Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Little Respect Please

How many teams do the Bearcats have to beat before they start getting some respect. The fans here in Cincinnati are getting tired of hearing how (insert Big East team here) suffered a bad loss to UC.

So far this conference season all they've done is win against practically every big name coach and big time program that has stepped in the gym with them. The ones they lost to barely escaped with the W.

I'll have more on this later but I just had to get that off my chest.


Things Can Change

Things can change and how quickly they do sometimes. One short month ago many were passing off our Kansas State victory as nothing special other than the complete shut down of Michael Beasley. BTW- Jason Love owns Michael Beasley! And now 30 days later they have won 10 out of 11 games with an absolute huge win last night over in state rival Jayhawks. People KU owned the Wildcats on a level that is hard to understand. Before last night KU had won the previous 19 played in Manhattan. Imagine UD beating X 19 straight times in Cincinnati, or Louisville winning for that many years in a row at the Shoe. It is just mind boggling. Hard to even call it a 'rivalry'. Well guess what: none of that matters this morning. KU's undefeated season is ruined and the Wildcats are moving up the rankings. And I appreciate all their hard work and take back some of the bad things I have said about Frank Martin in the past. It is amazing what winning will do for perspective. Talk to a UC fan today? They are seeing the sun shine again. Talk to them last week, not so much. We lose to Lasalle this weekend and the sky will be falling over on Victory Parkway. Keep working and you never know what could happen.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Beginning of a Rivalry? UC - WVU preview

I spent the last couple days trying to come up with a good way to approach the Huggs vs. UC angle of the game tonight. I've seen what everyone else is saying and wanted to come at it differently. The Huggins Part of this is important Im not disputing that. What I am saying is that it is only one piece of what will make this game the beginning of a big time rivalry for years to come.

First the easy ones.

West Virginia is a neighboring state. If you've ever taken route 32 east across Ohio you know that there is nothing but small towns between Cincinnati and the State line. They are in the same conference. I know, I know thats kind of a lame one but what better way to start a rivalry than being forced to play each other every year.

Now on to Mick.

There is no shortage of Mountaineer fans who have a genuine dislike of Mick Cronin. Last years loss to UC might have kept them out of the Tournament. Micks Antics during that game had to be the most(read only) memorable moments of the conference season. Who can forget his jumping, cussing, and running on to the court as time expired. And that was AFTER he'd been T'd up earlier in the game.

The Recruiting trail.

Its no secret that both coaches like the same type of players. Tough Defensive minded guys who play HARD. Its also no secret that Bob likes to recruit in the same places he did while at UC. If he can get guys from Cincy to follow him to Kansas St. He can get them to Morgantown. Mick hangs his hat on recruiting though and was the man behind some of the best players at UC during Huggins tenure. It will b interesting to see how many guys end up with both schools on their short list.

And Finally the Huggins connection.

Bob Huggins didn't exactly leave town on a parade float. Though he wont admit it I would guess that he cant wait to stick it to the powers that be at UC namely Nancy Zimpher. And lets not forget that when Mick left to go work for Rick Pitino, Huggins took it personally and they weren't speaking for a long time.

There you have it folks. My take on what should be a great rivalry for years to come. Oh yeah I almost forgot. Tonight I think the Mountaineers will win it in a close game. The Road is a tough place to play in the Big East.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Looking Ahead

Since the Musketeers are off until Saturday I thought it might be nice to peer ahead a bit. Lasalle is coming to town and we surely cannot afford a slip up there. To be frank I think a loss is not going to happen but if it did we wouldn't stumble to 'bubbleville' like many would like to believe. At times it is hard being a Musketeer fan in this town. (I said it and I am not taking it back). This year alone I have heard the 'haters' try and point out were mid major (Forbes Magazine and Mike Bobinski laid that argument to rest quite nicely), people questioned the team's toughness (19th overall in rebounding margin out of 341 teams which is a toughness stat if there ever was one), and they like to think we are not capable of beating quality teams if our 3's aren't dropping (see UMASS as exhibit #1). The accolades are coming from far and wide and we had the highest jump in the AP polls this week. The Sporting News is doing a piece on Stan's defense, ESPN will have Lavender on tomorrow afternoon taking questions, and it is just a love fest right now and deservedly so. All of this is nice but doesn't mean much if we don't win Saturday. Lasalle will be looking for a 'highlight' to their rather disappointing season. The worst loss in my years of being a Xavier fan was the absolute shellacking Skip Prosser and company endured in the late '90's to the Explorers. We were ran out of the Gardens that night. I am not one to say the league needs to kick out teams but if there was one program that should self evaluate and see if the A10 is the absolute 'best fit' is Lasalle. I struggle to think of any of their athletic programs that are successful in conference play. Their facilities are 'tired' for a lack of a better term and from a marketability standpoint being the third team from Philly in the league with only a NCAA title to tout from the early '50's doesn't give them or the league much 'stroke'. I recommend the Horizon League whose teams are featured in larger midwestern cities as a good alternative for the Explorers or the MAAC. Then the faithful to the program would have hope of an NCAA berth and an extended March, but let me get off the soap box now.

