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A quick look back: How UC got to Shootout week

The Bearcats come into the Shootout undefeated and, mostly, untested.

NCAA Basketball: Western Carolina at Cincinnati
Saint Mick enjoys some quiet reflection time.
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Talking UC basketball is not what we do, but once a year it behooves the Xavier Nation to know what their opponents across the city have been up to. This year, that has mostly been crushing very, very low level competition. Only eight teams in the nation have played an easier schedule than Cincinnati. UC has also played all their games at (sort of) home or on a neutral floor at the Cayman Islands Classic. The first true road game their Bearcats play will be less than a 5k away from their campus.

UC 107-77 #331 Savannah St.

Live from Highland Heights, Ky, UC opened their season by just obliterating a Savannah St. that does not figure to be the first in program history to record a postseason win of any kind.

UC 102-51 #284 Western Carolina

The road only got tougher after Savannah St, as the Bearcats took on the Catamounts of Western Carolina. UC grabbed near as makes no difference half of their own misses in this game. Kudos to the patron saint of doing things the right way, Mick Cronin, though. In this 51 point win, he managed to get his three walk-ons a combined 240 seconds of playing time.

UC 97-54 #346 Coppin St.

As Xavier took on Wisconsin on the road for their third game, Mick Cronin brought in sacrificial lamb Coppin St. This scheduling isn’t a reflection of teams that could have been good actually being bad, it’s a parade of cupcakes that would make even Jonah Hill nauseous.

UC 73-67 #128 Buffalo

Faced with both not being at home and playing a team not ranked below 250 for the first time, the Bearcats somewhat predictably struggled. Buffalo held UC to only a 30% offensive rebounding rate, 10% below their otherworldly mark for the year, but that wasn’t quite good enough for an upset win.

UC 75-48 #188 Richmond

Remember that one year the Spiders were good? This isn’t that again. Joke all you want about how good an opponent is, holding a DI team to .73 points per possession is truly frightening. Cincinnati’s defense is ferocious, and it held Richmond to 38.5% shooting on two point attempts.

UC 78-53 #90 Wyoming

Finally a semi-legitimate opponent. The fact that the competition was stiffer didn’t keep the Bearcats from ripping off their customary 25+ point win. While the first four games were play at pace, UC has greatly slowed the tempo since the, averaging just under 66 possessions per game in their last three.

UC 83-51 #345 Alabama St.

The worst team Xavier has scheduled in recent memory is 280th ranked IUPUI on December 9th, 2014. UC has played four teams worse than that in this season alone. Good teams are supposed to beat up on the bad ones, and, to the Bearcats’ credit, they’ve certainly been doing that.