#8 St. Joseph’s vs #9 Cincinnati
Thursday March 18, 9:57 PM ET
In this first round match up, I think we have one of the best games of the day. Both of these teams are more than capable of giving Oregon a tough game, and this is a fitting audition to do so. So without further ado, lets break down St. Joe’s vs Cincinnati.
After losing two straight games to end the regular season, St. Joe’s ran off three in a row to win the Atlantic 10 tournament, beating fellow NCAA Tournament team Dayton on that path. Cincinnati lost in their first American Athletic Conference game after Connecticut hit a miracle 60-foot shot in the third overtime to send it to a fourth, where they eventually prevailed. However, this Cincinnati team is as gritty as they come. According to Kenpom, the Bearcats rank as the 8th most efficient defensive team in the country. They like to slow the game down and really make their opponent work for every the whole 40 minutes. On the other hand, St. Joe’s has a few guys that can really fill it up in Isaiah Miles and DeAndre Bembry. Bembry will play in the NBA someday, and will probably be the most talented player on the court.
Why St. Joseph’s Wins
The Hawks take care of the ball and manage to crack the Bearcat defense. St. Joe’s only turns the ball over on 14.3% of their possessions, good for fourth in the country. They are a veteran team with a lot of experience, and they are poised under pressure. Patience will be key for the Hawks, and they’ll need a lot of it if they want to win this game. However, all the pieces are in place to crack the defense. Experience, a dominant big man in Isaiah Miles and a go to player in DeAndre Bembry. If Bembry comes out making plays right away, I think that it bodes well for St. Joseph’s chances.
Why Cincinnati Wins
The Bearcats get a balanced offensive effort and dominate the glass. Cincinnati has four players that average 10 or more points per game. This can make it tough to defend in the NCAA Tournament, where there isn’t one guy to key in on defensively. Instead, St. Joe’s will have to defend the whole lineup against a team they haven’t seen or had time to scout this year. Along with a balanced effort on the offensive side, Cincinnati needs to dominate the glass. The Bearcats average 39.4 rebounds per game, good for just .7 more rebounds per game. However, for a team that doesn’t shoot extraordinarily well (43%) and doesn’t have a go to guy second chance points and limiting second chance points could be huge.
I think this could be the most competitive game in the first round. Both of these teams have legitimate cases to win, and both have enough talent to give Oregon all they want in the second round. However, I think that DeAndre Bembry and company get it done and get the shot at the #1 seed Ducks in the second round. I think that he is talented enough to break a scrappy Cincinnati defense and send the Hawks to the second round. Look for a close game, but I think the Hawks do just enough to get a victory.
Indiana University Class of 2018