Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday Morning Musings

Now that I have had a few days to soak everything in I wanted to put up some thoughts:

- Jarrid Famous has developed into a possible 'Plan B' option for Xavier on the recruiting front. Who is Famous? He is a 6-11 235 JUCO who just finished his season at Westchester Community College in New York. He posted impressive numbers at 24 PPG and 12 RPG. He visited Seton Hall in the fall, and he has recently made visits to South Florida and Missouri. In Adam Zagoria's blog (great resource of information for me) Jarrid is quoting that he is waiting to hear back from XU on lining up a visit. Originally from Bronx, NY and Blessed Sacrament HS he signed with Hartford after his prep playing days were over.

- 'Plan A' on the recruiting front remains Kyryl. IMG Academy website has him listed to visit Arizona State soon. He has already visited X, Ohio University, and Pittsburgh. The OU fans seem to think Pitt is out of scholarships for 09-10 unless DeJuan Blair declares for the NBA draft. The IMG site quoted his coach there saying his last visit is most likely to Miami-FL. As the 64th best prospect according to Rivals he is getting lots of attention. I read even Mick Cronin stopped by to visit him in Florida. Good luck with that one sippin.

- I imagine that if we cannot fill our last scholarship with either Kyryl or Jarrid, Sean will bank it. I think a talented D1 transfer is always an option. For 2010 we have JD Weatherspoon and Jordan Latham from Baltimore on board. The team could conceivably hold that scholarship for another 2010 prospect.

- Speaking of JD Weatherspoon I watched his team (Columbus Northland) win the state title over Cincinnati Princeton Saturday night. Both teams were loaded with talent. Princeton has seniors Orlando Williams headed to Miami-OH, Marquis Horne is going to Ohio, and Jordan Sibert is verbally committed to Thad Matta and OSU for the 2010 class. Sullinger from Northland won the Mr. Basketball award this year and became only the fifth junior to do so in the state. He is also a part of Thad's 2010 class at OSU. However my eyes were on JD. He picked up two quick fouls and played about 3 minutes in the first quarter. He didn't step on the floor again until the second half. I am glad I waited. My first thought was Bill Walker. JD had four monster dunks and a bunch of free throws to score a team high 18 points. Eighteen points in 19 minutes in the state championship game is damn impressive.

- Coaching carousel time is upon us. Today's edition of the Enquirer spoke to supposed interest and lack thereof by Sean and UK for their position. If I was handicapping that race it comes down to: John Calipari, Jay Wright, and Travis Ford. Oklahoma State fans sharply noted that Travis has cancelled all speaking engagements this week. There is no way in hades they are luring Tom Izzo from Michigan State. Tom's goal is to get the Spartans to the 'elite class' in college basketball and he is damn close to doing that. Also Andy Katz from ESPN reported in his blog Saturday night that Arizona and Virginia have already made inquiries. Miller instructed Mike Bobinksi to say 'thanks, but no thanks' to both schools.

- And before you folks who are campaigning for Sean to leave this season, or should I say hoping he leaves let's take a closer look at the Arizona job. They love their hoops in Tuscon. Certainly Sean's name has came up (see above) and Jamie Dixon is also prominently named because he is a west coast guy. However I would look for Arizona to make a run at Mark Few first. If not him guys like Randy Bennett at St. Mary's, Lon Kruger, Reggie Theus, and Scott Drew from Baylor are all potential canidates for that position. I am hoping Dixon is not entertained and by all accounts he loves working in Pittsburgh and was giving a new high dollar contract last season. Never say never in this business.

- Two years ago it was Sean was leaving for Minnesota. That was a hot rumor right up until Tubby Smith had his press conference. Last season Marquette had to be told no. I am not sure if Indiana ever made contact with Sean but he was on the list. I am proud he is on the 'lists' every offseason. As he turns more and more schools down it helps the image of Xavier.

- My final four bracket looks damn good. I have predicted correctly three of the four teams this year. Go back and look at the old posts, it's in there somewhere where I correctly picked Michigan State, UCONN, and North Carolina. My heart got in the way with Xavier.

- The season is winding down quickly and it is time for me to go out and get some fresh air. I will be back to report on recruits and coaching announcements as usual.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Alvin Mitchell Dismissed

In his official statement Cronin said:

The most unfortunate blah about coaching is blah blah I sincerely hope that Alvin can blah and blah blah blah.

The real deal is this. Mitchell didn't work hard on or off the court and repeatedly had Cronin up his arse about violating team rules. He never lived up to his potential and always looked better playing in the Deveroes Summer league than he did playing organized ball. As far as I'm concerned that just proves how selfish a player he is. 

If Alvin gets another chance somewhere I hope he takes it seriously. Something he never seemed to do at UC

This move ultimately opens up a scholarship for a recruit that will actually appreciate it. Hopefully, And a new recruit means a better chance to improve for next year.


Goodbye Alvin. 

Mike Williams is Done

Mick Cronin announced that Senior forward Mike Williams will not seek an additional year of eligibility. According to Cronin UC researched the possibility and came away feeling it was not going to happen. 

Athough he never became the inside threat I hoped for when 1st hearing the former McDonalds All-American was tranferring to UC. I still enjoyed watching him play and wish him well on his quest to play pro-ball. 

Good Luck Mike!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Xavier Fails To Advance

It is always disappointing to lose. It is even more disappointing when the prize is great. Xavier played exceedingly tough and inspired basketball for 59:00 tonight. Pittsburgh played tremendous defense in the second half and won the game 60-55. At one point X was 5-25 from the field; they started the game 3-16. Pitt is a great defensive team and Blair was as good as advertised in the second half. They are not 'sexy' but this team knows how to finish games. When Dante' Jackson hit his drive in the lane to go up 54-52 I felt my team was going back to back to the Elite Eight. It just wasn't to be. Levance Fields was the dagger in the heart scoring 5 straight late in the game. Sam Young did not let the Muskies pull away and seemed to have a timely basket for them all night. Obviously they are as good as expected and I wish them well the rest of the way.