After that it's tons of fun going on the road to play Rick Majerus and the St. Louis Billikens who have been a particular thorn in our side since they joined the league. After reading about Rick's penchant for hanging out in the buff on road trips and having the players up to his room to talk strategy while he is doing so is creating alot of disturbing questions for me right now. I used to love Rick and his affable ways but gosh I hope those are just rumors. What is not a rumor is they are opening a beautiful on campus arena next year that should help them. Playing in the 20,000 seat Scottrade Center with about 5,000 faithful creates a cavern effect. We are like institutions and I know they like the rivalry between UD and X but I think the Missouri Valley would be a better fit for their program. Can they really afford to send the women's tennis team to such destinations as UMASS and George Washington year after year? Like us I think they are waiting for the much anticipated conference shakeup in a few years when the Big East revisits how football revenue is shared but there are no certainties there either. Liddell and Lisch preseason were one of my best backcourts in the A10 (no doubt I am a little partial to Danger Mouse and Hammer) and they have been disappointing thus far as they adjust to their new coach. They were absolutely embarrassed at GW and would love to get some pride back with our scalp next Wednesday. Even though this is a road game I think the team continues to put it's road woes behind them. This will be a very close game throughout but one we should win.

Oh yeah some guy named Huggins is coaching against UC Wednesday night. Anybody ever hear of him?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Daves "Reasons for the loss" post- edition 1

Reason#1 Boneheaded freshman mistakes. At what point will they start playing like they know whats going on?

Reason#2. Not playing defense. What the hell was that crap on the inbounds pass by Setan Hall at the end of the game? newsflash!!! you have to foul quickly or the clock keeps running.

Reason#3. Adam H. The guy is just soft. I don't know how many times he has missed a two footer this year just because he can't/won't take it up strong. I am tired of hearing about his "soft touch". He's soft period.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Memo to the A10

Memo to the rest of the teams in the A10 (14): DADDY'S HOME! What a win, possibly our biggest of the season to date. UMASS is the only team in the country to have two players average over 20 points per contest. Not today for Forbes or Harris. 'Danger Mouse' Drew Lavender finished with 19 points and 8 boards and Duncan stepped up big in the closing moments of the game when X let the lead slip to only five.

With the next game not being until Saturday at 7:00 against Lasalle the Muskies can rest up, hit the books, and watch all the other A10 action take place Wednesday night and enjoy a half game lead over St Joseph's and Charlotte. We should also enjoy some northward movement in the top 25 polls. Good week to be a Muskie fan.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

ROH Action

Ring of Honor never fails to disappoint when they visit southern Ohio. I love the grit and the effort of their entire roster. The main event between Chris Hero and Nigel McGuinnes for the ROH World Title in a steel cage was entertaining but probably only the third best match of the evening. Sweet and Sour Incorporated are so 'over' it is almost amazing. Chants of 'Bobby Dempsey' during the heat of the Hero/McGuiness battle was amusing. It prompted Hero to shout back to the crowd "pay attention to me!" In the end Dempsey cost Hero the match by slamming the cage door on his head when the fat one thought he was getting McGuiness.

The tease of the evening was the new Age of the Fall member. It is none other than Joey Mercury who is actually returning to ROH. He was a competitor on their early cards. He and Roderick Strong could pass as brothers and they squared off in a tag team match. It was Jimmy Jacobs and Mercury against Strong and Rocky Romero (No Remorse Corps). The crowd was brutal on Mercury. 'Where's the ladder' was a frequent refrain in our section. He gave an impassioned plea about his past 'demons' which prompted shouts of 'Call his dealer'. You have to love the crowd interaction some times and the connection between the fans is so much greater than anything WWE could hope to accomplish. The match disappointed with Jacobs tapping out like the bitch he is.

Tyler Black followed that match with the second best tussle of the night with the 'American Dragon' Bryan Danielson. The Dragon's performance was so-so, it was Black who made the match. He really showed me something and the crowd was really into him. There were so many near falls that brought the crowd to the edge of their seat. Black fought out of so many of Danielson's finish submission holds you started to think it was going to go his way. The respect the crowd has for Danielson is undeniable though as his hand was raised in victory. "Best in the world, best in the world" were chanted for him as he made his way back to the locker room area after the hard fought victory over Black.

For my money the best match was the NO DQ free for all between The Hangman Three team of Brent Albright and BJ Whitmer against Delirious and El Generico. The action was hot and heavy all over the Montgomery County Fairgrounds with leather belts belonging to crowd members being liberally used. Albright's back had a very noticeable gash from the belt straps. Tables were used, barricades broken down, and it was pure mayhem. Delirious used the black mouth spray trick all over the Hangman Three wannabe Shane Hagadorn. It ended with Albright and Whitmer getting the hard fought victory.

ROH returns June 25th to Dayton and I will be in attendance once again. You should visit their website at for more info.

