2011-2012 Projected Starting Lineup
G Cashmere Wright, junior
G Dion Dixon, senior
G Sean Kilpatrick, sophomore
F Yancy Gates, senior
C Kelvin Gaines, freshman (redshirt)
Key reserves: Justin Jackson, sophomore; Shaquille Thomas, freshman; Jermaine Sanders, freshman; Octavius Ellis, freshman; Cheikh Mbodj, junior
It has been a steady climb for the Cincinnati Bearcats. The Bearcats returned to the NCAA Tournament last season, before losing to eventual champion UConn in the second round.
Yancy Gates returns after averaging 12 points and 7 rebounds a game from a
season ago. Dion Dixon (11.6 PPG) and Cashmere Wright (3.9 APG) are among the Bearcats top returners.
However, outside of those three Cinci is inexperienced. Outside of Gates, the rest of the frontcourt includes sophomore Justin Jackson, who only averaged 2.5 PPG, junior college transfer Cheikh Mbodj, and reshirt freshman Kelvin Gaines.
Cincinnati had a strong recruiting class of big men (Shaquille Thomas, Jermaine Sanders, and Octavius Ellis), but they will all need to contribute early.
The Bearcats is usually one of the best defensive teams, but outside of Gates and Dixon, do they have another option?
If Cinci does, maybe it will be up there with UConn, Syracuse, Pitt, and Louisville as top contenders. If not, that defense will need to be better than it was last season.
Look for Cincinnati to float towards the top this season, but don’t be surprised if they fall towards the middle of the conference.