Earlier this morning, USA Today released their preseason top 25 for the 2017-18 college basketball season. Cincinnati (21), Xavier (12), UK (6) and Louisville (9) all made the list. It’s entirely too early for these sort of predictions, but people love lists. Not gonna lie, I immediately clicked on it to see where they had my Bearcats ranked to begin next season.
Following this years exit from the NCAA tournament due to a run-in with a Big Baller named Lonzo, the Bearcats will be losing their two starting guards, Troy Caupain and Kevin Johnson. These are significant losses for the program, but we have a few guys in the pipeline that should be able to step up and fill their shoes. Cane Broome will hopefully be taking the point spot over from Caupain, and Jarron Cumberland looked like a legitimate stud ending the year on a hot streak.
The other three starters for Mick Cronin will be back: Junior F Jacob Evans along with Senior F Gary Clark and Senior C Kyle Washington. I fear that Jacob Evans may bolt after his Junior year for the NBA, being the most likely candidate on the current team to have a shot at the pros (prove me wrong, Cumberland!). I look for 6-11 C Nysier Brooks to take some big steps forward on offense; his D is already solid with good shot blocking and rebounding capabilities coming off of the bench. Hopefully Justin Jenifer and Tre Scott keep improving as well, along with some of the incoming freshman crop.
I have no hope for Quadri Moore. Every time he shoots a three, I bitch about it being a terrible shot, and I immediately look like an idiot because it goes in. For a guy that only plays about 5 minutes a game, I find myself yelling at him more than any other player.
The upcoming Bearcats season will also be a little different since they won’t be playing at 5th/3rd Arena while it is undergoing a big renovation. The Cats will be playing their home games across the river on NKU’s campus. Last season, UC didn’t lose a single game at home, so look for them to bring another NCAA Tournament team to BB&T Arena (shout-out to the Norse). As a season ticket holder (not to brag), I plan on still going to as many games as I can.
The USA today poll coming out got me excited for some NCAA basketball, but I still have about 6 months to wait. Talk about blue balls.