Returning home late last night I tuned into Espn Classic and they have been showing old UWF matches circa late '80's. I saw David Sammartino versus Cactus Jack last night as well as 'Dr. Death' Steve Williams against 'Mr. Wonderful' Paul Orndorf. I also saw Billy Jack Haynes, The Blackhearts with Luna Vachon, and many others. It is definetly worth a look see just to hear Bruno Sammartino on the announcing side of things and the Captain Lou Albano interview segments. Wow! He had 'Cowboy' Bob Orton on last night and it was as entertaining as anything else I have seen on the wrestling side of things lately. Check the listings but next week they are due to have Nikita and Ivan Koloff in tag team action. Certainly worth programming in your DVR if your a fan of the old school.

Friday, January 25, 2008

That was nice

I tip my hat to all the UD fans who showed up for the game last night. They made a little noise at the start and that was about it. I didn't even drop my 'enjoy the ride up 75' line because it wasn't really that much fun this year. They (Flyer Faithful) looked like the hoos in hooville on Christmas morning after the grinch stole everything from them.

I am absolutely estatic that we beat a top 20 team by such a large margin but now our focus must turn to UMASS. They have two league losses (both to St. Joes) and they have a top 25 RPI. To get this one on the road would start to seperate us from the pack in the A10. Gary Forbes averages about a shot per minute played and they really like to go end to end. It should be an exciting one.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Depressed and physically ill

I cant remember the last time I was this upset after a loss. I could literally taste the stomach acid rising up my throat. You can't lose that way. You just can't. Argh. I cant even write anything else about it right now.

Hey Kenny Belton

I found this on
It took me thirty seconds
Maybe you should read it

Free throws are crucial to a team's success. Making these unguarded shots 15 feet from the hoop separates the winners from the losers.
Difficulty: Easy
Things You'll Need
Step One
Balance yourself at the free throw line. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and parallel to one another.
Step Two
Point both feet and square your upper body toward the basket. Position your feet just behind the line; move one of your feet back an inch or two, if that's comfortable.
Step Three
Hold the ball by using the hand of your nonshooting arm to support and cradle it lightly. Place the middle three fingers of your shooting hand on the seams of the ball, with your thumb and palm acting as supports.
Step Four
Keep your shooting forearm straight, and avoid tilting it to one side. Try to keep the arm that will be releasing the ball oriented toward the basket.
Step Five
Aim for a target just above the rim, and try not to shoot the ball short. A good target is the backboard shooting square drawn above the rim.
Step Six
Bend your knees. An accurate shot doesn't rely on arm strength; it uses leg strength to propel the shooter upward.
Step Seven
Shoot in one fluid motion, straightening your knees to strengthen the shot and your arm to provide aim. Release the ball with your fingertips. This allows you more control over your shot and a softer arc because of the backspin you create.
Step Eight
Follow through by bending your shooting hand forward, as though you're reaching for the rim.
Tips & Warnings
Practice, practice, practice.
Being comfortable with your shot can make a big difference. If you find a motion that helps, such as adding a little hop while shooting, use it.
Take your time at the line. Most players bounce the ball or spin it in their hands before setting up their free throws.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

X vs UD preview

The 19th rated Flyers will be visiting the Queen City Thursday night in search of a victory over the Muskies. UD last beat us in this town in 1981 at Riverfront Coliseum. Alot has happened since 1981 in the world including cloning. Coach Brian Gregory probably wishes he could clone his two athletic frontcourt players (Chris Wright and Charles Little) for this one. Without those two UD will be depleted across the front. They have been with out 'Flight' Wright for a few games but this will be the first time they tee it up without Little. He was essentially their sixth man, second leading rebounder, and fourth leading scorer. The dude dropped 35 on us last year at UD Arena. I won't be missing him much. Brian Roberts has been bringing the ball up the floor for them with Andres Sandoval, Marcus Johnson, Jimmy Binnie and Kurt Huelsman starting alongside him. Instead of a ten man rotation they are essentially down to 8 with Thiago Corderio, Mickey Perry, and London Warren garnering the most minutes off the bench. Stephen Thomas (freshman point guard) and Devin Searcy (freshman post-40 minutes all season) are getting spot action. UD will need to play zone to slow the game down for any chance of victory. They will need to protect Huelsman from foul trouble. And they will want to spread the floor and hope somebody besides Roberts and Johnson can shoulder the scoring load. If Binnie and Wisconsin transfer Mickey Perry can get hot from the perimeter they will be in good shape. It is important to note that UD struggled on the road at St. Louis with the Billikens coming off their blistering 20 point performance against GW and lost uncharacteristically against UMASS at home by 11. They were 4-25 from three land in the friendly confines of the Arena against the Minutemen who are not that great defensively so I am hoping the 8 day layoff will lend itself to a slow start at the Cintas Center. IF they can get hot behind the three point stripe they can keep it close. Also worth noting is the Flyers gave up 70 points or more in each of their contests (3 losses) against the Muskies last year and we have improved offensively with Anderson replacing Cage and Love essentially filling Brandon Cole's spot. They like to think that Lavender will be at a disadvantage with the height they have on the perimeter but we have heard this before. I would ask the Flyer faithful who defends Drew at the other end? Sandoval is too heavy legged, Johnson will be needed to guard one of our athletic wings or forwards and do you really want BRob expending all that energy on that end of the floor? Sandoval splits equal time with Warren so I see this advantage XU.