Here are my quick thoughts on all our guys tonight, whom I absolutely enjoyed watching and writing stupidly about all season long:

Jackson: He looked like a point guard to me tonight. I think he has grown tremendously as a team leader this March. He got into some foul trouble but scored some timely buckets for the Musketeers.

Raymond: I am going to miss you. I think you did everything you could tonight. You go out as the winningest player of all time in Xavier's history. Thank you for a glorious four years and memories I will cherish for a life time.

Brown: Man you showed a little bit of everything tonight. My feelings right now are you will be coming back next season and I hope that doesn't change. Fourteen points and nine boards on a big stage showed what you are capable of.

Anderson: Pure winner. It was great to see you mature here in your time at X and I think replacing your grit and toughness next year should not be overlooked. You shared the ball and battled on the boards all night long.

Love: You battled and battled on the glass against Blair, and had some nice boards. He will most likely be the best rebounder you will ever play against in your career. 'Big Lovely' will be a big part of our success next season.

Frease: Great first half from 'Ogre', the four blocks had a lot to do with our first half lead. He showed why people get excited about his 'upside'. This experience in the big dance will help his development arc tremendously.

Holloway: I was proud of how he played tonight. Poor play at the point isn't the reason we lost the game. He too will benefit greatly from three games under the big lights.

McLean: Your first half dunk had me thumping my chest. I think next season your ability to play both the 4 and 5 spots will get you even more court time. Your length around the basket helped the team stay in the game tonight.

Redford: I wish he could have hit one early. Does any other guy playing college basketball who averages 5 points a game get as much defensive attention as he does? I wouldn't mind seeing him add 7-10 pounds this offseason.

Another season in the books. There sure were some highs and lows. The Puerto Rican Tournament, being in the top 25 most of the season, beating Miami-OH, the Shootout victory, the LSU win on the road, smoking UD at Cintas Center, winning the A10 regular season title and advancing to our fourth Sweet 16 appearance are my highlights.

The lowlights? Getting our doors blown off by Duke, not recovering in time to beat Butler (ruined my Christmas), the dismantling UD provided on their home floor, and obviously tonight's loss.

Even though the season on the floor for X is over, the 'offseason' always has plenty of interesting developments to watch and speculate on. The annual coaching carousel is already spinning. Spring signing period will be here soon and Deveroes Summer League will be here before you know it.

Thanks Musketeers. You had a terrific season. Once the sting of the loss subsides you will realize how much you accomplished. I appreciate all the entertainment you gave me this season.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pitt Preview

These guys are good. Damn good. One thing I know is this team will be prepared. They are on a mission this season to get to the Final Four and beyond. On paper nothing tells me they don't have a great shot at fulfilling their dreams. Here is a quick look at their projected starting 5 and other rotation players tomorrow night:

1- Levance Fields 5-10 190 Sr #2
He is the straw that stirs the drink with 7.6 assists per game for them on offense. I question his listed weight but make no mistake this guy is one of college basketball's premier point guards this season. Not an outstanding 3 point shooter,33%, but he hits enough to keep teams honest. They are a halfcourt style team but they will run on opportunity and Mr. Fields is stellar on the break. He is a solid defender and is the third leading scorer on the team at 10.6 PPG.

2- Jermaine Dixon 6-3 195 Jr #3
The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported today that Dixon is a better shooter than BJ Raymond. Ok. He averages 30% from deep but BJ hits 42%. The Post Gazette's reporting should be no slight on Jermaine as he can still score the ball (8.7 PPG) and plays 25 minutes a game. To be getting those kind of minutes for Pitt he is a solid basketball player. Many will remember his brother from Maryland a few years back in Juan Dixon.

3- Sam Young 6-6 220 Sr #23
Everybody knows about his famous shot fakes. He gets many defenders to bite on that one especially on the perimeter. It's effective because he can drill shots from anywhere on the floor if left open. He averages 37% from deep but is also a great finisher around the rim. He is a All American/NBA prospect type player who will be a handful to contain. He scores close to 19 points a game and is coming off a 32 point outburst against Oklahoma State.

4- Tyrell Biggs 6-8 250 Sr #5
This burly player can actually step outside and knock down shots as well. He has hit 19-48 from trey land. He is not as good a rebounder as his size might indicate (4.4 per game) but is there anything to be had with Blair around? He too plays about 25 minutes a game.

5-DeJuan Blair 6-7 265 So #45
Everybody knows about this guy. To me he is a cross between Glen 'Big Baby' Davis and Danny Fortson. He led the nation with 185 offensive rebounds and averages 12.3 RPG. He converted many of those 'o' caroms into points. The teams second leading scorer at 15.8 is a huge key to this game. Ask Hasheem Thabeet how tough DeJuan is. I know from watching several Panther games this season that he can score in a variety of ways besides gimme put backs. He is an All American.


G- Brad Wanamaker 6-4 205 So #22
I remember X recruiting this Philly product out of Roman Catholic HS a couple of years ago. He can get it going from outside (40%) and is capable of scoring outbursts. For the season he averaged 5.8 PPG.

G/F- Gilbert Brown 6-6 200 So #11
Gilbert is not a great shooter but is long and lean. He averages the most minutes a night off the bench and scores 5.2 points per game. He has a good all around floor game and is a highly rated prospect waiting his turn behind Young.

G- Ashton Gibbs 6-2 190 Fr #12
Gibbs is a prolific shooter from deep (47%) and can provide sparks off the bench. He averages 4.6 PPG and provides nice backcourt depth for the Panthers.

C- Gary McGhee 6-10 250 So #52
Big fella provides relief to Blair in the post. My hope is he plays triple the 6.8 minutes he usually gets. All hoping aside he is an extra five fouls a night if needed for Pitt. He has not had many opportunities yet to show his entire game.

F- Nasir Robinson 6-5 220 Fr #35
Another highly regarded recruit who saw his minutes decrease once Big East play started. He has proven to be a solid rebounder in his limited minutes.

