Does how the Bearcats win, impact your enjoyment of the team?
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 17: Michael Young #2 of the Pittsburgh Panthers takes a shot as Titus Rubles #2 of the Cincinnati Bearcats defends during the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden on December 17, 2013 in New York City. The Cincinnati Bearcats defeated the Pittsburgh Panthers 44-43. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Lacking style points?
UC is off to its best start overall (17-2) and in conference play (6-0) in Mick Cronin's eight years at UC. 17-2 is UC's best start since the 2001-2002 Bearcats started 26-2. The Bearcats are 1 of 15 teams in the country with two or fewer losses on the year. The Bearcats are also riding a 10 game winning streak and stand 13-0 at home.
UC is doing it with defense, allowing just 56.2 points per game, 3rd best in the country. They are allowing opponents to shoot just 38.3 percent from the field, 16th best in the country. The Bearcats have held opponents under 70 points for 27 consecutive games-the nation's longest streak. Syracuse is 2nd, at 12 consecutive games.
What I find interesting is that fans loved UC's trademark toughness and defense under Bob Huggins and fans loved the Bengals trademark toughness and defense under Mike Zimmer.
Yet, the focus of some UC fans is on not what the Bearcats are doing, but rather what they aren't doing, scoring enough.
Does the way a team wins matter to you?
There is no question UC has offensive challenges and maddening scoring droughts. They are averaging 70.8 points per game, 209th of 345 Division 1 programs and shooting .423 from the field, 276th in the country.
They scored just 44 points vs Pitt earlier this year. Yet they won the Pitt game 44-42. UC's scoring average of 70.8 points a game this year would be the highest of the Mick Cronin era. UC averaged 76.1 points under Bob Huggins.
Do you like offense more than defense?
UC is suffocating opponents this year. They held Rutgers without a basket over the final 11:45 of their game. Memphis, averaging 82.8, was held to a season low 53 by the Bearcats.
UC's 56.2 points allowed per game this year would be the programs best since the 52.9 allowed by Ed Jucker's 1962-63 Bearcats (Lost NCAA title game to Loyola). UC's best scoring defense for a Bob Huggins team was 58.5 in 1992-93.
Does a teams style in winning matter to you?
The Bearcats currently rank in the Top 25 nationally in:
Scoring defense: 3rd, Turnover margin: 8th, Total blocks: 8th, Total steals: 11th, Scoring margin: 15th, FG% D: 16th, Blocks per game: 17th, Steals per game: 22nd.
UC has allowed 80 or more points just four times in their last 125 games. The Bearcats have held opponents under 50 points in 26 games during the Mick Cronin era.
Do the Bearcats lack style points?
What I don't understand is the lack of appreciation for the defensive performance that UC continues to turn in. Night in and night out the Bearcats defend, harass, press, turnover and block shots. It can be a thing of beauty how flustered and discombobulated the Bearcats can make opponents. At times it's like there are 6 or 7 UC players on defense. And there is beauty in watching an opposing player get through the defense, to the rim, only to have his shot swatted away by Justin Jackson, who then adds a mean face exclamation point.
UC is 17-2 overall, 6-0 in the American. They stand 15th in this week's AP poll, 21st in the latest RPI and are projected as a 4-seed in the NCAA tournament by Jerry Palm.
Does the opposition scoring fewer points than your team matter to you?