For the twenty second ranked Muskies to win this game they need to pound the ball inside early and often and generate foul trouble for Huelsman. I think Burrell will guard Roberts man up with a mission to prove something to the Flyer faithful. Sean and staff have done a good job limiting teams first options (Beasley -KState, Gordon - Indiana, Lofton-Tennessee) and I don't think this game will be any different. Unlike the Volunteers I don't think the Flyers have as many gifted options to turn to so we should control the game defensively. I say 'should' control it. Roberts is the most gifted player in the A10 with all America credentials. He is more than capable of dumping 40 or more on us and if he does I will tip my cap to him. That still wouldn't be enough. The Flyers very best chance for victory is if we come out flat like Arizona State or Temple, not likely given the usual intensity for this one.

Bottom line I don't see the Flyers having an answer for Brown and Anderson all night. The team and staff realize we have a golden opportunity to notch a big time win over a quality opponent on our floor. To add to that motivation is only one of the best basketball rivalries in the country and all the recruiting tie ins. Personally I look for Jackson and or Graves to have a huge game Thursday (possible career highs) because of the abuse the UD faithful has lumped their way after the guys chose X.

What excites me the most is knowing that as well as our RPI looked in the nonconference we still have our four biggest RPI games left with three of those being on the road. If I would have told you that at the beginning of the season you would said I was certifiable. The IU win is looking better and better as the season progresses (we are their only loss and they are #27 in the RPI) and we have plenty of other quality wins to point to. We need to hold our own at home in the conference season (cannot afford more than one loss) and go .500 on the road. 10-6 in the A10 this year with our reputation and body of work thus far means we are going to be okay Selection Sunday. Personally I think 12-4 is needed to win the conference but there is alot to be determined on that front.

One last note: UD fans and their message boards are cute with the clip art and comments about our players. I think for the most part the X contingent has matured and do not see the need to bash at such a level. Maybe it's because of our recent dominance (14 out of the last 17) or the fact that it grows old and tired. Sure we call their coach 'mini me' from time to time but some of the posts on are borderline at best, racist at worst. I know there will be plenty of red in the 'Tas Thursday and most will be respectful but I love locking their eyes as the clock winds down at the end of the game and given them a satisfactory smile and the famous 'enjoy the trip back up 75' line. I know one year they are going to break the streak but I don't see it happening this year. Another telling sign in my mind is ESPN's pick for the game of the week is Xavier at UMASS because they feel that game will go further than the Thursday matchup of determining who the A10 winner is. I am not going to assign a score to this game but I know it will be closer than what it appears on paper. Safe bet is the streak continues for another year.

Qualifications of a Mid Major? How should I know?

I know what your thinking. Everybody and all of sports media have been talking about this issue since Xavier shunned the label calling it an insult to the program. Well I decided to wait and here what everyone had to say and then steal all the good stuff! I kid, I kid. Seriously though it has become quite the topic and with Dayton "pulling a Xavier" this week by also turning down inclusion in a piece about mid majors(let it be known that I think they did it just so they would seem as cool as X) in a national magazine this discussion is far from over.

I decided to come up with my own list of reasons your program is/is not/should be considered a mid major. So here you go in no particular order.

1. Your players tend to stick around for four years and actually earn(gasp!) degrees.

2. The national media reports on your team are so infrequent they have'nt bothered to learn the correct pronunciation(eggsavior)

3.The only way your team makes the NCAA tourney is to win its conference tourney.

4.Your big man is either 6"10 and moves like frankenstein or 6"7 and "plays big".

5. Your Point guard is said to have "a great future in coaching "or is always referred to as "scrappy". BTW guys hate it when you call them scrappy.

6. The only chance you have of getting on national tv is during Bracketbuster week.

7. The arena you play in is often called a "classic gym" or a "throwback". (memo to all schools unless you are Butler or play in the Palestra get a new gym.)

I wanted to come up with some more tangible reasons or qualifications but I kept running into problems like.

1. How is Xavier a mid major but South Florida is a major?
2. What does classification of football conferences(bcs) have to do with basketball?
3. What about Memphis and Gonzaga?
4. With the parity in recent years do we even need to label schools as mid or high major?

After much thought and research I decided that I am not really qualified to decide these qualifications. I also decided that neither is ESPN,Fox sports, CBS, or anyone else. It is simply a ridiculous term created to make it easier for the media to describe teams that rise above the usual place that the media has stuck them. Maybe instead of creating buzzwords they could spend some time researching the schools to find out just how they got so far.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bearcat report 1/22

first off sorry for the lack of posts on the Pitt game. I had my hands full with other stuff this weekend so Here is my take. WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOO!!!!! HELL YEAH!!!!!
I think that is all that needs to be said at this point so on to a few notes.