Obviously to beat Pitt the team is going to have to be on their "A" game. Xavier cannot get behind early and play catchup all night with this team. Their defense is too good. I believe X will have a variety of players match up with Blair including Love, Frease, McLean and Brown. They could front him and you may even see a little zone as a change of pace from the Musketeers. However considering Pitt's rebounding strength that may not be beneficial for long periods of time. Dante' and Tutu have to hold their own against Fields. He is capable of taking over games for them. I also think Derrick, CJ, and BJ all spend time guarding Young and Biggs. We could be in big trouble if one of the Panthers support players score double digits.

I like coach Sean Miller's take on the game:
'We've been in the Elite 8 last year, our opponent wasn't. We have five guys on our team that played in that game. We've won 30, 25, 27 games the last three years. We have 3 straight A10 regular season titles and been on TV before. This is a big game because of our opponent and because they're a great team. The fact that it remains anything more here is irrelevant. Those days ended a long time ago at Xavier.'

Also Dante' is stepping up as a team leader:
'We have a lot of respect for Pitt. We respect them and know what they're capable of and know what they are. But we're going to Boston to advance.'

Go Muskies!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

James White Update

The Houston Rockets signed James White to a multiyear contract.
The Former Bearcat had signed a couple of 10 day deals leading up to his multiyear deal.
White was playing in the NBA's D- league for the Anaheim Arsenal when he got his call up. Congrats to James for making it to the big time.

Open letter to the X fans from a UC fan.

I don't know If I'm alone in this. I don't know if you care what i think. I don't know if UC fans will think I'm less of a fan(I'm not). but here it goes...


Congrats on a hell of a year. Congrats on an awesome 1st weekend in the tourney. Good luck and high hopes from me for a lengthy stay.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Back to Back Sweetness

How sweet it is, how sweet it is. In a supposed rebuilding year X plays their way into the Sweet 16. This is our fourth trip to the 'sweet land' and our first back to back visit. Here are some quick thoughts from the Wisconsin game:

- I am glad we don't play in the B10. That brand of basketball is painful to watch.

- Great team win. Holloway, McLean, and Frease off the bench really impacted the game. Now if we can get Kenny to hit some freebies we will be alright. Nice to see 'ogre' have a positive impact on the outcome.

- Again to reiterate I have much respect and love for Bo Ryan and the Badger basketball team. They have been to the NCAA's 11 years in a row and this was a down year in terms of wins and losses for that program.

- Point guard play has been solid enough to get us this far in the tournament. I hope it continues.

I will have a preview up of Pitt later this week. Needless to say I have seen them play numerous times this year. They don't run away and hide from anybody on the scoreboard. IF we can keep it close we'll have a chance to pull out the win in the end. I take heart in Pitt's much documented failure to move past the round of 16. I will have an in depth preview of them up on Wednesday most likely. They are 'scary good' and have two All Americans (Young and Blair) in their lineup. Levance Fields is the real deal also. I can't wait for Thursday night.

Yes a great day to be a Musketeer fan.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Wisconsin Preview

The Badgers bear the reputation as a strong defensive team. However for the first time in three seasons they are not ranked in the top 15 overall. This season they landed at 57th. By points per possession their offense is ranked 27th in the nation by Ken Pomeroy measurements. They do not turn the ball over (5th in the nation) but are not proficient offensive rebounders ranking at #182 of 341 teams overall.

They play what is coined the 'swing offense' and Bo Ryan gets credit for developing it after many years at the D3 level with UW-Platteville. The typical low post player will play out high in this system fairly often and the guards will play down low. Most times all five guys on the floor can put up the trey.

Here is the starting 5:

1- #3 Trevon Hughes 6-0 193 Jr
He hit the big shot in OT against Florida State Friday night. He averages 12 points per game and is a tough, tough perimeter defender. His quickness is superb but his decision making skills in running the offense have been questioned in the past.

2- #12 Jason Bohannon 6-2 198 Jr
This junior averages over 10 points a game and is the designated 3 point shooter for the Badgers. He shot them back into the game against FSU. Jason usually matches up with the other teams best perimeter scoring threat. Their fan base seems to think he has had mix results with that.

3- #45 Joe Krabbenhoft 6-7 219 Sr
The protypical 'glue' guy. He gets the opposing teams best player when the Badgers need a stop. He is proficient in all aspects of the game (dribbling, rebounding, defense, shooting)and aveages around 8.5 PPG. He has always stood out to me when watching Badger games and he would be a solid addition to any team. Joe will mix it up.

4- #30 Jon Leuer 6-10 225 So
Jon is a dynamic offensive player outside of free throw shooting were he is below average. He can drive and score, post up and score, and from three land he can score. He averages over 9 a game and if his defense was better he would be on the floor more. Young player who is still developing physically.

5- #1 Marcus Landry 6-7 230 Sr
His brother Carl played at Purdue and is currently on the Houston Rockets. Due to the style of play the Badgers employ he has never scored like his older brother but has received all conference accolades. He averages 12.5 PPG and is a threat from three land. He is a good low post banger on both ends of the floor. He struggles at times with the really tall post players they go up against.


G- #11 Jordan Taylor 6-1 190 Fr
This frosh didn't start picking up major minutes until B10 play. He is a solid point guard who has not yet scored like he did on the high school level. Jordan shot 20% from deep and 60% at the line. His minutes increased due to his stellar defensive play. Jordan averages about a point and half per game.

G/F- #24 Tim Jarmusz 6-6 210 So
Heir apparent to Krabbenhoft. This kid will do anything his team needs him to do. Mainly that is to come in and play great defense. He is a decent three point shooter but doesn't do anything else that will stand out on offense. He averages 3.5 PPG.

F- #52 Keaton Nankivil 6-8 240 So
The low post sub was projected as a starter beginning of the season. Very good offensive player who is better when he is aggressive on that end. He is the most pedestrian defender out of the Badgers top 8. He shoots over 50% from the field and is a great 69% from three (9/13) and he nailed two against FSU.

I have nothing but respect for Bo Ryan and his program at Wisconsin. They do not go after the flash and recruit great kids. Bo is an innovator who will present a challenge to Sean and staff. I predict X to win but not by more than a few. This will be a hotly contested game. I see BJ Raymond being an advantage for us. Also I like DBrown against Leuer when we have the ball. Point guard play goes to them but where that has really been exposed for X this year is when they play the uptempo teams. I would expect to see Anderson and Krabbenhoft to scuffle more than once. Should be a great game. Tips on Sunday at 2:20 PM.

