Wednesday, December 24, 2008

All I Want for Christmas is a Memphis Win

And an Ipod, and a Laptop, and a.....

Nahh.. All I really want is for my wife to give birth to our latest addition in the days FOLLOWING Christmas. It wouldn't be the end of the world but I want him to have his own day for his birthday.

Anyway with the holidays and the impending birth I am out until the New Year. I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season.

Oh take a look at the slate of pro games on Christmas. Lakers v. Celtics should be one hell of a game.

Game Recap: Butler

The funk continues. I have to stop and tip my hat to a very good Butler team. Even though they are young they showed they can pull out a win in a tough atmosphere. Hayward could play for a lot of teams and I can see why the staff recruited Matt Howard so hard. I would imagine Brad Stevens is one of the hottest young coaches in the country. Very impressed with his poise and demeanor on the sideline. The Bulldogs deserve our spot in the top 25.

Now to our end of things. First the good: Brown played strong, Frease showed some offensive life out there in the first half, Redford continues to look more comfortable on the floor, and the team battled on the glass.

The bad: the black hole that has become CJ Anderson needs to realize the game isn't always one on one. He missed several opportunities to kick the ball to wide open shooters. He also needs to strengthen his free throw shooting if he is going to get to the line that much. Where have you gone BJ Raymond? We need you to get to where we want to be. Our warts of inconsistent free throw shooting overall and ball handling have been exposed against very good teams this week. I would suspect a lineup change for the next game. Also a little disappointed in Sean for not keeping his composure towards the end of the game. At that point I knew any chance to get over the hump in this one was finished. What X fans can take from this mini slump is to look back to last season. We were blown out by Arizona State after final exams and came back and went down to a solid Tennessee team at Cintas right before Christmas. That team learned their lessons well and went on to do big things. Hopefully our seniors will do the same for this edition of the Muskies.

I will be back first of the year with some 'inside' information on the recruiting front concerning a very talented PG from the 2010 class out of the NYC among other things. Also I have an opportunity from Learfield Sports to ponder that could lead to some interesting things for yours truly come first of the year.

I hope everybody has a safe and enjoyable holiday season. I am off to finish Christmas shopping.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Man We Took A Beating

In this weeks ESPN/AP Polls. We fell all the way to 14th in the AP and landed at 12 in the ESPN Poll. Real Time RPI has us holding steady at #3 behind Oklahoma and UCONN. Butler and Duke round out the top 5 as of 330 Monday afternoon. X wins over Missouri and Memphis remain strong as both received top 25 love this week.

Obviously the people who are paid to keep track of these sorts of things understand the landscape of college basketball a little better than some of us on this blog. Will be interesting to see how we respond tomorrow night. It will be important for this edition of the Musketeers not to let one bad loss develop into something more. We need to let Holloway play the lion's share of the minutes at '1' these next 3 games (Butler, Robert Morris, at Virginia)if his foot can take it. We will need to have a true offensive point guard in the mix if we want to do well in conference play and beyond.

Also let me add that today's edition of Real Time RPI has five teams from the A10 in the top 50. As a comparison the Big East has 6. Wow. Huge difference. The Big East SOS is 7, the A10 is 5. Wow. Huge difference.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Newsflash

Despite being 'owned' by Duke we will still be a top 20 team. Despite being 'owned' by Duke we are still the best team in Cincinnati (rankings such as the RPI and AP poll prove it- not to mention spanking, headbutting, punching them on their own floor). Despite being 'owned' by Duke the game against Butler was always earmarked to be a big game (chances to beat top 5 RPI teams always are). Despite being 'owned' by Duke we still have one of the hottest coaches in America. Despite being 'owned' by Duke we are a team with bonafide NBA prospects. Despite being 'owned' by Duke we are sitting at 9-1. Despite being 'owned' by Duke we have been to 2 elite 8's the last 5 years. Despite being 'owned' by Duke we have NCAA aspirations THIS season. Despite being 'owned' by Duke we have played a schedule void of cupcakes.

The point? We are pretty damn good with lots to look forward to. This loss will be a benchmark for improvement for this team for the balance of the season.

Xavier got owned

Wow. I don't think I've ever seen a top 10 team get OWNED so badly. The Muskies were outcoached, outplayed, and outdone in every aspect of the game on Saturday. All the talking heads will be saying how overrated they are and I expect them to plummet in ranks when  the new polls come out. 

Interesting to me is how the "top teams" they have beaten so far this season are turning out to not be as good as advertised. Don't get me wrong. Its still only one loss against a VERY good Duke team but still. All of a sudden the Butler game looks a little more daunting for the boys from Victory Pkwy. 

What a week for the Bearcats

Man its been a jam packed week for UC. They beat all the teams the should have this week with only a few issues worth mentioning. 
1.They are still putting to much on Vaughns plate in my opinion but it looks like Dion Dixon may take some of the load at guard as he gets better and better. 
2. Entry passes have been abysmal and they still need a lot of work in that regard.
3. I was screaming at Yancy on Thurday night. He seemed to not be interested in playing D for stretches in the second half. 
4. Most importantly they still seem to have trouble getting into a rhythm on offense. This did look better against Eastern Kentucky but not as good as it could be. 

Now the good stuff.
1. The three point shooting was pretty damn good this week. They should have won by 30 on thursday but the D got soft to start the 2nd half. 
2. Dion Dixon gets better everytime he steps on the floor. 
3. Mike Williams and Yancy Gates looked very good against EKU. Those are the kind of games we need from them every night. 

A win Monday night against Arkansas-Pine Bluff will finish out a nine day stretch of five games with a 4-1 record. not bad. 

Real Time RPI Update 12/21

Took a look at the realtime rpi website this morning to see how far we fell. They currently have Xavier at #3 with a SOS rated 5th overall. For reference Duke is #2 in the RPI with a SOS rated 13th overall after yesterday's games. Looking ahead to Tuesday night we face the Butler Bulldogs who are currently ranked #4 in the RPI and they have a SOS of 15. SO as all the 'haters' can clearly see losing to quality teams is not nearly as bad as taking an 'L' to a team with a double digit RPI ranking. X still has shots at quality wins against Butler, Virginia, Louisiana State, Temple, Dayton, and Rhode Island. There are also several other A10 teams in the top 100 of the RPI. I feel good about our NCAA tournament chances based off our SOS. IF we can manage 11 wins in the A10 and take two out of the UVA, LSU, and Butler games we should be sitting at 23-7 heading to Atlantic City. Considering 3 other teams in the top 10 lost yesterday we may not fall in the AP/ESPN polls as much as I originally thought. We should stay in the top 20. Winning Tuesday would be huge. Your's truly will be sitting directly behind the X bench for this one thanks to knowing some VIP's instead of my usual second deck seats in the 'Tas. Hopefully the team delivers an early Xmas present.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Game Recap: Duke

Ouch. It hurts to get your nose broke. Duke took it right to X in the first 3 minutes and it was over. So goes a golden opportunity. Overall at the end of the season it won't be a 'bad' loss on the resume. Derrick Brown hopefully will continue to step up and understand he could be the 'man' for this team. Raymond and Anderson didn't give us enough today. Flat out laid an 'egg' to say the least as a team overall.

Turnovers and horrible three point defense played right into the Blue Devils hands. I tip my hat to them. Far and away the best team we will play all season and when their hitting 50% plus from downtown kiss your chances of winning good bye. This was the first game our ugly wart of not having a true point guard to settle us down and compose us on the floor was exposed in a huge spotlight no less. Coach K is a master and great motivation sitting all of his starters down against UNC Asheville the previous game. 18-1 lifetime for the Meadowlands for the 'Dookies'. We got our face smashed by true basketball royalty today. Still hurts. They are a clear top 5 team. We should land some where around twenty in the polls if I had to guess.

Kenny Frease needs to continue to get stronger and improve his scoring efficiency around the goal. These games will be a great learning experience for him. Nice to see Redford drop some bombs from downtown to stem the bloodletting late. The boy has range. McLean needs some serious help from the free throw line. Jackson and Holloway should switch spots in the rotation possibly. Dante' could serve as a nice 6th man due to his ability to defend 1-3 on the floor. With X being on break it could be a long few days for the team as they get ready to take on Butler. The Bulldogs are strong again taking undefeated Ohio State to the wire and holding them to 54 points. They are a good three point shooting team. A 6'8" frosh wing named Hayward has a very nice game for Brad Stevens' squad. And fans who follow Musketeer recruiting closely will know the name Matt Howard. He is a solid inside performer for them. They are a top 10 RPI squad so it will be a nice chance to score another 'quality' win at the Cintas Center Tuesday night. In order to do that we need to tighten up the ball handling, three point defense and work harder on our identity on offense

Number 1

We moved up to the number one spot in the RPI as of yesterday. If we win today over Duke something tells me we stay there. That is a big IF as we all know. We have to keep our composure and pound it inside to get to the free throw line. Excited for the opportunity and possibilities. If we take the 'L' we are still shaping up to be better this season than I anticipated. In all honesty I would be happy with a split between Duke and Butler. Butler is top 10 in the RPI as well.

This is a great day to watch college basketball. Here is my schedule for the day:

Noon: Miami (OH) -v- West Virginia (ESPNU)
2:00: Xavier #7 -v- Duke #6 (CBS)
4:00: UCONN #2 -v- Gonzaga #8 (CBS)
6:30: Cincinnati -v- Eastern Kentucky (FSN)

I mean who really wants to watch EagleBank Bowl, New Mexico Bowl, St. Petersburg Bowl, or the always riveting Las Vegas Bowl? Does anybody make any money off this early season bowl games besides ESPN and their family of networks? Who knows, who cares. As we close out 2008 the basketball action is heating up.

'DUCK FUKE!!'

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cry Babies Go Home



'I freakin hate losing to freakin Xavier!'

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Finally ready to address the Crosstown loss

I freaking HATE losing to freaking Xavier!!!!!!!!!

I thought I could do this respectfully but I can't. Kenny Frease I now hate your guts for the duration of your stay at Xavier. I have heard rumblings that Yancy instigated the headbutting incident but I don't care. You're a tool. What can Brown do for you? How about whine and run his mouth when he doesn't get all the superstar calls he thinks he deserves. 