Everybody who was a worried(including me) last season and the beginning of this season can breath a little easier. Mick Cronin has shown that he can get it done on the sideline not just on the recruiting trail. The evidence is in the last 7 games. It appears that he has gotten the players to buy in to what he is preaching and it shows. John Williamson who Mick called out publicly earlier in the year is playing very well which is a wonderful surprise considering he all but disappeared last season in conference play. Vaughn has shown he can lead this team and takes games into his own hands at times. Some of the Freshman are developing nicely and are taking what Mick says like Gospel. This will all help when next years recruits are coming into a much more stable situation and can fall into roles much easier.

Here are a few numbers that might interest you.

Last season - overall record 11-9 conference record 2-14

So far this season - overall record 9-9 Just 2 shy of last years win total with 12 games left.
conference record 4-2 Double last years win total with 12 to go

The Cats last five wins were all against teams in the RPI top 50

5 of the Cats 9 losses are against teams in the RPI top 50 at the time.

And last but not least my favorite info for todays post.

USA Today Top 25 Poll - Others Receiving Votes Arizona State 61, Florida 56, West Virginia 42, Rhode Island 24, Gonzaga 14, USC 12, Baylor 11, Massachusetts 9, Kansas State 8, Louisville 7, San Diego State 7, Connecticut 5, Mississippi State 4, South Alabama 3, UNLV 3, Oregon 2, Miami (FL) 2, Arizona 2, Illinois State 2, Cincinnati 1, Houston 1.

AP Top 25 Poll - Others Receiving Votes Saint Mary's 144, Clemson 136, Kansas State 120, West Virginia 90, Florida 49, Massachusetts 47, Gonzaga 32, USC 26, Rhode Island 17, Miami (FL) 15, Louisville 7, Cincinnati 5, South Alabama 5, Oklahoma 4, New Mexico 3, Mississippi State 2, Akron 2, Cleveland State 1, Creighton 1, Maryland 1.

Who would have thought the Bearcats would be receiving votes for top 25 polls this year. Not me thats for sure. until next time, GO BEARCATS!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

2008 Recruiting Profiles (Bearcats)

I wanted to give equal time to the UC Bearcats on the recruiting front and share information from Prepstars about the 2008 class thus far. I also have my own insights on their three man class. They have at least two scholarships available at this time and I think Mick will look for another point guard and big man.

Yancy Gates (#27 overall)

6-9 240 C Cincinnati, Ohio/Withrow HS

"This inside horse had an inconsistent spring and early summer but possesses a great deal of promise. When he's playing hard (as he does most but not all the time), he uses his ample strength and good (not great) athleticism to drive the baseline, hang in the air and finish with either hand. He also has a smooth turnaround jump shot, and he uses the board wisely on angle jumpers. The few jump hooks (and occasional sky hook) we saw him try had good form but were off the mark. He bangs on the boards for putbacks, and his power moves versus weaker opponents often gain him free throw opportunities. On defense, he plays physically and is a very capable shot-blocker."

Cashmere Wright (#53 overall)

6-1 175 PG Savannah, GA/Urban Christian HS

"With his excellent athleticism, tight handle and dangerous jump shot to 21 feet, he's proven through the early summer that he can compete at the highest level of prep hoops. While he's certainly a scorer who can get his shot with excellent quickness off the dribble, he is also capable of slick dishes, especially on the break. What he must improve are his on-court decision making and his ability to set up and orcherstrate a halfcourt offense. We especially like the way he hawks the ball on defense (reaping lots of steals), jets in the open floor to acrobatic finishes and elevates easily over taller opponents for one footed slams. Committed to Clemson originally."

Nick Aldridge (Transfer)

6-7 240 PF South Webster, OH/South Webster HS-Western Carolina University

(His transfer was so recent I have no report from Prepstars on it.)

My take:

Gates: His rating has fallen a bit with Scout and Rivals but Prepstars continues to rate him very high. In my mind that means he is still a top 50 talent who happened to have a bad spring on the AAU circuit. I have seen him play several times including at the adidas 'It Takes 5ive' classic AAU tournament on UC's campus this summer where he played with Ohio State commit BJ Mullens among others. He is a first rate scorer and one of the best in the class at finishing around the basket. His desire is to play the '4' instead of the '5' at the next level to enhance his play for pay chances. He needs to keep his offense from the 3 point stripe and in and not get away from what makes him a superior talent which is horsing around the basket. 'Biggie' McClain and him will make a fordimable Big East front line if they continue to work hard.

Wright: I have not seen Cashmere play but from what I have read he is a high caliber point guard. I am not sure if Mick plans to hand him the ball from day one but Vaughn is the only other guy on the roster who would seem to fit a lead guard role. The state of Georgia is producing phenomenal players right now and for the '09 class so Mick did a fantastic job getting this commit.

