Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - One of the teams in the Sweet 16 last season
will kick off its much anticipated 2012-13 season when No. 24 Cincinnati
hosts the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks at Fifth Third Arena this afternoon.
For Tennessee-Martin this will actually be the second game of the season. The
Skyhawks got going on Friday on the road against Arkansas-Little Rock but
stumbled in an 84-68 defeat. Losing has been a common occurrence for
Tennessee-Martin of late as the Skyhawks are coming off a four-win campaign a
Cincinnati was much more successful last season with the squad making a run to
the Sweet 16. Overall the Bearcats ended the season 26-11, including wins in
11 of its final 15 games. There are three starters returning, all in the
backcourt for Cincinnati this season. That is good news for the Bearcats, as
Sean Kilpatrick, Cashmere Wright and JaQuon Parker form a trio of guards that
rivals any in the nation.
There isn't a whole lot of history between these programs with Cincinnati
holding wins in each of the two previous meetings.
In its loss to Arkansas-Little Rock, Tennessee Martin turned the ball over 16
times which the Trojans converted into 21 points. There was also a large
discrepancy in the output each team got from its reserves, with the Skyhawks
bench outscored 46-16 by the Trojans.
Myles Taylor was the lone bright spot in the losing effort. Last season's
second leading scorer (13.7), Taylor looked in mid-season form as he poured in
24 points against Arkansas-Little Rock. That type of effort falls right in
line with how Taylor left off last season, as he put up point totals of 24 and
31 in the last two games he played in. Mike Liabo was the leading scorer last
season (15.3 ppg) but failed to live up to that against the Trojans connecting
on only 2-of-8 shot attempts for seven points despite playing the second most
minutes (30). Surprisingly it was Justin Childs that was on the court the
most. The junior guard played 31 minutes but did not use those minutes well as
he shot just 2-for-10 from the floor and had as many assists as turnovers.
Terence Smith also struggled to hold onto the ball with five turnovers that
erased an otherwise strong effort (10 points, six assists).
The Skyhawks will really need to tighten up in the backcourt if they hope to
upset Cincinnati. The trio of Kilpatrick, Wright and Parker accounted for just
over 50 percent of the Bearcats' offensive output last season. That is quite a
chunk especially for a team that ranked 11th in the Big East in scoring (68.2
ppg). At 6-4, Kilpatrick (14.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg) has great size to get inside and
is the team's leading scorer from a year ago. Wright (10.9 ppg, 4.6 apg, 2.0
spg) is more of a distributor but can score when called upon. Wright is also a
valuable asset defensively as lead the team in steals. Parker (9.4 ppg, 5.6
rpg) is also a sizable guard (6-3) that can score and rebound well. Where the
Bearcats really have uncertainty is in the frontcourt with Yancy Gates (12.2
ppg, 8.9 rpg) gone. Justin Jackson (5.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg) has the size (6-8, 213)
to replace Gates, while much is expected of recruit Shaquille Thomas.
The Sports Network