Examining the 1-7 Bearcats

With their ugliest loss yet, a 73-55 disaster at the Events Center against Colgate, still fresh in their memory, the 1-7 Bearcats have a lot of work to do as finals week leads into Thursday night's showdown with George Washington.

A look back on Brian Moritz's preseason preview gives us this telling quote about coach Kevin Broadus' outlook on his first season:

"Our motto this year is we're just going to try to outwork guys," Broadus said. "We may not be the fastest or the biggest team. But we're going to put our best effort forward."

No matter how optimistic your outlook, Wednesday's whooping at the hands of the Red Raiders was proof that there has been minimal improvement since the season-opening whooping at St. Bonaventure. And at 1-7, including a phone-it-in 21-point loss at Chicago State, it's obvious that the Bearcats are not outworking anybody.

The absence of Jaan Montgomery and Minja Kovacevic doesn't help, but I think people overestimate their value to this team. These Al Walker-molded Bearcats are still very much a guard-oriented squad, and there has not been any sort of interior game at the Events Center since Nick Billings' knees went.

So what's going wrong?

I think that Broadus is giving too much freedom to Richie Forbes, a lesson that even Walker learned during conference play last season. Richie can shoot, and will shoot, as much you let him. But I still think Forbes would flourish more as "instant offense" coming off the bench than as your starting two-guard. Dwayne Jackson's defensive prowess is superior to Forbes, and I think players would react to seeing the junior unseat a senior "leader" in the starting lineup by his solid play to this point so far.

If you asked him, Mike Gordon would probably say he enjoys playing alongside his classmate and good friend Forbes, but I think the entire trio -- Gordon, Forbes and DJ -- would benefit from inserting Jackson into the starting lineup -- and boosting his minutes.

Lazar Trifunovic's poor game against Colgate is relatively unavoidable -- he's still only a sophomore and he's prone to, and allowed to, have a subpar performance once in a while. I think he'll be fine against GW.

Some are calling for Broadus to press more, after seeing the success the team had in the last few minutes against Colgate. I think it's pretty obvious that that's not the solution. Pressing is exhausting -- especially for "Magic Mike," who I still believe is not 100%, but we obviously can't afford to rest him -- and if the press gets broken by any competent team (read: not Stony Brook), it's an easy two points. The press is for desperation, and so I think it's a pretty ominous sign if we start seeing more of it.

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