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November 9, 2012

Dream Meeting: UT-Martin

The beginning of college basketball season is hours away and the Cincinnati Bearcats men's basketball team looks to offer Mick Cronin's greatest chance yet for a Big East crown, and possibly an NCAA Championship.

The month of November is filled with games that will hopefully prepare the Bearcats for the tough Big East schedule that it faces every year. On November 11, the University of Tennessee-Martin will head to 5/3 Arena to start off the season for both squads.

The chances of a UT-Martin victory over Cronin's squad are very slim; but, what would be chances of putting together the top players in UT-Martin history against this year's Bearcats squad? Let us dive deeper into what the makeup of this team would look like and what the final outcome might be.

Point Guard


The lead guard position might be the main spot on the floor that UT-Martin has a hands-down advantage. Cashmere Wright brings a ton of tenacity and versatility to the floor, but all-time great, Lester Hudson is stiff competition. Hudson might be the only name on the starting five for the Skyhawks that is recognizable by most (had a breakout year last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers).

Hudson was drafted in the 2nd round of the NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics in 2009. The 6'2 guard scored 1,727 points during two years at UT-Martin (after playing two years of junior college ball).

Hudson had a great shooting percentage from the floor where he shot 37.2% from three-point range and 45.6% from the field. He was nearly automatic from the line where he shot 85.6% and was able to average 26.6 points per game for his playing career. A neat stat on Hudson: He is the first player in Division-1 basketball history to post a quadruple-double in a game.

He won his conference's player of the year award both times he was at UT-Martin and he ranks second all-time in points scored in Skyhawk's history. It would be a very tough guard for Wright due to Hudson's scoring abilities and the edge would have to be given to Hudson on this one.

EDGE: UT-Martin All-Time Team

Off Guard


The second guard position would be taken by 1996 graduate, DeWayne 'Pooh' Powell.

The Fort Wayne guard would bring some Midwest toughness to the hard floor. Powell averaged in double figures in all four years of his collegiate playing career and made over 300 3's throughout his career.

He started every game of his career and ranks behind Hudson at third in all-time scoring at UT-Martin. The savvy veteran would be a very tough guard for senior guard, JaQuon Parker. However, it is Parker's versatility that would win out in this battle. Park defends, rebounds, penetrates, and generally causes team wide problems for opponents. Pooh can really score the basketball, but Parker's ability to fill up the stat sheet outshines Powell.

EDGE: Cincinnati 2012-2013 Team

Shooting Guard


The starting three guard rotation for UT-Martin is pretty similar to that of Cincinnati's where they both start similar sized guards in the backcourt.

At the final guard position, the Skyhawks would boast their all-time leading scorer, Mike Meschede. Another Indiana-native, the 6'4 guard scored 1,729 points in his playing career and averaged a solid 16 ppg throughout his career. His number 13 jersey is retired and he made a school record 94 3-pointers during his senior season.

With Hudson dominating the ball Meschede becomes predominately an outside shooting threat.

The pure shooter might have a hard time finding the basketball with two other scorers in the backcourt with him and being pinned against a potential Big East player of the year candidate in Sean Kilpatrick, the Bearcats get the nod. Kilpatrick brings his physical playing style to the court and takes Meschede out of his element and the all-Big East guard wins this battle with little argument.

EDGE: Cincinnati 2012-2013 Team

Forward


The power forward position might be a little bit of a question mark for Cincinnati at the time being with junior college standout, Titus Rubles. The Texas-native would be thrown right into the mix in facing 6'7 forward, Michael Hart. The forward played only two seasons at UT-Martin, but he made sure to leave his fingerprints on the program. He was named the conference newcomer of the year in his first season and scored 1,119 in his playing career (averaged 20.7 points).

Hart could not extend the defense with his shooting abilities, but it was his shooting precision inside the arc that would be a tough check for Rubles (shot 54.9% from the floor for his entire career). Head Coach Mick Cronin has intimated Rubles' early season minutes will be tied to defensive maturation. He was only out of place a handful of times in the exhibition opener.

The Missouri-native Hart cleaned the glass pretty well scooping up 248 rebounds in his senior season and started every game of his stay at Martin. What will Rubles will bring to the floor? With plenty of playing time on the horizon for the transfer UC fans will soon find out. Still Hart wins out this battle between once junior college standouts due to his proven performances within the division-1 realm.

EDGE: UT-Martin All-Time Team

Center


The center position for the Skyhawks would be held down by big man, Marcus Glass. The 1986 graduate played just two seasons at UT-Martin. Like Hart he left a giant fingerprint on the program.
Glass was a third-team All-American his senior year after averaging 15.2 points per game and 11.4 rebounds per game.

The center averaged a double-double for his player career and started every game at UT-Martin. The 6'7 big would make it a point to clean the glass against the Bearcats and would provide a very tough battle between fellow big, Cheikh Mbodj.

The Cincinnati center wins the height advantage against Glass boasting three extra inches to his frame but he is another question mark heading into the season. Glass would win this battle due to his ability to score on the low block and clean up his teammates misses off the glass.

EDGE: UT-Martin All-Time Team

The starting five for each unit brings different assets to the floor and Cincinnati might have to make it a half-court game in order to control the tempo and tone for the contest. UT-Martin boasts five players that each pose as scoring threats and would make it a point to use the experienced advantage down low in deciding the outcome of the game.

Bench


Off the bench, the UT-Martin squad would mainly rely on 6'5 forward, Marcus Newson. The 2006 grad played three years for the Skyhawks averaging 16.2 points per game in his playing career. He was cut by the Dallas Mavericks in 2007 and is currently playing professionally in Germany.

Cincinnati would have to counter with Jermaine Sanders or redshirt freshman Shaquille Thomas. The 6'7 forward Thomas wins the height advantage and has the abilities to not only slow down Newson, but also win out the scoring battle between the athletic forwards. With the sixth man advantage siding with Cincinnati, what might be the decisive factor in concluding the battle?

EDGE: Cincinnati 2012-2013 Team

Just like it might be for every contest this season, Sean Kilpatrick is the end all, be all for the Bearcats. His ability to take over the game during crunch time would notch the victory for Cronin's squad.

After a tough first half where both squads fighting each other for the lead, the all-conference guard takes it upon himself to check pro, Lester Hudson. After slowing down the big time scorer, Kilpatrick heats up and after the final media timeout, Kilpatrick buries a three-point dagger over defensive liability, Mike Meschede, in notching a 74-63 victory.

Kilpatrick finishes with 19 points on 7-17 shooting and the Bearcats take hold of their first of many victories in the 2012-2013 campaign.


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