Aldridge: I have seen him play numerous times. Including the '05 Division IV state title game while he was at South Webster. The Catamounts of Western Carolina also played Xavier in 2006 at the Cintas Center. I think this kid will have a bigger impact than most expect. Once he becomes eligible mid season next year I think he is the first front line sub for Gates and McClain. Yes I know about Mike Williams but I do not think he will ever produce at the D1 level due to the injury, rust, and having only one year to do it in. Aldridge has nice touch on his jumper, wide shoulders and ass that helps in the post, and a good IQ.

Mick has done nothing to disclaim his reputation for recruiting acumen with this class. He also has a solid verbal from '09 prospect Danny McElroy (top 200) in pocket. Again I think another point guard has to be a priority for depth. Personally I hope the rumors of him recruiting Bud Mackey are just that. From a PR perspective (unfortunatley for Mick) I don't think they can take any risks with players with felony charges hanging over their head. Unfortunately for Bud even if he is exonerated the stigma will still be there.

Taking Care of Business

The X men's victory over George Washington Saturday night wasn't pretty but they accomplished their goal. The remaining six A10 road games (at UMASS, St. Louis, Charlotte, Rhode Island, Dayton and St. Joes) present no guarantees. Conversely the home slate is more manageable with Dayton, Lasalle, St Joes, Duquesne, George Washington and Richmond visiting the 'Tas. IF we could manage a .500 record on the road and win all our home games that would give X a 12-4 record. My vein of thought is that we can take the Billikens, 49ers, and the Rams with an outside shot at the Flyers due to their injury issues. I do not see us getting it done at UMASS or at the crappiest D1 facility in the NCAA (Alumni Fieldhouse) on Hawk Hill.

Speaking of taking care of business some marquee scalps on X's nonconference resume increased the attractiveness of said resume with key top 25 victories yesterday. Kansas State owned #9 Texas A&M, Auburn took down #15 rated Ole Miss, and the Bearcats won over #18 Pitt. UC is now a quality win. Thanks Mick.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

ROH Show Dayton, Ohio 1/25

Wanted to give some love to Ring of Honor. Next Friday night at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds they return with a highlight steel cage World Title Match. Although I think the announced challenger (Chris Hero) is out due to injury I am sure they will find a worthy fill in. Yes I like wrestling. No I don't like WWE or TNA. If you have never seen Ring of Honor check out their website at trust me it is worth a visit if you long for honest 'sports entertainment' instead of the uninspired mind fuck Vince McMahon is putting out every week.

Bad News?

Charles Little broke his foot last Wednesday night in UD's game against UMASS. Coupled with the loss of 'Flight' Wright the Flyers will be without two athletic gifted frontline players for a period of four to six weeks. Boo hoo. This obviously increases our chances to gain a top 25 victory at home next Thursday night. But in a way you have to feel bad for them and Brian Roberts. They were having a terrific once in a decade type season and now they are forced to play lesser skilled and experienced players in their rotation. Mickey Perry coming along mid term as a transfer from Wisconsin has given them another perimeter bomber to go with BRob and Jimmy 'Joe Dirt' Binnie so the Flyers have plenty of firepower, not to mention the great play of Marcus Johnson. So I am not taking them lightly even though Lav owned London Warren in ALL THREE OF THE MUSKETEER VICTORIES LAST SEASON. The perimeter will not be the problem for the Flyers as I truly believe that Brian Roberts should be given serious All American team consideration. IF the Flyers can continue to win with out Little and Wright and he should be given a long look for the first team. But who shoulders the load with Huelsman on the inside? Thiago Corderio? Devin Searcy? If they could give solid defense and rebounding the UD faithful will be happy.

Here's the deal: I don't want to see the Flyers take a free for all to the bottom of the A10 standings. I don't think they will given the skill of Roberts and Coach Gregory. But it doesn't hurt my feelings to see them without two very key players with our matchup looming. We will do a position by position matchup on that one next week but I see the 'Jimmy Carter' streak safe for another year and with us having the possibility of taking FIVE IN A ROW. What do you think of that Swampy Meadows?

(Yes I know we have a very important road game against GW tonight; we will find a way to win.)

Friday, January 18, 2008

X - GW Preview

The Musketeers need to bounce back and get this one on the road. Coming off a loss to Fordham on the road earlier this week GW is 1-1 in conference play. Correction to an earlier post: Charlotte is atop the A10 with no losses through 2 games. They beat St. Joes Wednesday night. The league is really wide open with Rhode Island taking an "L" last night in St. Louis. Back to this game GW is without who they thought their PG would be this year, Travis King. Mo Rice is playing the point and he really is an undersized two guard. He has logged major minutes. They have a couple of ACC transfers in Cheyenne Moore (Clemson) and Wynton Witherspoon (Virginia Tech) who also play a great deal for them. Up front Coach Hobbs likes long, lean athletic players and they have several headed up by Rob Diggs. Most of these guys do not clip 200 pounds but all can run/jump with anybody in our league. The 20 point game against St. Louis to open conference play was more a reflection of the Billikens offense than the Colonial defense but we must not just settle for outside jumpers. Duncan, Love, and Anderson should be the focal point of our offense tonight and pound the ball inside against their skinny posts. Also Stan Burrell needs to start looking for his offense on occassion and quit passing up open shots. There were a couple of times against the Owls he should have shot and did not. Anyway I will not predict the score but I see the Muskies winning this one comfortably.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cherry Bombed