Second Day of the NCAA Tournament

I put in another solid 10 hours Friday watching NCAA tournament basketball. To me there is nothing better and I can't wait for the games to begin today. I think we will see 'parity' a little more this weekend and as always there are some great matchups. Here are my thoughts from the games yesterday:

Marquette/Utah State: I actually picked Stew Morrill's squad to win this one over the Golden Eagles. Two factors in my mind: Dominic James not suiting up at point and Buzz Williams first go round as the head guy in the big show. Utah State made it close (did you know they have AVERAGED 23 wins per season over the last ten years) in the second half but couldn't get over the hump. Lazar Hayward from MU is a great player.

Dayton/West Virginia: Watching this one was a little weird to me. In the end I was happy to see the A10 had the Big East their first tournament loss. Again Chris Wright is the real deal and UD needed this win as a program. A couple of days ago a contract extension (not yet signed) was announced for Brian Gregory. Huggs' team had no offensive flow and you have to credit the Flyers for that. The Mountaineers are a donut in basketball terminology and I think that is where you have to beat Dayton. Huelsman and Searcy from the Flyers are hacks waiting to be had.

Xavier/Portland State: Just wanted to follow up some more on how well the Muskies played. I will have a preview of Wisconsin up later today and this is the matchup I preferred over Florida State. I think we do better in half court style games. The Badgers won in OT late last night in a terrific game. Back to the Muskies everybody contributed and again had a season best 7 turnovers. Like Coach Miller said, look around the final 32 teams and notice how many of those X played this season and beat? We also lost a few but we are a battle tested team that is starting to look 'sweet'.

Ohio State/Siena: The game of the tournament thus far and I called this 'upset'. Usually you wouldn't pick a nine over an eight seed as upset material but when 8 gets to play in it's own backyard well you know. I noticed Mike Bobinski on press row as part of his duties with the Selection Committee. He was close to the OSU end but you can be sure he was taking careful notice of Fran McCaffery of Siena. That guy has 'winner' all over him. Great game again. I wonder why Thad didn't use BJ Mullens a little more late in the game. Ryan Rossitter from Siena is their post player and he goes about 6-8 210 and has a choir boy look about him. Once BJ had that inbounds play in the second overtime I would have just kept calling his number. Oh well. Mullens should be back next season unless he gets some really, really bad advice. He needs to play starter minutes to scratch his full potential. Evan Turner for the Buckeyes is a stud. How big can you be Ronald Moore? The point guard from the Saints went BJ Raymond like in the OT's a hit some big threes, including the game winner.

As mentioned earlier FSU/Wisconsin was another OT game and looked like a classic Big Ten grinder which is what Leonard Hamilton and the 'Noles were hoping to avoid. Toney Douglass was giving me nightmares already. Playing Bo Ryan and the Badgers will take lots of patience but it isn't like their going to press us all over the floor.

Some other games I noticed/watched today included East Tennessee State hanging tough with Pitt. The analysts kept talking about Pitt not being a team to pull away from anybody. Their second round matchup against Oklahoma State will feature some stark contrasts in the way the game is played. OkState wants to run, run, run under Travis Ford. One upset special for me today will be the Hilltoppers of WKU over Gonzaga. Should be another great day of college basketball action.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Portland State Recap

Nice first round game by Xavier. Portland State went down 77-59. Dante' Jackson gets the game ball mainly for setting the tone early and holding Dominguez down in the second half after the little guy scored 13 on us in the first half. X was very balanced scoring wise tonight: Jackson 13, Anderson 14, Raymond 13, and Brown 13. Our point guard woes were put to rest at least for one game. Great time for the team to have a season low 7 turnovers. The Vikings were one and done on their offensive trips most of the second half. We won the rebounding battle 30-20. Did you know Xavier is 13th in the nation in rebounding margin?

Jackson seems to step up big for us when the lights shine the brightest. Tonight was no different. Good team win overall and I was enthused by the play of Terrell Holloway tonight. He seemed to play free and natural. Let's hope that continues.

Well time to do some celebrating. Hoping to catch Wisconsin and Florida State on CBS College Sports. Siena and Ohio State is starting off nicely as well. Need to give a shout out to the Dayton Flyers for their win today over Huggs' West Virginia squad. Chris Wright is the real deal with 27 and 10 today. Thanks for repping the A10. Good luck against the Jayhawks. Temple bowed out the first game for the second year in a row but James Harden from Arizona State is a terrific talent.

First Day of NCAA Tourney

No major upsets but still a great day. Here is my rundown on the games I watched today.

LSU/Butler: a good first game to start the tournament with. The Tigers march on after a 75-71 victory. I was actually rooting against Butler. My only reason is my dislike of Lance McCallister. Brad Stevens has a young team that is only going to get better. I think the bright lights made some of their freshmen hesitant early on. Gordon Hayward is one of my favorite freshmen in all the land. In this 'window' we also had CS-Northridge/Memphis and the Matadors kept it interesting for awhile.

Purdue/Northern Iowa: The Boilermakers seem to have the goods to make a nice run. Northern Iowa struggled most of the second half to get it under a six to eight point margin and couldn't make it happen succumbing to a 56-61 final. Eglseder from Northern Iowa was impressive as a big man.

Washington/Mississippi State: Flipped over to CBS College Sports (who needs local news). On second thought the local news might have been more interesting. Mississippi State was gassed. I have noticed over the last few years a team that has to win four conference games in four days like the Bulldogs generally come out flat. The second round game between the Huskies and Boilermakers should be a very good game.