Don't get m wrong Xavier out toughed and out played the Bearcats almost the entire game.If it wasn't for Deonta it would have been ugly. That doesn't change the fact that I hate losing to them. 

If anything good came out of this game its this. Both teams showed that all the talk about the Shootout losing its edge can be put to rest. THAT was what rivalry games look like. So Duke & UNC can bite me if they think their game is any better.

Have I mentioned that I hate Syracuse?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Poll/RPI Updates 12/15

The polls came out this afternoon with Xavier sitting at #7 in both. Duke has the #6 spot in both polls which sets the table for a major matchup this Saturday in New Jersey.

RPI we are sitting at 4th with the 14th toughest schedule according to the SOS rankings. With Duke at #8 in the RPI and the Butler Bulldogs sitting at #3 you see X has a golden opportunity to strengthen the resume before A10 conference play begins. The A10 fared well this weekend with Temple beating #8 Tennessee and UMASS (3-6) handing it to the defending national champions Kansas in Kansas City.

UC is sitting at 61 in the RPI with a SOS of 58. Their best out of conference quality wins have been against UNLV and UAB. It would be beneficial for them to beat both Mississippi State and Memphis before the first of the year. Games against Arkansas Pine Bluff, Charleston Southern, and Eastern Kentucky are assumed givens in the win column. Of course they play in the uber tough Big East Conference which if they can win enough will greatly enhance their post season chances.

Game Experience

As stated earlier I enjoyed my experience at 5/3 Arena Saturday night and not just because the Muskies won either. There was plenty of parking and the campus looked great. Varsity Village should be admired by anybody who visits the UC campus in Clifton. Our seats were center court but near the very, very top. So much so we stood because it was easier to view the game. That precluded me from returning for another beer and dog (which was decent) because I went to watch the game and not get a work out. There was more blue in the house than I was expecting but for the most part everybody was cordial. Towards the end as UC edged nearer there was one 'tard who had a few too many. Everybody on X was either unskilled, an oaf, or a thug in his intoxicated opinion and I reminded a young X fan arguing with the drunk that was going to ruin alot of people's good time in our section. Let it go.

I actually got a laugh out of Connor Barwin's comment at half time as well. What else was he going to say? The mascot fight instigated by the Bearcat was a little much and he broke our flag but the Muskie got one in on him when he wrapped him in the 'X'. Actually very symbolic of the game. Driving home I listened to Mick as is per my custom of the Crosstown. Whichever team loses I always catch the postgame show of that coach. Mick lamented the lack of transition points. I really thought he may have had some better halfcourt offensive schemes giving he had a whole week to prepare. He most likely did but execution became a challenge.

For us up next is Duke on Saturday 12/20. We are on exam week. UC has a full schedule beginning with Charleston Southern today. They have four games within the next week I believe. The SEC/Big East challenge down at US Bank looks to be a very entertaining double header with Louisville and Ole Miss hooking up opposite UC and Mississippi State. I may attend that one. MSU has a great shotblocker named Varnado. With MSU and Memphis this week the Bearcats will have a chance to improve on their non conference resume. Good luck the rest of the way.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cincinnati Recap

It never gets old beating the Bearcats. Tim Higgins gets the game ball for helping lead his squad to six technicals. Sarcasm aside the 'rivalry' certainly seems to be alive and well.

A quick glance at the box score shows Anderson and Brown BOTH posted double doubles. Brown with 20/10 and Anderson with 17/11. I was also proud of the way Love battled with four blocks in a big game, including my personal favorite over Gates in the second half. Raymond never got it going but Jackson supplemented his usual output with a scoring outburst of 13 points in the first half. Redford played limited minutes as expected but didn't do anything to hurt us. McLean battled but didn't do much offensively. Frease showed he is going to be a big part of our success. He brings toughness and hustle to each game. Holloway showed why we are excited about his future despite giving it back to the 'Cats three times.

On the dark side you cannot help but be impressed by Deonta Vaughn. He always plays big against us and his 27 points kept his team in the hunt for a time. I also liked the way Toyloy and Dixon played. The front line of Gates and Williams couldn't do much less. 'Biggie' didn't bring much fire when he was out there either. Bishop had a very strong 9 rebounds but he didn't get it going from the field very much. He fouled out with four points. I also expected Mitchell and Wilks to deliver more for Cronin and company. Larry Davis has a very solid perimeter jump shot but didn't get enough attempts to make a huge difference.

I will be back later with some more thoughts on the 'in game' experience at 5/3Arena. For the most part a very, very pleasant experience.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Favorite 'Crosstown' Moments

Heading over to enemy territory tonight is a first for me. Either way the game goes it will be a lasting memory for me. I am getting amped just thinking about it!

Past highlights for me in this storied rivalry include:

- The Lenny Brown shot in 1996 (duh!)

- The 'no handshake' game between Gillen and Huggins.

- 'L-Train's' shot over Eric Hicks.

- Jason Maxiell questioning West's toughness and doing nothing to stop him from winning.

- Jamal Walker's infamous play.

- Charles Williams' infamous play.

- Dontonio Wingfield flipping off the X student section and then putting up a whole two points during his only Shootout.

- The ending to the '99 game. I miss Kevin Frey sometimes.

- 5'5" Drew Lavender's block on 6'1" Deonta Vaughn in last year's edition closing minutes. Please note one of the players heights is accurate, the other is not.

I am hoping I will have pleasant memories again in this year's edition. It sure is shaping up to be a good one on paper.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The WorldWide Leader Thinks We Are Good At This

When ESPN wanted to know why the Crosstown Shootout is so great they asked us. Why? We're still not sure but we were damned happy to help em out and honored to do so.

Check out our Crosstown Shootout coverage on ESPN.com!!!!!

Dave and Deck on ESPN.com!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

X - Crosstown Preview

Being unblemished and holding a top ten ranking heading into the Crosstown Shootout the Xavier Musketeers will not lack from confidence heading into the game. They have won thus far this season on rebounding, defense, and knowing how to win big games. As we head into one of our biggest tests thus far this season I thought it would be nice to take a look at the guys most likely to play Saturday and their potential impact on the game. It will be important for the Musketeers to have two out of the trio of Brown, Raymond, and Anderson to play well to win the ball game in my opinion.

STARTING 5:

1 - Dante Jackson (7.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.0 apg) sophomore can be disruptive on the defensive end. has struggled with shooting this year (under 30% overall) but has shown a knack for hitting big shots.

2 - BJ Raymond (13.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.4 apg) he is showing to be a complete player in his final go round for the Muskies. can get fiery hot from behind the arc and has improved getting to the bucket and drawing the harm.

3 - CJ Anderson (11.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.5 apg) if he improves his 57% FT shooting average the Musketeers will have a huge advantage. he is very good at getting hacked in the act. CJ is a big game player and being a Cincy product this one has to be for him.

4 - Derrick Brown (13.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.3 apg) mr. versatility gives us 43% shooting from behind the arc. he has demonstrated the ability to blow by on the drive or pull up mid range this season. and he is just getting over tweaking his ankle according to Coach Miller. he was the deciding factor last season, will he be the same this year?

5 - Jason Love (6.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 0.8 apg) love is making the most of his 21 mpg on the glass. he will need to step up and can afford to be aggressive with the length and skill we have on the bench.

BENCH:

Terrell Holloway (6.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.5 apg) freshman guard will be seeing a hostile crowd for the first time on this level. how he handles it when he is on the floor Saturday night will be a big key for Xavier. he is a clutch free throw shooter (see Missouri and Memphis games) and we flow from defense to offense much better with him in the lineup.

Kenny Frease (4.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.3 apg) big man is also averaging two blocks a game. he plays aggressive and is better on defense than I thought he would be. big man is still learning how to get his offense going in big time college basketball. his first Crosstown he needs to focus on 'D' and be strong on the glass.

Jamel McLean (7.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 0.5 apg) word to the wise: box out #22 from X anywhere on the floor when a shot goes up. he is a tip dunk, momentum changer, highlight reel that throws his frame all over the place for a flush. he saw extended time together with Brown and Anderson in what gives Xavier a very quick and athletic front line as of late.

Brad Redford (2.4 ppg, 0.5 rpg, 0.9 apg) could a break out game be close? he is shooting 36% from three land early in his college career. he is in the game for one reason and that is to knock down the long range shots.

Brian Walsh (0.3 ppg, 0.3 rpg, 0.0 apg) has had very limited minutes thus far this season to do much. i think this may be the first game this season he does not play in. if he does get in he needs to remain poised and strong with the basketball.


This is just a game you don't want to lose. I don't expect Miller and team to lay an egg like the last time we were in Clifton for a contest. Heading into finals week the team will not want to have to wait a week to play again if we do. When we win Saturday night it will be a struggle but the big game experience of our players and culture of winning will get us over the top. Again 67-62 X as we hit freebies down the end to ice it is how I see it.

On a personal note I will be in the house Saturday night for my first one of these in enemy territory. I expect the experience to be a little different than the one I have had in Oxford but I am hoping for better treatment than I received at UD Arena. I will let you know.

One more just to piss off Deck

Bearcats tribute video

I can't wait until Saturday!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ohio Recap

X wins 78-56 by shooting 69% in the first half and finishing with 52% shooting for the game. CJ Anderson put up a very strong style 22 points against the Bobcats. Brown was perfect from the field (7-7) including 3 of those buckets coming from behind the arc. BJ Raymond a very unselfish 3-5 from the field. Nice to see you back Terrell. There was a few minutes there at the end of the first half tonight that were simply spectacular on your part. 'Big Lovely' had a very workmanlike 6 points, 7 rebounds, and four blocks in 17 minutes. Frease continues to struggle to get in the offensive flow and forced some things tonight. He continues to be a very solid rebounder, defender and passer and those things help you win games too. The offense will come. Overall a great game and the end of the bench lineup was playing with about five minutes to go.