Ouch. That hurt. If I ever hear Brad Johansen say it's 'Christmas Time' again it will make me want to punch him and I like Brad. More warts exposed last night with the only real positives for me being that Love played well and Graves continues to improve. Oh and Dayton lost. By 11. At home. Seriously now all teams except St. Joes has a loss in conference play so all is not lost. GW up next and we need to finish .500 on the road and protect the home court and we will be fine. When we lay an egg boy do we lay an egg.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

2008 Recruit Profiles (Musketeers)

I wanted to post information I recently received from Prep Stars Recruiters Handbook. I have been a loyal subscriber to that publication for over 12 years now. I trust their information more than any others. They have a great capsule recap for all the major programs each issue and I WILL NOT share that information. I would encourage anybody to checkout their website for subscription information.


Kenny Frease (#46 overall)

6-11 270 C Massillon, Ohio/Perry HS

"While he's just an ok athlete and neither a leaper nor especially quick, he's very big and potentially quite strong, and he has improved his skills considerably over the past year. He must continue to hone his post moves (which aren't bad), stop forcing ill advised passes, and become more of a defensive force, though his shot blocking timing is ok now. On the positive side, he hit's smooth open jump shots from mid range and even three point territory, uses his height and relatively wide body to rebound adequately, has a promising jump hook and does a good job of catching difficult passes."

Brian Walsh (#82 overall)

6-4 180 WG/PG Moon Township, PA/Moon Area HS

"He's unselfish, intelligent, and very smooth and accurate jump shooter to 22 feet. That said, he needs more strength and is neither explosive with the ball nor an outstanding leaper. His athelticism is just moderate. He does, however, boast some other assets: he can put the ball on the floor and dish alertly or finish, his defense is at least adequate, and he's proven to be reliable in the clutch. His sweet jump shot is his primary weapon and must be respected at all times."

Mark 'Cheeky' Lyons (Top 300)

6-1 175 PG/WG Schnecteday, NY/Brewster Academy (NH)

"Blessed with outrageous athleticism overall and particularly as it pertains to his leaping ability, this little dynamo is among the most exciting guards in the senior class. He elevates spectacularly for slams, tips, blocks, you name it, and he also boasts very deceptive dribbling skills. Unfortunately, too much of the time now he gets out of contol and makes poor decisions, which means that in the immediate future he projects as a wing guard despite his stature. Players fitting this description typically require a year or two of college before their coaches grow to trust them well enough to play extensively, and that likely will be the case here as well. That said, Lyons physical promise is grand, and he may be too valuable as a pesky defender to keep off the court."

Brad Redford (Top 400)

6-0 160 PG Frankenmuth, MI/Frankenmuth HS

"Every team has a spot for a category killer, and Redford's is fantastic three point shooting. This slender guard is a dead-eye three point marksman who also runs the point intelligently, if not with great speed. Our concern is that he may lack the quickness to become a penetrator or be an effective defender against big time athletes. In the worst case, however, he should develop into a valuable zone buster."

Jamel McClean (Transfer)

6-8 230 PF Hampton, VA/Bethel HS-Tulsa University

"Spent just one season with the Golden Hurricane, averaging six points and five rebounds per game and leading the team in blocked shots. The Tulsa coaching staff was suprised and disappointed that he chose to leave."

Andy Taylor (Transfer)

6-7 205 PF Toledo, OH/St. John's Jesuit HS-Hillsdale College (MI)

"From the perspective of an XU fan, this was the bigger surprise transfer. He averaged 12 points and five rebounds a game as a freshman."


Frease: I had the opportunity to see him play briefly at the elite team camp Coach Miller held back in May of last year. I have no issues with the comparisons to Bill Laimbeer. This is XU's first true 'big' man and it is obvious Miller is going to build a team around him. That said I am afraid the expectations for Kenny are so high he will never meet them. I hope I am wrong but I want to give this kid one full year of college action before criticising too harshly. All the sites (what are there now 20 or more) have him in the top 50.

Walsh: He flat out chose us over Maryland which is a credit to Sean and staff. My overall thoughts when reviewing this class are 'WE ARE GOING TO MISS JOHNNY WOLF NEXT YEAR' because we will not have any experience at the lead guard. Brian is more of a '2' but is capable of playing some '1'. I do not see him getting much time at off guard to start his career at X with Raymond, Graves, and Jackson all in front of him. His shooting may get him on the floor but his defense will determine how long he plays. Prep Stars rates him the highest of all sites I have seen but he is consistent top 250.