Michigan/Clemson: Oliver Purnell can't win in the NCAA tournament. 0-5 is now his lifetime record in the big show. Hard to believe Michigan is making their first NCAA tournament in over a decade. My high school years they were a dominant team. John Beilein could take your team and beat his team. He is one hell of a coach and Manny Harris is a star. During this 'window' we also got plenty of looks at American University and their upset bid over Villanova. I think if this game was played anywhere other than Philly they may have took their attempt a little later in the game. Is it really fair to let a team play an NCAA tournament game on a floor they have played home games at this season? According to the play by play analyst 'Nova played three games at the Wachovia Center. They use that venue when the Big East heavy hitters come to town. Anyway nice attempt by Garrison Carr, Derrick Mercer, and Brian Gilmore from AU. We also got several looks at Minnesota and Texas and I believe Rick Barnes never gets enough credit for what he has done there. I like his opinions on the tournament belonging to CBS and not the NCAA. So true, so true.

Western Kentucky/Illinois: This was the 12 seed over the five seed upset that really wasn't. With no Chester Frazier, no chance for the Illini. I like the Hilltoppers against the Zags in the second round even though they let Illinois have a chance after being up 68-51 late. Also I had a chance to watch segments of the VCU/UCLA game and Maynor had a chance with a last second shot, but no dice.

Today is obviously a big day for folks in the tri state. UD/WVU at 3, UL/Morehead St. at 7:10, XU/Portland State 7:25, and a night cap with OSU/Siena at around 9:40. I am hoping for no 13 over 4 upsets today. ;)

Speaking of our game I feel confident the Muskies will get it done. That was before I read the press conference notes in the Enquirer's blog. The offense the Vikings like to run is very similar to Butler's and Duquesne's. Two teams that spread us out and beat us from the perimeter. PSU shoots 25 three pointers a game and make close to 10. I hope our length (even on the perimeter we enjoy an advantage), defense, and rebounding acumen are too much for Ken Bone's team. Another great day ahead I am sure.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Week That Is

Thursday is finally here. I am looking forward to the LSU/Butler game the most today due to the fact X played both during the regular season. That really is a pick 'em game.

- Monday was a good day. Always need to feel good about cleaning up some junk and donating it to Goodwill. I learned some hard lessons this tax season. I need to donate more. As expected my little guy was terrified of the dinosaurs at the Museum Center. A little over priced for $15 but what they have done is very impressive. Of course he was all about the dinosaurs in the gift shop. No basketball so I suffered a little from withdrawal on Monday.

- Tuesday was a so so day. Started off good with lunch at O'Charley's. Nothing like green beer at 11:30 AM. I knew beforehand there was no live racing at Turfway but no racebook either? Well we packed up and headed to River Downs and no racebook there either. No horse racing on St. Patty's day? Molly Malone's in Pleasant Ridge was happening. I also went to UD Arena (my God do they hate X) and watched the Opening Round game between Morehead State and Alabama State. Chief Kickingstallionsims' game did not live up to the name. Donnie Tyndall should get a call from somebody looking for a coach this offseason.

- Wednesday was a yard work day. I also journeyed down to Cintas to watch some D1 high school hoops. All four teams (Centerville, LaSalle, Princeton, and Aiken) have D1 talent. I think Kavanaugh (Centerville) going to UD will make an impact in college once he is an upperclassmen. I can see why Huggs made a last minute all out effort to get this kid to West Virginia. Think Bobby Brannen. Also Princeton is just flat out loaded with Jordan Sibert (Jr - verbal to OSU), Orlando Williams (Miami-OH), and Marquis Horne (Ohio University). I see them representing Cincinnati at the state tournament. It will be them against LaSalle Saturday AM at 11 again at Cintas Center. I am thinking I can squeeze that one in before the college games tip Saturday. Anyway Aiken has a couple of good ones in Darren Goodson (Bowling Green) and of course Chane Benahan. Not overly impressed with Chane but he didn't get to touch to ball very much at all. Speaking of early commits to the 'Cats I can see why they backed off Danny McElroy (6-6 power forwards don't do well in the Big East generally) but I think he will be a good player for Louis Orr and Bowling Green.

- I DVR'd the VA Tech and Duquesne game in the NIT last night. I am glad I did. It went to 2 overtimes and the final was 114-108. Ron Everhart played for VA Tech and was on their NCAA team in 1985. That was back when they shared the Metro Conference with UC, Southern Mississippi, Louisville, et al. That conference was so mid major. No wait a minute Louisville won the national title in 1981 and 1986 out of that league. That must have been when teams, not conferences, mattered. Anyway Aaron Jackson is my A10 POY hands down after watching him score a career high 44 points after only having 6 at the half. Great, great game. Despite the loss I think the Dukes are a contender in the A10 next year if Everhart returns. He will be a hot commodity.

- Other A10 teams in the post season include Rhode Island who won their NIT game at Niagra on Tuesday and Richmond is in the CBI and won on the road at St. John's last night. The Big East is 1-3 so far in the postseason. Counting the Johnnies loss, GTown went down to Baylor in the NIT, Providence fell hard against Miami (FL) in the NIT as well. Notre Dame is the sole survivor of the minor tournaments with a 70-64 victory over UAB. Will the trend continue in the Big Dance?

- My final four is Xavier, Connecticut, Michigan State, and North Carolina. Like the President I see the Tar Heels winning it all. I also like Pittsburgh and my sleeper final four team is Arizona State. I only fill out one bracket (completed this morning watching Blues Clues with my son FWIW) and my prognostications are usually way off. Still a fun thing to do.

- Time to head to the store and buy ice for the cooler. The beverages included will be Bud Light, Mountain Dew, Coke and Stewarts Grape Soda. That Stewarts is very refreshing ice cold. I will pick up a bottle of water for my kidney this morning also. The food spread is high in sodium (just the way it should be): Scoop Fritos to go in the bean dip, Ruffles and French Onion dip, homemade Texas style chili, left over shrimp fried rice, pepperoni-cheese-crackers, cheesy metts, Almond Cocunut Chip ice cream from Homemade, Doritos, and Armour Vienna sausages. Now keep in mind this is for all weekend and not just today. The main question on my mind though is grill the metts or boil them? Ah yes vacation is nice.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Portland State Vikings

Location: Portland, Oregon
Conference: Big Sky
Season Record: 23-9, 11-5 conference
Coach: Ken Bone (Seattle Pacific '83)

The Vikings return to the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row. Last year they were waxed by eventual champion Kansas Jayhawks in the first round 85-61. The team and it's fanbase is looking to do a little more this time around. They are a capable team as witnessed by their victory over Gonzaga on the Bulldogs home court and a one point loss at Washington. Portland State averages 9.7 treys a game. That willingness to shoot the long ball make them a threat to win any game on a hot shooting night.