I am enjoying watching the offense improve the last two games. Holloway makes a huge difference to our offensive flow. We are much better in transition with him in the lineup. It had to be strange for John Groce to be sitting on the other end for a game at Cintas. He is sitting at 4-4 right now but give him time and they will be a regular contender in the MAC.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What you smell is . . .

Connor Barwin's football jock. Apparently so do the rest of the UC 'faithful' who have shown out in droves to support their basketball program this season. What was that at the UAB game this weekend? 6500! And that was the 'announced' attendance. Certainly it will be a little better this weekend. Also give the 'economy' story a break. It takes 35,000 to fill the football stadium, 13,000 to fill the basketball arena in Clifton. One is getting filled and the other isn't. The comment of 'fair weather' certainly comes to mind. Just win baby.

Now with all that being out there I am not going to play the 'underdog' card. Our status and ranking show that not to be true and ESPN validated that our program has been better in the 'modern' era of college basketball with their prestige rankings this summer. It was great we were both in the top 20 but we were two spots better. It remains to be seen if UC basketball will sustain success in the Big East or without Huggins. Sagarin rankings have you projected to finish 14-16 for the season. That will probably earn you another bid to the 'Crappy' Basketball Invitational which is certainly not fitting for a team in the Big East. I still fail to see the argument that the Big East will elevate the basketball program. Yancy Gates would have commited to UC if they were still in Conference USA. The W-L totals have not been better and quit crying that Sean inherited a much better situation at X than Mick did at UC. It's obvious he did. He helped build it to where it is but there are no excuses over on Victory Parkway. There seem to be plenty for failure in Clifton. Injuries are a part of the game get over it and still succeed.

Speaking of injuries coach Miller said on his radio show last night that Holloway will see time this Wednesday against Ohio. That makes me feel much better about our ball handling capabilities heading into the Crosstown game. Also it bodes well for our matchup the following Saturday against Duke. The UC game is always tough but certainly not the 'highlight of the schedule' as it once was. HOWEVER it is still important for bragging rights and we still have lots of work to do to make up ground lost in the '60's and '70's.

My official prediction is:

X: 67
UC: 62

Monday, December 8, 2008

Is that upset I smell?

Are there some guys over on Victory parkway who are starting to believe the hype? UC? What about UC? They aren't ranked! We are!

OK that's probably not happening but I hope so.

By the way folks I'm sure that later this week my hated(well not really hated)compadre Deck is going to try and play the same old "Xavier is the underdog and nobody in this city respects us" card so I'm calling him on it now. X has dominated this series since Y2K. Let it go. They are ranked as high as they have ever been for this game. Anything less than a victory should be a big disappointment. X has always thrived on that kind of mentality. Last season it was the "We are not Mid-Major" thing.  OK, your not. what you are is a top notch program so find a new chip to fit on your shoulders cause the underdog one is old and out dated. 

As for my beloved Cats, They are a better team than Mick has had by quite a margin so when they win it wont be a surprise to us UC fans. Just a big step on the way back up. 

GO BEARCATS!!!

New Rankings Out 12/8

In the rankings that came out today X registers #9 in the coaches poll and sits at #10 in the Associated Press rankings. All of which may be setting us up for a colossal upset next Saturday ;). I doubt it but you never know.

And a couple of quick comments regarding UC and their football program. It is absolutely big time that they are in the Orange Bowl and the city should be damn proud of their accomplishments. But coach Kelly being in the BCS cannot be compared to the Final Four. If you were in the Final Four you would have a chance at the national championship. Sorry you do not have that opportunity. The reality is who ever wins the Florida/Oklahoma game on January 8th will be the national champion. That is why college basketball is better than college football. Champions are decided on the floor and not by asinine rankings. Nevertheless this is huge for UC and validation on my part that being in the Big East serves all their programs well except basketball but that is a subject for another time.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Holloway Update

I just learned that Coach Miller has stated Terrell Holloway will be worked back into practice starting Monday. To me that means he will most likely sit out the Ohio game and get some minutes against the 'Cats on Saturday. As an X fan that can only be taken as good news. Tutu was really coming into his own during the PR tournament and UC will most likely press the hell out of us next Saturday night. Will be a terrific challenge for our young guys to go in an environment like that for the first time. We are getting ready to enter a tough stretch on the non conference schedule: Ohio, at UC, Butler, and then Duke in New Jersey on a 'neutral floor'. I feel like Holloway is talented enough to eventually claim a spot in the starting lineup this year and hold onto it his entire time at Xavier.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Auburn Recap

It is nice being 7-0 and seeing coach Miller pick up his 100th victory but it was easy to tell after the game he wasn't happy with particular guys and their effort on defense. To be up by 22 with close to 12 minutes to go and end up as close as we did indicates we had some 'coasting' going on by certain guys. Big accolades to BJ Raymond who scored a career high 32 and broke out of his shooting slump with a 7-9 effort from three land and 10-13 overall. Obviously he loves playing against the Auburn Tigers as he broke his own record for three's in a game of 6 which he registerd against the orange and blue last season. He is stepping up and being a leader as witnessed by some of his post game comments as well. We still struggle with turnovers and inconsistent free throw shooting which is going to cost us sooner rather than later if it is not fixed. Tutu needs to get healthy and some of that will be alleviated but still I feel we will see full court pressure from the majority of our opponents in some degree. Frease played a strong game overall (it is nice to have a sequoia down on the defensive end), Dante' shot the ball well (at the end of the game he wasn't bringing the ball up the floor 'nuff said), and again it was nice to see coach Miller extend his career record to 100-39.

Also last night the Cintas Center had probably one of the coolest gameday give aways that I have seen since the place opened. They issued a deck of playing cards that featured all of our 1000 point scorers, a few coaches, a few home courts, and a couple of mascots. Pretty sweet actually and my favorite card is the king of spades.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Leaving Las Vegas

Sorry I'm so late on this one folks. Family Stuff to attend to but here we go.

Well, with no TV and no ability to get to a radio I can only go by the numbers and game summaries. 

On Saturday The Cats lost to Florida St. in a low scoring affair that was actually easy to figure out looking only @ the numbers. UC shot horribly for the 1st time this year with only 33.3% from the field and an abysmal 15.8% from beyond the arc. The Bench scoring disappeared and the cats were out rebounded for the 1st time this year. Without seeing the game myself I can t say much else other than I hope this was just a blip on the radar and not something more. 

On Sunday things were back on track as UC beat UNLV to continue dominating the series 5-0. UC once again held their opponent under 40% shooting from the field and got back their own shooting touch making 10 3's in the game. The rebounding advantage belonged to the Cats and contributions  were made up and down the bench. The game was closer than I would like but a win is a win. Almost forgot.Biggie got his first start of the season. If he continues to play well it could be the first of many. 


Official - No Crawford This Season

ESPN is reporting that Jordan Crawford will not be eligible to play this season for X. Can't say that I am surprised but I remain amazed that the NCAA takes this long to make these decisions. Sure the appeal needed to be reviewed but come on. Any way we now know for sure we will have to wait one season to see Jordan and his talents on the floor. Adding him and 'Cheeks' next year after they have had a season to learn the system should just be that much better for X. Of course they will have some game 'rust' but in the end we pick up two great backcourt pieces.
This still sucks for Jordan but in the end it should make him better academically as well as on the floor.

Monday, December 1, 2008

X In 2009 Old Spice Tournament

Gary Parrish reported on his blog on CBS Sportsline that X will be in the Old Spice tourney next year. The other teams included thus far:

Alabama
Baylor
Creighton
Iona
Marquette
Michigan

And there is one opening left with a strong rumor that it will be North Carolina. That would be great to get the Tar Heels on a neutral floor.

Where have you been Dave? I anxiously await your musings on the Las Vegas tournament. I heard UC lost to Florida State and squeaked by 'mid major' UNLV but since it was not televised I obviously didn't get a chance to make my own judgments. ;)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Miami Recap

We will take a 60-53 win especially after being down by 11 in the first half. DBrown is the first X player this year to score over 18 when he poured in 23 last night. The trio of Anderson, Raymond, and Brown has willed us to 6-0. With Holloway out and Dante' suffering from leg cramps (too much holiday wine?) Raymond played point the last 10 minutes of the game. Yikes! He did hit the go ahead 3 but remains in a shooting slump. We were only 22-38 from the FT line and that poor shooting has to improve soon. Miller said it best "It's all about surviving more than anything". With Auburn coming in Wednesday we will need either Redford, Walsh, or Frease to step up. McLean was solid again with 5 and 5 off the bench but he needs to watch some Rick Mount tapes on free throw shooting, geez louise some of his 'attempts' yesterday were gawd awful. But hey we are still in the top 20 and Miami is always a good 'rivalry' game.

Also it looks like Jordan Crawford will not be playing this year. Expect an announcement early this week from the NCAA. Again I have accepted this for some time now and I remain excited about the potential of this team.

One last note: I would be remiss if I didn't mention the UD Flyers nice 89-75 win over #15 Marquette on a neutral floor last night. They ran with Marquette and went 12 deep for the win. Juco guard Rob Lowery had 21 off the bench and Wright had a double double. Hopefully that is the last nice thing I post for the Flyers this season. :) Top 25 love anyone?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A 10 Musings

As November draws to a close I thought I would give a brief update on the league and teams thus far:

A 10 CONFERENCE: Announced this week that beginning in 2010 our conference tournament championship game will be aired on CBS on Selection Sunday. I am guessing we take CUSA spot at 11 AM on that day. First thru fourth place teams receive first round byes and seeds 5-12 will play on higher seeded teams home court during the first round. Teams who finish 13th and 14th during conference season will be shut out of tournament again. Good move by Bernadette McGlade.

CHARLOTTE: 1-5 thus far and one of the biggest disappointments in the conference. Point guard depth is really hurting this team. Dijuan Harris is good but he can't do it all. Three of their losses have been by a total of 5 points.

DAYTON: 5-0 on the season. They won 60-59 in overtime last night over Auburn in the Chicago Invitational despite going 0-24 from three land! The Flyers get a date with Marquette tonight; their best chance for a non conference marquee win for the Selection Committee. Marcus Johnson has been strong to this point.