Lyons: He may have the biggest impact out of all the newcomers next season. It is hard not to get excited watching his YouTube clips and reading the reports. However Coach Miller is tough on his lead guards and I hope 'Cheeky' has some thick skin. We are going to suffer some growing pains with him but I believe this is who Sean envisions running the team next season. His defense and athleticism will dictate he gets the lion's share of minutes to start the season at point IMO. Rivals feels he is a top 150 player.

Redford: I usually have a favorite with each class and 'Opie' gets my vote this season. I absolutely love the way he shoots the basketball. Again the only concern is his defense. I think Sean will use him in rotation if he can guard with Lyons very heavy next season. It is easy to see that Sean is surrounding Mr. Frease with shooters so opposing defenses can't collapse on him without paying the price. Overall it appears Sean and staff make great shooters a high priority in recruiting. All that hard work you do on offense to get open doesn't mean much if you can't make the shot.

McClean: He is on par with DBrown athletically and will be a great addition to our front line next year. Coach Wojick at Tulsa was really looking forward to him being a big part of their rotation this year. His redshirt year will benefit him and he should be in a regular in our rotation.

Taylor: I think he has actually grown to 6'8" and has put on some pounds. Before the UVA game I saw him working out with Doellman and it is obvious this is what Miller has as a template for him. He has a nice touch, but may be a tad slow of foot to guard the wings in the A10. He could suprise by his senior year if he continues to develop but with all the talent we have a guy who knows his role is needed.

Overall a solid class with depth. Not much athleticism outside of McClean and Lyons but we will have plenty of that with Brown, Raymond, Jackson, and Graves next year. Add Anderson to this mix and our real questions will be out front next season. Miller will find a way and if he can hit a few home runs with the '09 class (he is getting close) we will be in fine shape.

I plan on recapping UC, UD, IU, UK and Miami in the near future.

Build me up Bearcat baby just to let me down

Arrrggghh! Did anyone else feel like they watched two different games last night? In the first half the Bearcats dominated the fighting Irish like they were the white flag waiving French. Gentry was hitting three's. Williamson was dominating inside on both ends and Kenny Belton(who?) actually played very well. The only problem was that they missed some open shots and missed on some second chance opportunities. They still went into the locker room up seven.

Halftime in the Notre Dame locker room.(this is not a reenactment. it is just what I think must have happened.)
Coach Brey-"What the hell is going on out there? We Are the fighting IRISH. That means we kick asses! Hey towel boy go get the secret Irish weapon. "(towel boy runs out. Coach Brey paces back and forth until a minute later when towel boy reenters with a cart full of pints of Guiness!)

Coach Brey- "OK boys Drink up! Coach Weiss refused this ND tradition and look what happened to his boys. They stunk to high hell didn't they! Now, lets go out there and kick some ass!"(everybody drinks up except for a confused Kyle McAlarney who still doesn't understand how smokin a doober is worse than this.)

Notre Dame comes out shooting lights out. John williamson gets hurt four minutes in and then things get ugly. Luke Harangody starts using every player the Bearcats throw at him. With Williamson out noone else seems able to even slow him down. The Bearcats cant make shots especially Vaughn. When He is off the whole team seems to follow. Before you know it the game is over and Notre Dame wins handily. How did this Happen?

Im not calling conspiracy here(ok I am) because winning road games is hard especially in conference but....
The Bearcats shot 11 freethrows.
Notre Dame shot 42 free throws.
Sound like a fairly called game to you?

XU -v- Temple

Xavier returns to the city of brotherly love to take on an underachieving Temple squad. The Owls at 6-8 overall are still adjusting to Fran Dunphy and have a few nice pieces in place. Dionte Christmas and Mark Tyndale are two very talented wings who can fill it up. Also keep an eye on Lavoy Allen (freshman post) for the Owls. At #20 in the nation XU must realize they are a 'highlight' on the Owls schedule and will have the proverbial 'X' on their back. We have not had much success at the Liacouras Center over the last couple of seasons and it is hard to imagine the crowd will provide much energy tonight. I don't expect much of a crowd anyway (there seem to be very few die hard Temple fans outside of Bill Cosby) and the Muskies must guard against peeking ahead to next Thursday's matchup with UD. I think Lavender steps up big in this one (Luis Guzman is a going to be a good point guard in the A10 but he is still young) and Burrell is due to have a big offensive game soon. My prediction: X - 71 Owls- 66

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

UC @ Notre Dame preview

OK, now that I got that out of the way....

Here is what you need to know about tonights game. The Irish have won 30 in a row at home. The Bearcats Are 3-15 on the road since joining the Big East. Now I'm not saying a win is impossible but getting struck by lightning isn't impossible either.

If UC has any chance to win this game they will have to continuing to play stingy defense and rebound the offensive glass like they did in the last two games. Notre Dame likes to shoot the three and so far in conference UC has held opponents to .260 from behind the arc.
Deonte Vaughn(reigning Big East PLayer of the week Hell Yeah!) should continue to produce and if the Nova game wasn't a fluke Alvin Mitchell and Biggie Mcllain might be just what the Cats need to hang around in this one.
UC @ Notre Dame tonight @ 7:00pm on ESPN 2