10 - Jeremiah Dominguez 5-6 150 SR
He is a former Oregon high school player of the year who began his career at the University of Portland. He transferred across town and Ken Bone and staff couldn't be happier with this young man. More of a scoring point than a distributor he put up 199 three point field goal attempts and hit them at a very good rate of .437%. He led his team in scoring with 12.9 PPG.

3 - Andre Murray 6-2 200 SR
Andre arrived at PSU last year after transferring from the College of the Canyons. He is best described as 'dependable'. Murray rebounds fairly well from the '2' spot at 4.0 RPG. Andre is also one of four Vikings who average double figures, he checks in at 11.0 PPG. He hoisted 120 treys and hit a decent .358% of them.

21 - Phil Nelson 6-7 220 SO
This redshirt sophomore actually began his career at the University of Washington and managed to start nine games for them in 2006-2007. Blue Ribbon magazine described him as the best physical talent in the Big Sky. He was recruited as more of a '2' than a '3' and like most of the Vikings will shoot the trey unabashedly. Phil hit 35% of the 163 long ball shots he took this year. He was the third leading scorer at 11.2 PPG and averaged 3.6 RPG.

14 - Kyle Coston 6-8 210 JR
The Vikings' four man only shot .337% from the field for the season. He too will put up the three point shot but only hit .274% of the 106 he took. He is not overly strong on the glass at 3.5 boards per game and he averaged 6.3 PPG for the year.

44 - Jamie Jones 6-7 215 JR
He too began his career at the University of Portland before heading across town for more playing time. He is the exception for the Vikings in regards to three point shooting; he attempted none for the season. He is an undersized post who will scrap on the boards (5.3 RPG) and did not foul out of any contests. He averaged 8.9 PPG for the season.


11 - Dominic Waters 6-1 170 JR
Dominic plays starter minutes and puts up starter stats. He is the second leading scorer on the team at 11.5 PPG. He began his career at the University of Hawai'i and was named the WAC Freshmen of the Year during his time there. He put up 130 three point shots and hit a remarkable .462% of them. He is also a slasher as witnessed by his 83 free throw attempts which he hit at .807%.

1 - Julius Thomas 6-5 220 JR
This Stockton, CA product will come in with lots of confidence. His slam against Montana won the Big Sky conference tournament title for the Vikings as time expired. He will not shoot the three either (0 attempts) but will get to the free throw line. Julius is not overly productive there .527% but did collect a team leading 73 offensive boards and averaged 5.2 RPG overall. He contributes a solid 7.1 PPG for the Vikings.

13 - Tyrell Mara 6-6 235 JR
This career reserve put up 64 three point shots for PSU this season. He hit 36% of them and averages around 16 minutes per game. Overall he averages 3.7 PPG and 2.8 RPG.

23 - Wendell Wright 6-5 185 FR
This frosh from Lakewood, CA averages around nine minutes per game. He doesn't appear to do much when he is out there and score less than one point per game.

4 - Mickey Polis 5-8 165 SR
Mickey was only used in about half of PSU's games this season. He is a deep sub at best but will look to score as witnessed by his 2.0 PPG in limited playing time.

I think the Musketeers need to be ready to weather a energetic start by the Vikings. We will need to be careful not to get in a three point shooting contest with them and use our inside game to our advantage. I would expect either Love, Anderson, Frease and Brown to have big games in the paint. If that is the case we will do what Las Vegas predicts and win this game by 11. IF the Vikings get hot early it could be a long evening for Xavier. I don't see that happening and actually I am quite confident we can beat either Florida State and Wisconsin most nights also. I can't wait to see what develops.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday Morning Thoughts

'Dancin, dancin, dancin, dancing machine!' How about those Muskies? A four seed off a 5-5 finish tells me respect has been earned. Not overly excited about going to Boise to play a good west coast underdog team in Portland State, but nevertheless a better than expected seeding draw. This is Xavier's 20th NCAA tournament appearance overall, 18th since 1984. Also this is our fourth appearance in a row under Sean Miller. I truly thought we were looking at a five seed and I would much rather be playing the Vikings in the first round than say a Wisconsin Badger team. The Vikings however are dangerous (see their win at Gonzaga) and a team that loves to shoot the three. I will have a in depth look at them up tomorrow. Here are some other things on my mind:

- Dayton against West Virginia has me torn. Huggins keeps creeping back into my life and I am not sure who I am pulling for in this one. Friday is shaping up to be a big day for tri state viewers as UD tips around 3 PM. Part of me wants to see the A10 score one over the Big East but a big part of me hates everything UD, hence the 'torn' scenario for me.

- X finished 22nd in this week's ESPN poll. The Musketeers were seeded as a top 16 team. What does it mean? To me finishing in the top 25 is better than I expected preseason. However late January I had hoped for a top 10 finish.

- Who does the Ohio State University know on the selection committee? The Buckeyes in Dayton with the possibility of facing Louisville on Sunday doesn't seem fair. I think Siena is going to upset that dream. Fran McCaffery along with Brad Stevens are on my short list for potential future coaches of Xavier if necessary. As part of the tristate triple header on Friday they tip around 9:40 PM. Fans on UDPride are already scheming to let a bidding war begin for tickets for the UL/OSU potential matchup. I would take the Buckeyes in that one if they can get past the Saints.

- Kentucky fans miss Tubby? His Golden Gophers at Minnesota are in the 'Big Dance'. Billy Gillespie has been regulated to Memorial Hall to play UNLV in the Not Important Tournament. Rupp Arena has more important things to do with hosting the high school boys basketball state tournament Tuesday night.