DUQUESNE: The Dukes are 4-1 thus far but looked terrible against Duke on ESPN yesterday. All their wins have been against 'cupcakes'.

FORDHAM: The Rams are 0-4 with losses against Ivy League schools Princeton and Columbia. The lack of upperclassmen depth is going to make for a long season. On the plus side they have inked three terrific recruits for 09-10 that Rivals.com feels is one of the top 25 classes in the country.

GEORGE WASHINGTON: The only loss has been on Auburn's home floor. The Colonials have a 3-1 record overall. Up next is a 12/7 tilt against Maryland.

LASALLE: The Explorers are 2-3 thus far with their next game being against Bucknell on Tuesday night. LaSalle lost to UCONN by 8 points and had Florida State beat before losing by 4.

UMASS: 1-3 overall and right up there with Charlotte with disappointment. They suffered a 1 point loss to Jacksonville State at home the other night and were absolutely embarrassed by Memphis early on. That was a bad game in more ways than one as they lost their 7' Luke Bonner to injury. Derek Kellogg appears to be going through the growing pains all first time head coaches go through as well. They still have non conference tilts against Boston College, Kansas, and Vanderbilt.

RHODE ISLAND: These Rams have represented the A10 well with a 5-1 record. Their only loss was a nail biter against Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Jimmy Baron went off from 3 land in that game. They get #20 Villanova tonight after a nice win over Penn State last night in the Philly Hoop Group Classic.

RICHMOND: 3-2 overall with a 2-2 split in the CBE Classic. They get Coppin State on Sunday at home.

ST JOSEPH'S: 2-3 overall with losses to Texas and Alabama in the Maui Invitational. They do not appear to be 6 or 7 deep and Martelli needs to develop some depth so his above average starting 5 have a chance night in and night out.

ST LOUIS: 2-2 overall with a nice home win over Boston College. They are at Detroit Mercy today and hope to improve over their last road performance at Nebraska. Willie Reed has been a fan favorite to this point and the frontline looks promising with fellow frosh Brian Conklin and Brett Thompson to go along with the 6'10" stringbean shot blocker.

ST BONAVENTURE: 3-2 overall with a nice win over Rutgers on their home floor. They almost followed that up with a home win over Mississippi State but poor free throw shooting done them in. This team has the talent and coach to finish higher in the A10 than originally thought. Andrew Nicholson is the best freshman big man in the conference to this point in the season. He recorded a double double against the Scarlet Knights and followed that up with 13 and 9 against the Bulldogs. A neutral court game against fellow Big 4 member Canisius is on tap tonight.

TEMPLE: The Owls are 3-1 to this point. They are at Buffalo tonight and follow that up with a visit from Miami (OH). Temple plays several MAC schools a year as part of their agreement for being in the MAC for football. However Dunphy still has Tennessee, Kansas, and Villanova to show off Dionte Christmas the A10's best All American canidate.

XAVIER: My Musketeers are of course 5-0. Winning the PR tourney over Memphis will be huge Selection Sunday as well as the neutral court wins over Mizzou and VA Tech. All is not rosy in Musky Land though as Terrell Holloway will be out 2-4 weeks with a stress fracture in his left foot. We face Miami (OH) today in a tough non conference rivalry. The Redhawks have already challenged UCLA and Pittsburgh on the young season. With Ohio and Auburn also coming in before the trip Crosstown to UC Brad Redford and Brian Walsh will be forced to play meaningful minutes and it is time for them to sink or swim. It is looking extremely unlikely we get Jordan Crawford eligible after seeing the NCAA's ruling against IU. Again no excuses we still expect to win on a consistent basis this season.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Coastal Carolina Recap

4-0 is nice. You know what's better? Getting there with contributions from all up and down the bench. I'm starting to feel like a broken record but Williams, Gates, Toyloy, and Mitchell all looked good at times but lets talk about Biggie.

 Man did he look like a beast or what. 11 pts and 3 blocks is EXACTLY what the Bearcats need from him. He looked more confident and didn't get pushed around like last year. If he keeps this up and thats a big if considering he was 5" taller than the biggest Chanticleer( a type of rooster if you wanted to know but please make up your own cock jokes I wont stoop to...awwww crap.)he will be gaining minutes every night.

I dont want to forget Larry Davis' performance. Not only did he drop 14 pts including 4 3pointers.He also played ball hawking, lockdown on the ball D. I believe that good teams with a lockdown defender can become great teams. Last years Xavier team(choking back vomit) proved that. 

Crosstown Tickets

Tickets for the 2008-09 Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout are on sale through the University of Cincinnati Athletics Ticket Office. The Shootout will be played on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. in Fifth Third Arena. The price is $40 a seat which is a bargain in my book. If my wife weren't about to give birth any-day about then I'd be there in a minute.

This years game will tip the head to head between Coach Cronin and Coach Miller one way or the other and will surely be a better contest than the last few considering the athletes on the court should match up better. May the Best team win. By best team I mean the Bearcats and by win I mean crush the kingsmen and laugh while the RPI rises to new heights!!

Holloway Hurt

I just read Terrell Holloway has broken a bone in his foot and will be out 2-4 weeks. Sean Miller discussed this on his show last night and this is surely a downer. Most seem to think he will be back in time for the Crosstown Shootout. With games against Miami (OH), Auburn, and Ohio before then it will be a good time for Walsh and Redford to step up and show what they can do.

Indiana Sanctions

Could be known as early as today according to the Indianapolis Star. I have read and heard XU could have a decision on Jordan Crawford some time the week after Thanksgiving so this would make a lot of sense. My gut tells me the NCAA will deny his claim for eligibility this season but my heart hopes not. With Jordan we go from a team with potential to win one or two NCAA games to one that could possibly win four or five. Either way the wait should be over soon. God bless the NCAA. (insert sarcasm here.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

First Ranking

X claimed a spot in the rankings for the first time this season and I hope it is a season long stay in the top 25 in both polls. We register at #16 in the AP and #20 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll. Also of note we are #13 in the RPI with a SOS of #59. UC currently resides at #251 in the RPI with a SOS of #324. But hey the 'Cats get to tussle with the Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina tonight and a win would improve their RPI because the Chants currently reside at #142. Hopefully the game will be available for viewing at channelsurfing.net.

UC Put Crosstown Tickets on Sale This AM

Tickets to the Crosstown Shootout went on sale this morning from UC. They usually wait until students turn those back in before going to the public. They are going for $40.00. Might we see a little more blue in the Shoe this year? catstix.com if your interested.

One more thing from our strong win against Memphis yesterday. Jason Love is a beast on the boards! He managed twelve against a very athletic front line. Our frontline depth is quickly becoming the strength of this team.

I just found out Dustin Dow will not be the beat writer from the Musketeers moving forward. He announced it on 700WLW last night. Not sure if the enquirer is cutting costs or what but he was a hell of a beat reporter and will be missed.

Memphis Recap

'Our team has a lot of toughness' is a quote Sean Miller used after a 63-58 win over a tough Memphis Tiger squad coming off a national championship game appearance last year. The three wins in four days in Puerto Rico were huge for this team no doubt. Not only did we win the championship but we picked up signature wins for March and RPI strength. We will be top 25 with a bullet. We didn't play pretty but we played strong enough to win. The games against VA Tech and Memphis had an NCAA feel to them and we stepped up. Holloway was big with the free throws down the stretch again. He is 27/28 for the season. That is what a point guard is supposed to do. Jamel McLean was big in the first half when DBrown was saddled with foul trouble. CJ Anderson is his best in the big games and he took it right to the Memphis bigs. Ultimately poor free throw shooting led to their demise. In fact it was so upsetting to Tyreke Evans (the latest in a long line of one and dones for Memphis) that he was crying after the game. Ha ha.

Up next we face rival Miami (OH) Saturday at 4:30 in the 'Tas. I am sure Jason Love has been looking forward to this one. I enjoy and admire Charlie Coles and hope his team has great success this season just not on Saturday. The Redhawks have already played UCLA and Pitt so they are battle tested.

And to my buddy Dave I had to educate some fans in the Enquirer forum. The passionate fan base of the Bearcat basketball program like to tout the Big East and slam the A10. My point to them is so what? St Bonnies beat Rutgers on their own floor this past weekend and the Bonas are crap right? The Big East has done nothing for the UC program other than add to the loss column. The A10 has prepared us enough to make deep runs in March and show up in March on a regular basis. Does Memphis, Gonzaga, Butler, Creighton, and Southern Illinois play in a BCS conference? No but they do enjoy quite a bit of success in spite of it. Mick did inherit a very solid 'mid major' program in Murray State but he didn't leave them in a situation for lasting success. My point to the ass clown I was sparring with is just compare overall winning percentages, salaries, playing career, ect of Mick and Sean. Who comes out on top? Sean helped build this program to the level it is. Xavier is a program and not a coach; please remember that. Mick has some nice pieces in place let's see what he does with them.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Another Win in the "supposed to" column

I'll take it. After last years performance in the Peggy Cronin- I hope they never bring it back-Classic "supposed to" wins just aren't the schedule fillers they used to be. 

In all seriousness the Cats looked very good with lots of guys scoring the ball and Vaughn watching for most of the game. Alvin Mitchell impressed again showing his slashing ability. Making baskets and forcing fouls like we'd all hoped. Mike Williams was more involved on the offensive side and Toyloy and Biggie...Thats right I said Biggie played very nicely. 

I like that Mick took the opportunity to play everybody and see what he's got. There aren't many chances for that going forward so hopefully Cronin took alot from Saturdays game. I know I did.

The Sophs all looked like they've matured quite a bit and Williams looks better every game. It all points to a good non-conference season including an ugly fight in the Crosstown.

Speaking of ugly. Some guy calling himself "cincymuskie" was posting on Cincinnati.com about how Mick took over Murray State in great shape and thats why he was successful. Really? Your going there? I'm sorry but didn't Miller inherit one of the best rosters in X history? I'm pretty sure I know the poster. His writing style is VERY familiar. I will just say this. the only record I'm concerned about is the head to head in the Crosstown. After this year I think it'll be one more win for the good guys. 

