are on their games and Wright and sophomore guard Sean Kilpatrick are bombing from behind the 3-point arc, this is a very tough team to beat. However, when this squad goes cold its an easy opponents to beat.

Big East Tournament Seed: No. 4, will play Wednesday (2 p.m. ET) against either: No. 5 Georgetown Hoyas, No. 12 Rutgers Scarlet Knights or No. 13 Pittsburgh Panthers.

Roster and stats:


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Sean Kilpatrick 31 34.0 5.1 12.1 42.4 2.5 6.7 36.4 1.9 2.5 73.4 1.6 3.2 4.8 2.0 1.5 1.2 0.3 1.3 14.6
Dion Dixon 31 33.9 4.4 11.7 37.5 1.4 5.0 28.2 3.3 4.6 71.8 1.9 1.5 3.4 2.2 1.8 1.6 0.5 1.1 13.5
Yancy Gates 25 31.3 4.9 10.4 47.1 0.1 0.1 66.7 1.9 3.3 57.8 3.4 6.0 9.4 0.8 1.1 0.6 1.0 2.6 11.8
Cashmere Wright 31 30.8 3.9 9.7 40.3 1.7 4.5 37.9 1.2 1.8 66.1 0.8 2.9 3.7 4.5 2.1 2.0 0.1 2.0 10.7
JaQuon Parker 24 24.7 3.2 7.4 42.7 1.0 2.3 42.6 1.9 2.7 71.9 1.7 3.3 5.0 1.1 0.9 0.5 0.1 1.7 9.2
Justin Jackson 31 21.5 2.2 4.2 52.3 0.0 0.2 0.0 1.0 1.8 54.5 1.9 2.4 4.4 1.1 1.4 1.0 1.5 3.1 5.4
Ge`Lawn Guyn 27 10.8 1.0 2.4 40.9 0.3 1.1 29.0 0.3 0.5 64.3 0.1 0.7 0.9 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.0 1.2 2.7
Jeremiah Davis III 26 8.1 1.0 2.5 39.4 0.5 1.2 38.7 0.2 0.3 44.4 0.2 0.8 1.0 0.5 0.6 0.5 0.0 0.8 2.6
Octavius Ellis 3 8.3 0.7 1.7 40.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 1.3 75.0 0.3 1.3 1.7 0.3 1.0 0.7 0.7 0.3 2.3
Cheikh Mbodj 22 10.8 0.9 2.3 38.0 0.0 0.0 100.0 0.3 0.8 38.9 1.1 1.3 2.4 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.9 2.0 2.1
Jermaine Sanders 25 8.8 0.6 1.5 36.8 0.3 0.7 38.9 0.4 0.7 50.0 0.4 0.8 1.2 0.5 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.4 1.8
Kelvin Gaines 17 8.5 0.4 0.9 40.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.4 33.3 0.6 1.6 2.2 0.1 0.5 0.3 1.4 1.6 0.8
Alex Eppensteiner 8 2.1 0.3 0.5 50.0 0.1 0.3 50.0 0.1 0.3 50.0 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.8

For a SB Nation New York preview of other Big East schools, click on its respective links: Syracuse, Marquette, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Georgetown, South Florida, Louisville, West Virginia, Connecticut, Seton Hall, Rutgers, St. John's, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Providence, DePaul.

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