- Poor, poor Bearcats didn't even get a call for the Not Important Tournament. Sippin' Mick has too much pride to take another invite to the Crappy Basketball Invitational. As usual his excuses are poor; 'It's a television event' in regards to the NIT tournament passing over his Bearcats for other Big East 'giants' Notre Dame and Georgetown. Really? You mean people would rather watch lowly A10 teams Duquesne and Rhode Island over the 9th best team in the Big East? Man oh man that will be Sports Illustrated's sure sign the apocolaypse is coming in this week's edition.

- Continuing with the Bearcats I didn't know Deonta Vaughn had an injury issue. It was reported today that his big toe will need X rays. That could explain his play down the stretch. The guy had to do too much. I was also disappointed to read about Kenny Belton's playing days being over forever. That will give Mick an extra schollie to get a point guard. There is no way in hell the NCAA gives Mike Williams an extra year of eligibility. They care about kids too much. Insert sarcasm here. My latest edition of Prepstars Recruiters Handbook lists the Bearcats being involved with their #81 prospect overall in Eric Bledsoe. He is a 6-0 point guard out of Birmingham, AL. Ole Miss, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, Duke and Memphis are also listed highlighting the paucity of point guards in this class. Bearcat fans should take a look at Juco Junction site by Rivals and see what point guards are available as well. Most would agree the 'Cats need more options at point guard for 2009-2010 season. Also I am curious as to see what develops with the rest of their roster. The Enquirer reported today that Mick was meeting with sophomore Alvin Mitchell to discuss his status.

- I normally wouldn't speak so much on UC but my boy Dave (like the Bearcats) has tanked. He has plenty of excuses (another familiar Bearcat refrain) as to why and they are all very valid. You see Dave (like many Bearcat fans) suffers from what I refer to as 'fairweatherism'. It is very common in the Greater Cincinnati area. Most around here tend to pump their chests in the offseason of their teams whether it be the Bengals, Reds, or Bearcats moreso than during the season. I suffer and rejoice with my teams year round. Although the Bengals are getting harder and harder to get excited for anymore.

- I am on vacation this week (thus the long winded post). Other things to do today: clean out closets for a Goodwill donation trip, take my 18 month old son to see the dinosaurs exhibit at the Museum Center (he loves them), and do some more reading on Portland State. It's great to be on vacation. Tomorrow being St. Patrick's Day includes all day at Turfway Park acting Irish and an evening at UD Arena watching Morehead State v Alabama State in the play in game. Donnie Tyndall and Morehead could give Louisville a run. Also who doesn't want to see Chief Kickingstallionsims play for the Hornets of Alabama State? The late evening will include acting more 'irish' on Tuesday. Wednesday is for recovery and yard work. And then we have the tournament. Yes vacation is very, very good.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Temple v Duquesne

The A10 will determine it's automatic bid tonight at 6 PM. Duquesne beat Dayton by 11 last night to advance to their first A10 championship since 1981. Temple squeaked by X 55-53. Should be a great game. I am glad I decided to wait until after the conference tournament to pick all conference teams. Aaron Jackson from Duquesne is the POY over Nivins in my opinion. Everhart is obviously the choice for COY. IF he can win tonight this will be his third rebuilding job. First he took McNeese State to the dance, then Northeastern, and now a chance with Duquesne. The guy adapts to his personnel and is a chameleon as a coach.

Xavier may be looking at a quick stay in the big dance. I am eager and excited to see who we match up with. I will have a long preview of who we must face off against. My official prediction is a five seed for us. BJ Raymond and Derrick Brown did all they could last night to see us get to the A10 championship game. It just wasn't meant to be. CJ Anderson going 0-9 and reverting back to his 1 on 5 mentality certainly didn't help. Just watch number 20 when we play in the big dance. If he is dishing off and playing smart X will play on. IF not we could lose our first game. Anyway for now we will settle for being back to back to back regular season A10 champions.

Many conference tournament championships to be decided today. I plan on watching as many as I can:

America East 11 AM: UMBC v Binghamton

CUSA 1130 AM: Tulsa v Memphis

A10 6 PM: Temple v Duquesne

Big 12 6 PM: Baylor v Missouri

Pac 10 6 PM: USC v Arizona State

MEAC 7 PM: Norfolk State v Morgan State

Mountain West 7 PM: San Diego State v Utah

MAC 8 PM: Akron v Buffalo

Big East 9 PM: Syracuse v Louisville

SWAC 9 PM: Jackson State v Alabama State

WAC 10 PM: Nevada v Utah State

Big West 12 AM: Pacific v Cal State Northridge

Should be a great day for college basketball. The A10 finals certainly upset some bubble teams. Also if Baylor wins there is another spot claimed. Finally bubble teams need to be rooting hard for Memphis this morning. I love March.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Xavier spanked St. Louis 66-47 earlier today. They will meet Temple tomorrow night for a spot in the A10 championship game. CJ Anderson played very good today. I have been critical of him in the past but today he made great decisions with the ball. Fifteen points on 6-8 shooting to go along with five assists and four rebounds for CJ. He apparently has some back pain issues as alluded to on the telecast. This is the time of the year everybody is dealing with some ailment it seems. BJ Raymond led all scorers for X with 18 points.

Seven turnovers for the game is a stat I would like to see for the rest of March. Holloway played with confidence today. The story of the game was rebounding. Xavier won that battle 32-18. Add Majerus to the list of coaches who said 'NIT or nothing'. For the record I don't think they have a chance. I like Rick's reasons however. He proclaimed his team has lost too much class time and is too tired and beat up. Something tells me the CBI and other new post season tournament aren't going to be around long.

Temple beat St. Joes and tomorrow should be a great game. The first matchup at Cintas was very entertaining. Dionte Christmas is a dangerous one. He has led the A10 in scoring for three years in a row. I believe the first ever to do so. I just finished watching Duquesne squelch Rhode Island's chances of an at large bid. The Rams should get an invite to the NIT. It is Duquesne's first trip to the semifinals since 1994. In a few minutes Dayton will take on Richmond to determine the final spot in the semis.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's the Bills

St. Louis defeated LaSalle today in OT to advance in the A10 tournament. We handled them early on in the conference season on our floor but you never know what could happen. They have great guard play and a decent coach so it should be lots of fun.