One other thing Big Ups and Much Love to Brian Kelly and the boys for a HUGE win that all but guarantees them a spot in a BCS Bowl. Thats a hell of a long way from forcing tickets on Basketball season ticket holders. 

Friday, November 21, 2008

VA Tech Recap - Holy SHAT!

Dante' Jackson welcome to Sportscenter. That bank shot from halfcourt was an excellent way to start a Friday afternoon. VA Tech is stunned no doubt. We stepped up defensive intensity towards the end of regulation and kudos to the team to holding AD Vasallo to 4 points. Frease was a bigger contributor today than he was yesterday and Raymond still needs to work on being 'the man' but we will take this and run with it. A 63-62 buzzer beating win on a halfcourt shot will have this team thinking all year they can pull it out if they believe and play hard for a full 40 (45) minutes. God bless you Dante'. Bring on Memphis Sunday babee!! Too excited to analyze any further.

Five Straight

Over the Big 12 conference. Iowa State, Texas, Kansas State (x2) and now Missouri give X five straight wins over that 'power' conference.

Nervous about VA Tech. Vassallo and Davila are native Puerto Ricans and damn good players on top of that. DBrown needs to step up again and BJ needs to find his range from three land. I think Frease will be on the floor a little more today as well.

Either way huge win yesterday RPI wise. If we would have lost we would have been playing Fairfield with no chance at Memphis. A Memphis/X final for the tourney win would be dreamy. VA Tech brings the ACC pedigree and a win over them would be just as big.

I guess all the haters were crying in their blankets yesterday when Holloway stepped up. He had a hand in the final 15 points being scored by Xavier with an assist to DBrown and Jackson on his three to go along with his 10 points. I won't be able to get out of work today to watch so I will live and die with Byron and Joe on the big one.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mizzou Recap

Very nice win by the Muskies 75-71. Sean was fouling at the end with X up by three, good strategy if you ask me and it paid off. WOW the Missouri pressure was an excellent test for the team. Two freshmen on the floor with 1:38 left in the game didn't look good (Jackson and Raymond fouled out). But hello Mr. Holloway. 10-10 on free throws is excellent down the stretch. Quick on quick. He may be starting when they return from the PR.

We still struggled with turnovers and the game was way over officiated. But Fran Fraschilla summed it up best at the end of the ESPNU telecast when he stated XU knows how to win these tight games. Missouri killed themselves with 50% free throw shooting. Also on the plus side we rebounded well. DBrown hit a couple of threes in the first half. Redford flashed at times with the aforementioned Fraschilla proclaiming "Redford will make plays" after a three pointer made and then a drive and hard foul by the Tigers on the next possession. He is showing he belongs. Also this game was too fast for Kenny Frease but he did hit a nice baseline jumper. J McLean needs to improve his free throw shooting.

Tomorrow we face VA Tech predicted for an upper half ACC finish. AD Vassallo is a tough player from Puerto Rico so stopping him needs to be job #1. Check that: us taking better care of the ball needs to be. 1:30 tip tomorrow afternoon back on ESPNU.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Alvin Mitchell Finally arrives in Clifton and other observations

The performance he put on was close to what we all expected/hoped for in the beginning. If this continues against good competition the Cats could be a sleeper team in February and March. I know its early but its exciting nonetheless.

Dion Dixon rebounded the ball just as Mick said he would. Expect to see him on the floor alot.

Steve Toyloy also "did his job" as Marvin Lewis would say. 7 reb and 11 pts on 5/5 shooting.

Darnell Wilks also played well including a very nice Alley-oop from Vaughn.

All of this with only 12 pts from Vaughn all in the 1st half.

If Coach Cronin can keep these guys motivated look out Big East!

Hey Bearcat Fans!

Go to a game. I have watched the first two games on TV from the 'Shoe and the place looks very hollow. They are announcing attendance around 6,500 which means it is actually closer to 5,000. I guess a huge factor is the economy but come on. Show Mick and the boys some love.

On a side note I wish nothing but the best for the Bearcats football team against Pitt this Saturday. It would be great to see them make a BCS bowl for their school and this city.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Toledo Recap

We won 81-65 and dominated the frontcourt (43-20 on the boards) like we should have. However coach Miller was fired up about the defense. We surrendered a Cintas opponent record 37 points tonight. Essentially Tyrone Kent looked like Clark Kent in the second half. BJ Raymond as a defensive stopper did not work out to well this evening. Further Sean indicated we may not see a win in Puerto Rico with this type of defense being played. Not a very happy way to end his 40th birthday.

However as fans we can take away several positives from this game. First Dante' Jackson had a career best game. 14 points, 4 assists, 1 turnover in 34 minutes on very strong 3 point shooting is a plus. Terrell Holloway also contributed 9 points (7-8 FT) and showed an ability to blow by and get to the cup. He also commited just one turnover. Two turnovers in 40 minutes of play is strong out of the point guard spot. BJ Raymond stepped up nicely from the offensive end with some strong 3 point shooting. Derrick Brown played longer and better this game than the first ending with 14 also. Jamel McLean is becoming my new favorite player and he also dumped in 9 with some dunks thrown in.

Freshmen Ken Frease did not perform as well as he or coach would have liked. He had some defensive lapses and shot poorly tonight (1-5). He did board well and dish off three assists on some very nice passes. Still he impacted the game and was doubled or tripled every time the ball went down to him. Each game will be a learning process for our youngsters. I feel Sean layed into to them tonight and will continue to do so until the Thursday tip over the defensive effort and intensity late in the game. He knows we are playing top level comp down in Puerto Rico and must bring consistent effort to win our share down there. We play on Thursday at 1 PM on ESPNU against a Missouri Tiger team that is returning four starters.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cincinnati Bearcats extremly late season preview!!!

Hey fellow Cats fans! I'm sure you've all been biting your nails in anticipation of(booming voice from above)"The Worlds Greatest Bearcat Basketball Preview Ever".  The lateness can be attributed to many things but I'll just chalk it up to good ol' Slackerdom and PROcrastination(caps for pro because I am beyond a shadow of a doubt(my apologies to Ric Flair) a professional at not doing things in a timely manner). Anywho lets get on with the Actual preview.

I want to have high expectations for our Bearcats this year I really do. I was leaning toward a top half of the Big East prediction as recently as a six weeks ago and then it happened. The only true point Guard on the team Fr. Cashmere Wright tore his ACL and is out for the season. After a few nights of crying myself to sleep I tempered my expectations, reevaluated the situation and decided it could still be okay. Coach Cronin still seems excited and said he would make some adjustments and move forward so I will to. 

After reviewing all the information, factoring in that I'm a total homer, and just to thumb my nose at EVERY other Bearcat Preview I am picking the Bearcats to finish 9th in the Big East with a possible 7th or 8th place finish if everything goes EXTREMELY well. Heres how I see it.

1. Connecticut
2. Louisville
3. Pittsburgh
4. Marquette
5. Notre Dame
6. Villanova
7. Georgetown
8. West Virginia
9. Cincinnati
10. Syracuse
11. Providence
12. Rutgers
13. Seton Hall
14. DePaul
15. St. Johns
16. South Florida

I jumped the Cats ahead of the Friars and the Orange as opposed to behind them in every other preview I read for two reasons 

1. The Friars are learning a new system under a new coach.
2. Syracuse is ALWAYS overrated.
Okay three reasons
3. I HATE Syracuse is this biased? Yes. Do I care? Nope. 

Now lets look @ the Bearcats Roster.

First the new guys



Dion Dixon, G, Fr., Chicago, Ill., 6-3, 180
Chicago, Ill./Crane

- Mick sees something in him others did not including others on his staff. He has looked good in exhibition play especially at rebounding the ball. One of the things Cronin liked about him.
- Will be asked to play the point some to take pressure off of Vaughn and Will play some shooting guard on order to give Vaughn a rest. 


Yancy Gates, C, Fr., 6-9, 255
Cincinnati, Ohio/Withrow

- Averaged 21.2 ppg, 10.8 rpg and 1.2 blocks per game as a senior.
- Has looked very good in the two exhibition games. Needs to continue to work on post positioning and working for his shot. Could be a game changer if he works hard.  


Steven Toyloy, C, Jr., 6-8, 255
West Palm Beach, Fla./Miami-Dade CC

- Led all junior college players with 12.9 rpg in 2006-07 to go along with 9.8 ppg.

- Will be counted on for just that. Rebounds and more rebounds with put backs getting him easy buckets. 
Mike Williams, F, Sr., 6-7, 240
Camden, Ala./Wilcox Central/Texas

- By now we all know his story. After two seasons as a spectator lets hope he can get back to the level that made him a McDonalds All-American. 
- In the two exhibitions he has been VERY impressive. Exactly what the Cats need to compete with the Big East bigs.


A few notes on the other new guys.


John Riek, C, Fr., 7-1, 237
Sudan/Winchendon School (Mass.)
- As far as I'm concerned this guy is a total question mark. He passed his college entrance exams but still awaits a NCAA Decision. He was the #1 ranked center in this class so if he plays the skies the limit. 

Cashmere Wright, G, Fr., 6-0, 170
Savannah, Ga./Urban Christian
- He will spend the year on the bench hopefully soaking up Cronins knowledge like a sponge. 
- Hopefully this becomes a motivating factor for the rest of his career at UC. Nothing is guaranteed. Work your but off and we'll see you next year.


Now the returning players


Deonta Vaughn, Jr.

- We all know whats expected of him. With more top flight talent around and less pressure can he take his game to another level?


Larry Davis, So.

- Hopefully continues his development Will be counted on to play lots of minutes.


Anthony McClain, So.

- He better improve on his performances in the exhibitions or he will be running alot in practice. At his size he should have dominated the lesser competition in those games. 


Alvin Mitchell, So. 

- It wasn't long ago that we all thought he was going to be a very good player. A team suspension and an offseason of working his butt off later. Lets hope that he can get back to slashing to the basket and making jumpers. 


Darnell Wilks, So.


Rashad Bishop, So.


Kenny Belton, So.


Brandon Miller, Sr. 

