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AAC Tournament Quarterfinals: The Scouting Report - No. 3 Cincinnati

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After losing three straight in mid-February, the Bearcats have won five in a row with Octavius Ellis leading the way.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 22-9, 13-5
Head Coach: Mick Cronin             Interim Head Coach: Larry Davis

Kenpom: 33
RPI: 35
BPI: 47

Cincinnati and UConn split their two meetings this season with both teams winning on their home court. UConn won the first game at the XL Center, 62-56, shooting 46.0% from the field against one of the best defensive teams in the country, while the Bearcats shot 39.6% from the field and 6-18 from three.  Troy Caupain was the only player to score in double figures for Cincinnati, finishing with 14 points on 6-15 shooting.

In the game at Cincinnati, the Bearcats turned in one of their better offensive games of the season, shooting 48.9% from the field and 5-11 from three in a 70-58 victory. Three players scored in double figures with Jermaine Sanders finishing with 10 points, Gary Clark with 12, and Caupain with 20.  The Huskies shot just 32.8% from the field and were forced into shooting 26 three-pointers, making just 8.

The Bearcats will be heading into their quarterfinal game with UConn winners of five straight after losing three in a row in mid-February.  They have beaten Houston, UCF, Tulane, Tulsa, and Memphis in that stretch.

Statistically, Cincinnati is extremely good on the defensively. They rank 14th in Kenpom's adjusted defensive efficiency while ranking 6th in the nation in points allowed at 55.2 PPG.  The Bearcats are also one of the best shot blocking teams in the country, ranking 12th in the nation with 5.5 per game. On the offensive end, they rank 290th in PPG at 62.6 but rank 86th in the country in field goal percentage at 45.3%. Cincinnati is shooting 33.1% from behind the arc.

The Bearcats will go as many as 9 deep.

Players

#2 Octavius Ellis, Junior, Forward (6-10, 226): The cousin of NBA player Monta Ellis, he is the only player averaging double figures, scoring 10.0 PPG, 7.3 RPG, and 2.1 BPG while shooting 58.2% from the field.  Despite being kicked off the team after the 2012 season, Ellis has bounced back nicely, becoming one of the team's top players.  The junior forward is a great shot blocker and an excellent rebounder while being one of the team's best defensive big men.  In the two games against UConn, he averaged 5.5 PPG, 5 RPG, and 3 BPG.

#10 Troy Caupain, Sophomore, Guard (6-4, 200): Averaging 9.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 3.6 APG on the season.  Caupain is one of Cincinnati's better offensive threats, shooting 46.1% from the field and 41.2% from behind the arc.  The sophomore can score in a variety of ways, but needs to be more aggressive, especially at the end of shot clocks (shout out Len Elmore-I'm sure he's reading this).  He averaged 17 points on 14-24 shooting and 3-8 from three in the two games against UConn this season.

#21 Farad Cobb, Junior, Guard (6-1, 175): The sixth man for the Bearcats, averaging 8.6 PPG and 2.4 RPG while shooting 39.1% from the field and 34.5% from three.  Cobb has the ability to heat up in a hurry, and if he sees his first shot go in, he can be very dangerous.  In the two games against UConn this season, he averaged 6.5 points on 4-12 shooting and 3-6 from three.

#11 Gary Clark, Freshman, Forward (6-7, 233): Averaging 7.9 PPG, 6.9 RPG, and 1.3 BPG while shooting 54.5% from the field.  Clark is a combination forward who can hit midrange jumpers, drive to the hoop, and even post up at times.  Cronin is extremely high on him and even went as far as saying, "He (Clark) is going to be an All-American someday."  In the two games against UConn this season, he averaged 7 points and 7.5 rebounds while shooting 7-14 from the field.

#25 Kevin Johnson, Sophomore, Guard (6-3, 175): One of Cincinnati's main three point threats, Johnson is averaging 6.6 PPG while shooting 37.7% from the field and just 33.6% from three.  He averaged 7 points on 3-12 shooting and 2-6 from three in the two meetings against UConn this season.

#3 Shaq Thomas, (R)Junior, Forward (6-7, 210): Averaging 6.3 PPG and 2.8 RPG on the season while shooting 46.1% from the field and 6-17 from three.  Thomas loves to live in the trenches, scoring most of his buckets off offensive rebounds and loose balls around the hoop.  He averaged 5.5 points and went 4-7 from the field and 1-1 from three in the two games against UConn this season.

#15 Jermaine Sanders, Senior, Forward (6-5, 212): Averaging just 4.7 PPG and 3.0 RPG on 37.7% shooting.  Sanders is another somewhat outside threat for the Bearcats, but is just 23-86 from behind the arc on the season.  In the two games against UConn this season, he averaged 7.5 points on 4-7 shooting and 2-4 from three.

The interim head coach for the Bearcats is Larry Davis who has filled in nicely in the absence of Mick Cronin, leading Cincinnati to a 15-7 record since Cronin was sidelined.  Davis has head coaching experience, as he was the head coach at Furman University from 1997-2006 where he went 124-139.  Before Furman, he was an assistant at a variety of places including Minnesota and Wake Forest.