Bitter & Sweet: Seniors Departure

© James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

With all that they have accomplish together as a team to what they have as individuals, there is no denying this Bearcats team and seniors will be missed. UC exit the big dance how the came into the year putting up a fight when many doubted them.

Cincinnati (27-7) came into this season not looked at as a team that would do much, but to everyone's surprise; well those outside of the local area, it was no surprise. Bearcats were only looked to finish fourth in pre-season conference poll but finished tied first sharing the regular season title with Louisville.

No one had the Cats' near the national polls, but after a tough loss to Xavier in the yearly Crosstown Classic they went on a 15-game win streak. Raising in the national polls throughout that run, UC would get as high as 7th in the polls. Senior leadership was a key to the success of this years Bearcats.

You have to start with All-American guard Sean Kilpatrick who finished the year leading the AAC in scoring averaging 20.6 points a game. In many games this season Kilpatrick took his team and put them on his back. He made his way up the UC all-time scoring list throughout the year, hitting the 2,000 mark and second place under the legendary Oscar Robertson. SK's humble and lead by example style will be the most underrated thing most out of UC area will never get to understand. It was the driving force for this young team.

Then theirs "The Machine" Jumping Justin Jackson the AAC Defensive Player of the Year. Jackson had one of the best season in his four year career and most improved out of them all. Jackson came into the season averaging 3.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game in 2012-13. This season he improved those numbers by averaging 11.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game. With Jackson on the floor for 30 minutes per game the Cats' were nearly unbeatable, going 11-0 during the regular season.

The Glue of the squad and seniors was Titus Rubles a rebounding, physical and high energy guy. Rubles had many flashes of greatest in his two-year career at UC, but none like senior night against Memphis. In that game he put up a career-high 24 points with five rebounds. When he was needed on the boards, Rubles was there averaging 6.6 bounds per game.

The Bearcats Big 3 will no doubt in fans mind be a trio to always look back on. They stamped their legendary by putting most of the doubters to shame. They can hang those red and black jersey's up for the last night with their heads up high. They pass this legendary down to the younger guys like Ge'lawn Guyn, Shaquille Thomas, Troy Caupain, Jermaine Sanders, Jermaine Lawrence and Kevin Johnson. Next year this team will be able to build off the leadership left behind by these guys.

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