- I was happy to see Brandon on the cover of the media guide with Vaughn and Willams. He works hard and deserves the recognition


Team Summary


With so many young players in large roles this team will have many ups and downs. The starting lineup may not be solidified until close to conference play. The best case lineup would be Vaughn, Williams, Riek, Gates and Davis with major minutes from Toyloy, Mitchell, and Dixon. Taking Riek out of the mix throws Toyloy into that role which he will probably hold until December anyway.


The MUCH easier non-conference schedule should lead to a better record going into the Big East which is nice since the conference figures to be much more difficult this season than last. My hope is that the teams in the top half of the league beat each other up badly enough that the Cats will have a chance to break into the top eight by the end of the year which would almost guarantee a spot in the big dance. 


Okay folks that it! REJOICE, REJOICE!! College Basketball is here!!! 



Saturday, November 15, 2008

IPFW Recap

71-43 final is what we should of expected, but still I am happy the season is here and excited about what I saw at Cintas last night.

Brown: ankle limited him but we didn't really need him tonight. what should be scary to our opponents is watch out when him and Raymond start contributing what they are capable of on the offensive end.
Anderson: #20 is a load and will look 'for his' all season long with taking the ball to the hoop. it is uncanny how long he can hang in the air. need to tighten up free throws. should have had 20 points last night.
Love: in great shape and solid. played briefly with Frease on the floor at the same time last night.
Raymond: didn't really get into the flow. i have noticed in our exhibition and against the 'Dons he is taking more drives to the hoop. that will pay off down the line.
Jackson: foul trouble limited him in the first half. he is more than capable of making solid contributions at the '1'. his length and defensive intensity will make for a long night for smaller point guards we face.
McLean: double double off the bench his first game? get the hell out of here. are you serious? beast who attacks the basket with little regard for his health and well being. i love him already.
Frease: 12 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 assists in 20 minutes of action. 'Nuff said. we may not have him for four years. Seven footers who run the floor and have his offensive skill set tend not to linger in college.
Holloway: solid first half with 5 points and a good defender. still had four turnovers. potential is there though with this four star recruit.
Redford: was actually quite solid running the team and didn't look for his shot. could have had a couple more assists if the bigs would have finished. we will need to run set plays early on in his career for him to get his shot. but the three he made was a thing of beauty. he has a super quick release.
Walsh: not to be forgotten i think he will serve as a jack of all trades for us and is very solid overall, better defender this first game than i anticipated.
Taylor: nice hustle but will struggle to get consistent minutes as sean pairs down the rotation.

Toledo is up next and they were beaten last night by Florida 80-58. They have a first year coach in Gene Cross and a very inexperienced backcourt. The Puerto Rico tourney will serve as a better gauge of where we stand. Missouri has two very good forwads in DeMare Carroll and Leo Lyons and Mike Anderson loves to play '40 minutes of hell'. If we get past them VATech has a potential all american in AD Vasallo and I feel that would be an extremely tough game for the young Muskies to win at this point. Finally we could be seeing a USC or Memphis in the final which would mean we had a very good tournament. We have a great collection of talent with the potential to be a very strong team.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

1st Place - Temple Owls

Head Coach: Fran Dunphy
Record at TU: 33-31 (2)

Homecourt: Liacouras Center

Roster:
2 Ryan Brooks Jr G 6-4 200
3 Martavis Kee So G 6-2 180
10 Luis Guzman Jr G 6-3 200
11 TJ DiLeo Fr G 6-2 195
15 Semaj Inge Sr G 6-4 190
22 Dionte Christmas Sr G 6-5 205
23 Ramone Moore Fr G 6-4 180
24 Lavoy Allen So F 6-9 225
30 Craig Williams So F 6-9 240
33 Scootie Randall Fr F 6-6 205
41 Sergio Olmos Sr C 7-0 220
50 Micheal Eric Fr C 6-11 225

First 5:
1- L. Guzman (Dunphy will be expecting consistent performance out of Luis this year. solid overall guard.)
2- D. Christmas (an absolute stud and potential All American. he will compete with Nivins for A10 player of the year. once he gets on a roll, watch out.)
3- R. Brooks (i look for this junior to break out and be the #2 option scoring wise behind Christmas. again another very talented wing for Dunphy and staff.)
4- L. Allen (has as much 'upside' as any big man in the A10. will develop into a dominant low post presence for the Owls this season.)
5- S. Olmos (a 'project' who has actually developed. he will be in a battle to keep the talented frosh Eric out of the starting lineup.)

Second 5-
1- TJ DiLeo (freshman was the South Jersey Player of the Year last year. Father works in the front office for the 76ers.)
2- R. Moore (academic redshirt last season was the Philadelphia POY his senior season. he will serve as Christmas' apprentice this season.)
3- S. Inge (this senior has shown flashes up to this point in his career. his ability to play multiple positions makes him an ideal 6th man for this team.)
4- S. Randall (another very talented Philly schoolboy. he scored over 1700 points for his high school team.)
5- M. Eric (another academic redshirt from last season. if he is as good as advertised this Temple team may make alot of noise come March.)

Outlook:
Fran Dunphy is a very talented coach. With the talent he has on hand I look for them to continue to improve. Not that winning the A10 tournament last year wasn't significant improvement already. Christmas can hurt you in so many ways and you add Eric to go on the front line with Lavoy Allen and the Owls have plenty of options. I pick them over X because of the experience in the backcourt and the talent they have added.

Interesting Comment

I see where 2009 UD recruit Matt Kavanaugh made the bold promise of 'never losing to Xavier' when he enrolls next season. Uh okay Matt I am going to hold you to that promise. You should have signed with Huggins and West Virginia (hint: they actually play in the NCAA tournament). He is the latest and greatest in a long line of BWS players to sign with the Flyers. However I do like his moxie to make that statement but man the Xavier Nation is going to ride you like no tomorrow over it. Gotta love rivalries.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

2nd Place - Xavier Musketeers

Head Coach: Sean Miller
Record at X: 93-39 (4)

Homecourt: Cintas Center (10,250)

Roster:
3 Brian Walsh Fr G 6-4 195
5 Derrick Brown Jr F 6-8 227
10 Mark 'Cheeky' Lyons Fr G 6-1 180
11 BJ Raymond Sr G 6-6 226
12 Brad Redford Fr G 6-0 170
15 Andy Taylor So F 6-8 205
20 CJ Anderson Sr F 6-6 230
22 Jamel McLean So F 6-8 235
25 Dante' Jackson So G 6-5 195
31 Jason Love Jr C 6-9 255
32 Kenny Frease Fr C 7-0 265
52 Terrell Holloway Fr G 6-0 175
55 Jordan Crawford So G 6-4 205

First 5:
1- D. Jackson (excellent defender gets the nod to start at point to begin season. he will most likely give way to Crawford (if eligible) or Holloway. either way he will play major minutes as the third guard.)
2- BJ Raymond (senior is ready to embrace the role of leading scorer. has shown ability to hit big time shots and shoots the three at a very good clip. his ability to guard smaller two guards will be key.)
3- CJ Anderson (a bull who can get a basket when you need it. plays big in the marquee games. needs to be a solid free throw shooter due to his penchant to get fouled.)
4- D. Brown (preseason Wooden award finalist has a great skill set. the only ? for NBA scouts is a consistent jump shot. selfishly i hope he stays for his final year.)
5- J. Love (ever improving big man is a beast on the boards. if he can continue his improvement arc over his first two seasons it will be later rather than sooner for Frease to enter the starting lineup.)

Second 5:
1- T. Holloway (promising four star recruit has work to do before coach Miller hands the reigns of the team over to him. consistent free throw shooting is a must if he wants to play major minutes.)
2- B. Redford (could be the sleeper candidate to start at point. it is well documented of how good a shooter he is but he is a solid player overall. the major question is his ability to guard on this level.)
3- B. Walsh (he can play multiple positions and has flown under the radar compared to other XU recruits. However he can boast offers from Memphis and Maryland just to show how big time he is. solid 'glue player' type in my estimation)
4- J. McLean (big time athlete will garner major minutes this season. he will wear opponents down with his rebounding and scoring ability close to the basket in relief of D Brown. there will not be that big a dropoff when he steps on the court and he could be paired with #5 from time to time.)
5- K. Frease (the big man has shed some baby fat since the Deveroes Summer League. he has a plethora of scoring tools. needs to learn to be stronger with the ball at this level but it seems he is buying in to the great coaching he is receiving. that is BAD news for our opponents. i think he cracks the starting 5 at some point this season.)

Outlook:
The Musketeers could struggle a bit in non conference play with the questions at point guard given the schedule they play. That scenario changes if Jordan Crawford is ruled eligible. That is a slim chance in my eyes. It also hurts that 'Cheeks' is not eligible this season to provide a little more depth on the perimeter. However no excuses from the X camp. There is enough talent left over to certainly challenge for the A10 crown and a nice run in the NCAA tournament. I think BJ Raymond absolutely explodes this season and carries us to great things again this season.

3rd Place - St. Joseph's Hawks

Head Coach: Phil Martelli
Record on Hawk Hill: 261-152 (13)

Homecourt: Alumni Fieldhouse (3,200)*
*the bandbox known as the Hawk's home floor is getting renovated this year and they are playing most of their home games at the Philly Mecca for hoops: The Palestra.

Roster:
0 Tasheed Carr Sr G 6-4 211
1 Chris Prescott Fr G 6-2 190
11 Charoy Bentley So G 5-11 183
13 Darrin Govens Jr G 6-1 187
15 Garrett Williamson Jr G 6-5 195
21 Temi Adebayo Fr C 6-10 216
22 Edwin Lashley Sr G 6-4 205
32 Idriss Hilliard So F 6-7 225
34 Ahmad Nivins Sr F 6-9 242
40 Bryant Irwin Fr F 6-8 230
45 AJ Rodgers Fr F 6-6 215

First 5:
1- T. Carr (transfer from Iowa State made an impact last season. not necessarily a true point guard, he provides matchup problems and excels in the open court.)
2- D. Govens (his outside shooting is a must for this team to meet their goals. needs to show greater consistency in his third year.)
3- G. Williamson (perhaps one of the best defenders in the A10. solid all around player capable of playing multiple positions.)
4- I. Hilliard (the player most Hawk fans seeing taking a huge step forward this year production wise. and they need him to because they don't have much to go on front line with Nivins that is proven.)
5- A. Nivins (if he stays aggressive each and every game this guy will play in the NBA next year. for those who say the A10 doesn't have quality big men this guy is in line with Camby and West as far as skill set. consistent production and aggression is all he is missing.)

