In 2013, the 22-2 7th ranked Bearcats traveled to Texas to get beat by the SMU Mustangs. Last week, the 11th ranked 22-2 Bearcats traveled to Texas to get beat by the SMU Mustangs, thus ending their win streak. History repeat itself and the Bearcats fell to #18 in the AP Polls and the Mustangs have risen to #19. Then again, rankings don’t mean anything. It’s what happens in March is what matters.
On Sunday afternoon, the Mustangs did everything right. They denied everything in the paint and kept Washington and Clark contained. Together, they only had 8 points in the paint. SMU forced us to shoot from the outside, shot 11 out of 32 attempts. Jacob Evans was on fire in the first half in 3-point shots and the game was tied leading into halftime. In the 2nd half, that’s where things went bad for the Bearcats. They did have a 9 point lead at one point but countless turnovers and no rebounding led to a 19-0 run for SMU, thus winning the game. The most depressing stat is that senior leader/guard Troy Caupain only had 2 points in the entire game. We can’t have him in any slumps come tournament time. We need our leader and every single player needs to bring their A game every time on the court.
The world is not over for Bearcat Nation. We are still tied for 1st in conference, solid for a place in the NCAA tournament, and we are heavily favored in our last 6 games, so we could go 28-3 after our last game against UConn. Against SMU, it was only a bad half that costed us the game and had our starting 5 play the entire game. I’m hoping this loss taught the coaches and players that we are not invincible. There’s still a lot to learn and a lot to improve. If we could win our last 6 games and make a long run in the AAC tournament, potentially a rematch against SMU, we could possibly be a #4 seed in the tournament.
I am mostly concerned with how well we do in the tournament. Every year, in the past 6 years, it’s been one and done except for 2 years ago in the Buzzer beater against Purdue and when the 2011 squad went to the sweet sixteen. I want this team to go to the final 4 this year, they have the potential to do so. If they play like they did against SMU, they will lose for sure. The Bearcats were not chosen in the top 16 for the NCAA bracket preview and dropped 7 spots in the polls. I love my bearcats and I hope they prove the world wrong. Tonight, they start a new win streak when they play against a struggling USF Bulls team. Just 6 games left and a conference tournament to play in. Look out world. The Bearcats will be back and will be ready to prove everyone wrong. Let’s go. Go Bearcats!