Second 5:
1- C. Bentley (smallish guard didn't receive too many D-1 offers outside of St. Joes.)
2- C. Prescott (he will probably be a bigger player in Phil's rotation than Bentley as he can play the '1' also.)
3- E. Lashley (i thought this senior would have been a bigger part of things for St. Joes. up to this point he has shown flashes of a good outside shot to go along with good size. he is a possible breakout player.)
4- B. Irwin (big man was the Gatorade Player of the Year last year in West Virginia.)
5- T. Adebayo (nigerian big man has 'project' written all over him.)

Outlook:
I feel like the Hawks will be using a 7 man rotation by the time A10 play rolls around. I placed them so high because I love their coach and they have enough defensive talent to keep contests close, even when their shots are not fallen. And oh yeah they have my preseason pick for A10 POY in Nivins. I think he outshines Christmas from Temple this year and will be the 'man' for Martelli this season. Carr is your typical tough Philly guard and Govens and Williamson know their roles very well.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

4th Place - LaSalle Explorers

Head Coach: Dr. John Giannini
Record at LSU: 53-66 (4)

Homecourt: Tom Gola Arena (4,000)

Roster:
0 Darryl Partin So G 6-4 180
1 Vernon Goodridge Jr F 6-9 230
2 Kyle Griffin So G 6-3 185
5 Kimmani Barrett Jr F 6-6 190
10 Rodney Green Jr G 6-5 190
12 Yves Mekongo Mbala Jr F 6-7 210
14 Devon White Fr F 6-8 230
20 Jerrell Williams So F 6-8 210
21 Terrell Williams So F 6-8 210
31 Paul Johnson Sr F 6-6 195
34 Ruben Guillandeaux Jr G 6-5 195

First 5:
1- R. Green (forced to play the point because the Explorers have nobody else to do it effectively. he improved his three point shooting last season and needs to continue to do so to build off rest of his solid game.)
2- K. Barrett (is a solid overall player (7.8 ppg & 3.9 rpg) that helps out defensively on the perimeter with his good length. very talented player.)
3- Y. Mekongo Mbala (cerebral player is all academic A10. he improved his free throw shooting from 55% to 70% between years one and two and that is good because he will get plenty of chances this season. another piece to the explorers' talented junior class.)
4- J. Williams (he recorded six double doubles before February last season and then hit the freshmen wall. he played sparingly in the A10 conference loss to Temple. i think he will show expected improvement this season and be a load for A10 teams to handle this go round.)
5- V. Goodridge (he was a ballyhooed recruit for Mississippi State out of Brooklyn, NY a few years back. he never put it all together there but dominated LaSalle in practice last season. he is my reason for placing them so high because he mirrors the athleticism and skill the rest of the Explorer position players have. he is as strong and athletic as anybody else in the A10.)

Second 5:
1- K. Griffin (sophomore will get back up minutes at point if his surgically repaired knee can hold up.)
2- D. Partin (a pleasant suprise to most Explorer followers last season. can play the point in a pinch if necessary.)
3- R. Guillendeaux (another talented junior who could play point also. i see him as the team's sixth man and he will average 20+ minutes a night.)
4- P. Johnson ('glue guy' is the teams only senior and one of the best defenders they have. he will be the first option for down low substitutions.)
5- T. Williams (not as talented as his twin Jerrell. if he doesn't quit turning the ball over at a high rate freshmen White will assume his spot in the rotation.)

Outlook:
IF the Explorers can improve their last rated defense from a year ago they will be the 'sleeper' team in the A10. They have a very talented coach who has assembled some nice talent in the often 'forgotten' Philly program. He will continue to add talent with the '09 class as well with top 50 overall center Aaric Murray and Philly point guard Nurideen Lindsey joining the Explorers next season. This season look for LaSalle to exploit their athleticism and good length to finish strong in the nonconference portion of their schedule and carry that momentum into the A10.

5th Place - UMASS Minutemen

Head Coach: Derek Kellogg
Record at UMASS: First year overall

Homecourt: Mullins Center (9,493)

Roster:
2 David Gibbs Fr G 6-4 185
5 Ricky Harris Jr G 6-2 175
11 Gary Correia So G 6-1 180
12 Anthony Gurley So 6-3 185
13 Travon Wilcher Fr 6-7 210
14 Chris Lowe Sr G 6-0 160
24 Tony Gaffney Sr F 6-8 208
25 Tyrell Lynch Fr F 6-9 230
31 Luke Bonner Sr C 7-1 245
33 Matt Glass So G 6-7 190
50 Matt Hill So F 6-7 210
(UMASS has three talented transfers sitting out this season as well. Doug Wiggins (talented guard from UCONN), Sean Carter (post out of Oregon State), and Hashim Bailey (another post out of Memphis) will keep the talent level high in Amherst.)

First 5-
1 - C. Lowe (talented senior is back for his final year and hopes to lead the A10 in assists again. he is much more than a distributor though as he increased his scoring output last year to 11.8 ppg.)
2- R. Harris (big time scorer who should post big numbers again under Kellog's 'dribble drive offense'. tremendous talent could push for all A10 team honors this year.)
3- A. Gurley (Wake Forest transfer is a good shooter. He was a top 20 shooting guard prospect out of Massachusetts three years ago and can boast a 24 point performance against Georgia Tech in ACC play.)
4- T. Gaffney (he is a suprisingly good defensive player (59 blocks and 39 steals) who will get a chance to start on a regular basis this year.)
5- L. Bonner (a big man who would rather play on the outside (35% from three land) started to mix it up down low in UMASS' run to the NIT championship game last season.)

Second 5-
1. G. Correia (back up point took 55 shots last season of which 50 were three pointers. he will need to attack the basket a little more this season but is potentially a nice spot up option for this offense.)
2- D. Gibbs (talented player who can play either guard spot. he will be given opportunities this season to show what he can do.)
3- M. Glass (another designated shooter who could thrive in the dribble drive offense.)
4- M. Hill (sophomore will provide servicable minutes down low.)
5- T. Lynch (big man was supposed to play for Auburn last season but that didn't work out and he enrolled at UMASS instead. he was not allowed to participate in basketball activities but has the talent to be a major piece this season for Derek Kellogg.)

Outlook:
A favored son returns home to coach the Minutemen. Kellogg was a big piece of Calipari's great teams at UMASS and graduated in '95 from the school. He brings the dribble drive offense with him from Memphis and does one better: he brings the coach (Vance Wallberg) who created the scheme. It is often referred to as 'AASAA' which stands for 'attack, attack, skip, attack, attack' and I think the Minutemen personel on hand can play this system very well. The questions are defense, rebounding, and overcoming some first year coach obstacles. This team could be clicking on all cylinders come first of the year and there is the possibility that Kellogg could take them where Travis Ford couldn't: the NCAA tournament.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Storming the Floor: The New Season Is Here, One Last Preview Before Tip-Off#links#links#links#links

Cincinnati could make some noise in March?
If STF says it its good enough for me!


Storming the Floor: The New Season Is Here, One Last Preview Before Tip-Off#links#links#links#links

6th Place - St. Louis Billikens

Head Coach: Rick Majerus
Record at SLU: 16-15 (1)

Home Court: Chaifetz Arena (10,600)

Roster:
3 Kwamain Mitchell Fr G 5-10 165
10 Paul Eckerle So G 6-1 185
12 Femi John Fr G 6-2 190
13 Ruben Cotto Fr G 6-0 190
14 Brian Conklin Fr F 6-6 220
15 Barry Eberhart Sr F 6-6 250
21 Kevin Lisch Sr G 6-2 190
23 Kyle Cassity Fr G 6-3 185
25 Tommie Liddell III Sr G 6-4 195
33 Willie Reed Fr F 6-9 195
41 Brett Thompson Fr 6-10 260

First 5-
1- K. Mitchell (highly rated prospect was Gatorade Player of the Year in Wisconsin last season. will take pressure off of lisch with ball handling capabilities.)
2- K. Lisch (1,000 point scorer is a very solid basketball player. led the team in assists, points, and three pointers made. he may be better on defense. must be accounted for at all times.)
3- T. Liddell (talented wing butted heads with Majerus last season and the coaches' deliberate 'O -ffense'. but still he remains an NBA level prospect IF his jump shot is improved and consistent; slasher extrodiannaire.)
4- B. Eberhardt (this senior saw his production slip as the season wore on. being it was his first out of junior college, Billiken fans would love to see improvement from him.)
5- B. Thompson (big man was rated 18th best center in nation by Rivals.com last season. he received offers from SEC, B10, and Big East schools. Majerus compares him to former Utah big man Michael Doleac.

Second 5:
1- R. Cotto (talented guard is capable of getting hot from three land. will make a nice 1-2 combo with Mitchell.)
2- F. John (hometown product has played on a state championship team. solid rebounder for his size.)
3- K. Cassity (another highly touted frosh whom Majerus boasts of having very advanced passing skills.)
4- B. Conklin (pacific northwest product originally commited to Gonzaga as a junior. could overcome Eberhart in the starting 5.)
5- W. Reed (long, lean, athletic shotblocker has been listed as tall as 6-11 by some publications. he will lurk on the baseline and someone the A10 guards need to learn will block shots outside of his area.)

Outlook:
I picked the Billikens to finish this high because I feel they have one of the best backcourts in the A10 with seniors Lisch and Liddell. I also feel strongly that Majerus will be much better off his second go round in the A10 and the new arena gives them some juice to win some critical games. By all accounts Chaifetz should be what all A10 teams strive for in a homecourt facility (ehhm, LaSalle are you paying attention?). They are young but very talented. They could possibly play 11 deep but Majerus usually shrinks his rotation to about 7 or 8. I see this version of SLU as a solid NIT, outside NCAA possibility.

7th Place - Charlotte 49ers

Head Coach: Bobby Lutz
Record at Charlotte: 188-126 (10)

Home Court: Halton Arena (9,105)

Roster:
2 Charlie Coley Sr F 6-7 220
3 Dijuan Harris Jr G 5-9 170
5 Gaby Ngoundjo So F 6-7 240
11 Ian Anderson Jr G 6-4 180
15 Lamont Mack Sr F 6-7 230
21 An'Juan Wilderness So F 6-6 215
22 Rashad Coleman Jr G 6-6 195
30 Phil Jones Jr C 6-10 270
31 Charles Dewhurst So G 6-5 185
00 Javarris Barnett So G 6-5 200

First 5:
1- D. Harris (he led the A10 with 2.67 assist to turnover ratio last year. solid guard will find himself on the floor even more with Gerrity exiting the program.)
2- R. Coleman (versatile wing started his career at NAIA Brewton-Parker but has grown five inches since high school. Lutz feels he combines great shooting and athleticism better than any player he has ever had.)
3- A. Wilderness (he earned all rookie honors last season and can be a consistent double figure scorer for the 49er's.)
4- C. Coley (ultra athletic juco transfer hit the ground running last season. he is a solid rebounder that Lutz is hoping for even greater numbers this year.)
5- L. Mack (another juco who paid off last season for Lutz. He was the second leading scorer on the team last season and once again will be counted on to produce double figures.)

1- C. Dewhurst (designated shooter type who didn't shoot exceedingly well his freshman season, still capable of producing in big games. You could see Kyle Church a junior walkon get spot minutes backing up Harris as well.)
2- I. Anderson (he is potentially one of the top shooters in the conference. he loves to dial it up from the outside. will be a nice option off the bench for Lutz and co.)
3- J. Barnett (he is a jack of all trades types who has grown into a four man type body but with solid perimeter skills.)
4- G. Ngoundjo (he blocked 6 shots in a game last season at Halton Arena setting a record for the venue. if he can rebound and show some more offensively he could play a good deal.)
5- P. Jones (he has been an enigma quite frankly to this point. part of the problem is the style the 49er's play is not conducive to Jones. meaning and end to end game is not where the big fella is going to excel. he still has loads of potential but must shoot better than 33% (!) from the floor.

Outlook:
The 49er's were dealt a blow when talented point guard Mike Gerrity informed them he would not be playing this year in the fall. It gave Lutz and staff no way to sign another lead guard. They better hope and pray Dijuan Harris stays healthy. He is very solid but asking him to play 35 minutes a night is a huge load. Another blow to Charlotte was losing 6-3 frosh Shamarr Bowden to injury for the season. What is left is a very athletic, talented bunch that the 49er faithful are hoping can return to the NCAA. I don't see that happening and the A10 has not been as kind to this program as C-USA was. However this team will present challenges to their opponents night in and night out because they have long range bombers and gazelles who love to run and flush.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Yancy Gates is good but......

Last week CBS Sportslines college basketball page put out a list of this seasons top 10 impact freshman. Yancy Gates was not on it. He was however in the section of the list titled "the next ten". I bring this up not to pat Yancy on the back but to make a few points. 

First, even though the article points out that this years crop is not as talented as the last two(how could it be?) half or more of the guys on this list are 1 and done. Off to the land of the overpaid. Its just how it works these days. 

Second, five of the twenty guys mentioned are Big East guys. While I'm not saying we should temper our expectations as Bearcat fans, I am saying that EVERY team in the Big Beast is reloaded. One stud recruit isnt bumping the Cats into the top 5 of this league. 

Lastly, as a Bearcat fan I like getting a guy who is highly rated but not so much that he'll be wearing pro gear next season. Thats not to say he wont come out and dominate the Conference from day 1. I just hope he'll be around a while.

heres a link the the CBS article.
http://www.sportsline.com/collegebasketball/story/11065256

Debut of Inside Bearcats Basketball on FOXSports Net



http://gobearcats.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/110708aaa.html

Saturday, November 8, 2008

8th Place - Rhode Island Rams

Head Coach: Jim Baron
Record at URI: 108-107 (7)

Homecourt: Ryan Center (7,657)

Roster:
1 Stevie Mejia Fr G 5-9 175
2 Ben Eaves Jr F 6-7 225
4 Jamal Wilson Fr G 6-5 195
5 Marquis Jones So G 5-11 200
12 Orion Outerbridge Fr F 6-9 210
15 Lamonte Ulmer Jr F 6-6 215
20 Jimmy Baron Sr G 6-3 195
21 Delroy James Jr F 6-8 220
22 Keith Cothran Jr G 6-4 195
32 Will Martell So C 7-0 245
33 Kahiem Seawright Sr F 6-8 235
54 Jason Francis Sr F 6-9 280

First 5:
1- M. Jones (he will be sharing minutes with freshman Mejia but gets the nod in the early season to start. he just needs to set up Baron and Cothran and play solid defense.)
2- J. Baron (he is back for his final go round and I will be happy to see him leave. he is one of the best three point shooters in the nation capable of scoring in bunches. his dad would like to see continious improvement in his defense and ball handling. deepest range in the A10.)
3- K. Cothran (he has a solid reputation as a defender and I look for him to double his 7 ppg average from last season. solid player overall who thrives at attacking the rack.)
4- D. James (he will have a chance to replace Will Daniels scoring load for the Rams this season. i think he is up to the challenge and is more of a combo forward. the brother of departed Duquesne center Shawn has potential to be a key contributor.)
5- K. Seawright (is the A10's best returning rebounder. he is capable of double digits if he could get some help down low. i like his overall game and i feel he is vastly underrated.)

Second 5:
1- S. Mejia (smallish guard had several scoring outbursts in prep school last season. has a chance to see significant court time in his first season.)
2- J. Wilson (freshman will provide depth in the backcourt. has good scoring potential.)
3- B. Eaves (UCONN transfer is reportedly a good shooter. this England native has good athletic ability and will help Baron play his preferred style of pushing and attacking.)
4- O. Outerbridge (Rhody's most touted recruit received looks from ACC schools before deciding on the Rams. his development and ability to contribute could go along way to moving his team up the rankings.)
5- W. Martell (improving big man has some shot blocking skills. has a chance to see good time when Baron moves james to the the wing.)

Outlook:
URI had a very similar collapse last season as the Flyers. But for different reasons. A few close losses sapped their confidence and they didn't recover. Still they were rated as high as #22 in the AP last year and Baron is a very solid coach. I would look for steady improvement throughout the year from this edition of the Rams. Baron Jr. is a great scoring option. Teams must account for him at all times. I also love what Seawright does on the inside for them. The key is the development of James and point guard play. Jones and Mejia must be solid for them to do much come March.

9th Place - Dayton Flyers

Head Coach: Brian Gregory
Record at UD: 98-60 (6)

Home Court: UD Arena (13,409)

Roster:

0 Mickey Perry Jr G 6-2 197
1 London Warren Jr G 6-0 185
3 Rob Lowery Jr G 6-2 165
4 Chris Johnson Fr G/F 6-5 176
11 Stephen Thomas So G 6-1 170
15 Charles Little Sr F 6-6 247
22 Paul Williams Fr G 6-4 213
23 Luke Fabrizius Fr F 6-9 205
32 Marcus Johnson Jr G 6-3 196
33 Chris Wright So F 6-8 226
34 Devin Searcy So C 6-10 220
41 Kurt Huelsman Jr C 6-10 245
44 Josh Benson Fr F 6-9 205

First 5:
1- L. Warren (The 'Jacksonville Jet' is a superb defender who really likes to push the ball in transition. He needs improvement on his outside shooting so teams don't pack it in on Flyer big men.)
2- M. Johnson (this versital wing was second on the team last season in rebounding and blocked shots. look for him to improve his double figure scoring from last year and make a very nice 1-2 punch with Wright.)
3- C. Wright (won the A-10 ROY award and only played in one league game due to breaking his ankle. he is who the Flyer Fans look to lead this team and he has all the athleticism and tools to do it.)
4- C. Little (he is a bull of a man also blessed with a hell of a vertical jump. he is plagued by inconsistency at times but look for him to have a solid senior season.)
5- K. Huelsman (i have read the big man has shed some weight to get lighter on his feet. he has experience on his side starting every game in his first two seasons. he is fundamentally sound.)

Second 5:
1- R. Lowery (the juco recruit was brought in to push Warren for the starting job. if he can defend and shoot the trey he may be starting by the time A10 play rolls around.)
2- M. Perry (i look for this to be the season he lives up to his reputation as an outside shooter. the Flyers need him to deliver on that promise.)
3- P. Williams (this guy is a scorer with a great skill set. he came to UD looking for immediate playing time and he will get it.)
4- L. Fabrizius (he was recruited by several big 10 and pac 10 schools due to his ability to create mismatches with his long range shooting acumen. needs to add weight so he doesn't wear down in February and March.)
5- D. Searcy (big man has added some more weight and will need to contribute behind Huelsman for the Flyers to realize post season hopes.)
* (C. Johnson and S. Thomas could easily be in the second 5. I believe Johnson has the ability to make an impact this season depending on who wants to play defense for BG.)

Outlook:
Any time you have two potential all conference players in your starting lineup you have a shot night in and night out. Then why did I pick them 9th overall? First off I think the A10 is going to be ultra competetive this season. 6th - 11th are all easily interchanged in my mind. But more importantly the Flyers have too many questions at point guard. Lowery was successful at the D2 level in JUCO ball and was a second choice to the Flyers behind Jeremie Simmons who signed with the Buckeyes. Warren is a good change of pace guy to give a spark for 8-12 minutes a night ideally. Also Josh Benson is taking a redshirt season most likely after injuring his shoulder which required surgery. That was a tough blow but Gregory should have the depth to overcome that most nights. Speaking of Gregory he needs to take the next step this season to satisfy the rabid Flyer faithful. They have the best home court advantage in the conference but they also have NCAA expectations each and every season. The non conference schedule is not quite as challenging as last season but it should give this team confidence come A10 time.