Two more conference championships on tap tonight on ESPN2. The NEC and Big Sky submit their automatic bids to the big dance. The NDSU/Oakland game was a great one to watch last night. Oakland had command the whole game only to lose it at the end. The Bison of North Dakota State just became eligible this year to compete for the postseason at the D1 level. Cleveland State defeated Butler which stole a bubble spot from somebody last night.

Also I am a big believer in 'karma'. I will not play add on with Mighty Mouse but I am glad the Bearcat fan base is coming to their senses about the little guy with a big mouth.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday Musings

It's Monday afternoon again. The loss against Richmond wasn't as damaging as I thought. We dropped to #19 in both polls and finished the regular season with an RPI of #15. X is solidly in the five seed range right now for the NCAA tournament. A run in the A10 tournament and they could move to a four. Again I love my team but I am realistic about their postseason chances. We need to improve point guard play, shoot free throws at 75%, and bring rivalry game type defenisive intensity to play outside the first weekend in the big dance. If we get the right matchups we could make it to the round of 16. We are a good shooting team that could become a great shooting team on any night. Now again I am going to root like hell that happens but I will take the success the season has already bourne:

- A 24-6 record.
- Winning the PR tournament.
- A10 regular season champs.
- 3-1 record in miami valley rivalry games.
- 3 seniors on pace to graduate.

Those are good measurables. It says a lot about changing expectations when you see that and know most of the die hard fans expect more from this team THIS season. I honestly thought 21-22 wins and an appearance in the NCAA's would be lofty goals for X coming off an elite 8.

I have a good solid 4.5 hours of basketball to watch tonight. Four automatic bids to be awarded tonight. 'Championship Week' is the best to me. Now all I have to do is find a way to free up two hours on Thursday at noon to watch our first round A10 tournament game.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A 10 Tournament Set

The A10 tournament is set to begin Wednesday March 11th in Atlantic City, NJ. The site for the games is once again Boardwalk Hall. I will list the games in the order they are played with a predicted winner for each:

Wed March 11th-

#8 LaSalle -v- #9 St. Louis (St. Louis)
#5 St. Joseph's -v- #12 Charlotte (St. Joseph's)

#7 Duquesne -v- #10 UMASS (Duquesne)
#6 Richmond -v- #11 St. Bona (Richmond)

Thu March 12th-

#1 Xavier -v- #9 St. Louis (Xavier)
#4 Temple -v- #5 St. Joseph's (Temple)

#2 Rhode Island -v- #7 Duquesne (Rhode Island)
#6 Richmond -v- #3 Dayton (Richmond)

Fri March 13th-
#1 Xavier -v- #4 Temple (Temple)
#2 Rhode Island -v- #6 Richmond (Rhode Island)

Sat March 14th-
#2 Rhode Island -v- #4 Temple (Temple)

Of course my preseason predictions were awful and most likely these will turn to be way off base when the actual tournament plays out. In the scenario I laid out it could mean that 4 A10 teams make the tournament. That is very highly unlikely to come to fruition.

For X, it is the Billikens or the Explorers. Both teams are capable of better than their in season showings against us. I think the Muskies rebound off the loss at Richmond to win this one. Next round if were facing Temple I think the Owls get the return matchup. If we end up across St. Joes we advance to the championship on Saturday and most likely win. After the A10 tournament I will put up my version of the A10 postseason accolades.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A10 Champs - Again

You knew this one was going to be intense. The Cryers even broke out snazzy new black uniforms which was very appropriate since they got buried 76-59. I was there an hour before tipoff and got to witness the little halfcourt exchange between the teams. I would assume it started while X was doing their normal routine of jogging from under the basket to midcourt and turning back around. I have seen us do that all year. Clearly some 'woofing' was going on and UD took exception. London Warren and Stephen Thomas are little girls. Warren stood behind everybody on his team and then Thomas thought he should take his aggression out on X fans in the stands. The little chump bumped his gums hard but had little to say once the ball went up. I was proud of Dante' because the UD fan base I communicate with have stated over and over he is a bust. Yeah he busted all right. How about the first 11 points of the game and he probably would have done more damage if not for two quick fouls. Dante' is a class act and he told Byron and Joe afterwards he wanted to keep the seniors 'legacy' in tact. To me that is a clear indication of a winning program.

Jackson finished the game with 14 points and a career high 8 rebounds. UD hasn't won here since the Jimmy Carter administration. That is 24 occassions for those keeping score at home. We hit 9 threes and I have stated previously if we hit 8 or more we can play with anybody. 13-17 from the free throw line was huge too. Derrick Brown finished with 11 points and 12 boards and did not participate in senior night ceremonies even though he is graduating this year. I think he is back unless he tears it up in the A10 and NCAA tournaments. BJ Raymond picked up his 1000th point and set the new gold standard for wins by a player. You couldn't have asked for a better 'senior night' for him. Burrell and Duncan shared it with 99 but last night marked the 100th win BJ has had in a X uniform.

Jamel McLean deserves mention as he went baseline and flushed three times around Luke 'Flagpole' Fabrizius who had no business being on the floor. McLean finished with 10 point and five rebounds in a very productive 14 minutes. UD fans also like to bang on Kenny Frease and the big fella responded with 8 points and 7 boards.

Finally for my man Swampy: Redford finished with 9 points in 16 minutes. Your boy Paul Williams was 0fer in 12 minutes. Once again the fine people in the state of Michigan got it right last year. And Swamp you can call him anything you want just make sure you include the word 'champion' when you talk about him.

Up next is a road game at Richmond this Saturday. We are guaranteed the #1 seed but a win against the Spiders gives us sole possession of the regular season championship. If we lose and Rhody wins they will also be 12-4.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Monday Notes

The Associated Press and ESPN USA Today coaches polls have been updated. X lands at #17 in the AP and #18 in ESPN's version. Both represent a climb over last week. Realtime RPI has us sitting at #11. If we can beat UD and Richmond to close the season out at 25-5 I think we can re-enter the discussion for a 4 seed. Truth is there is a logjam of teams fighting for that 3-6 spot on the line. Teams in that category are not making it easier on the selection committee.

Other things noticed:

-My favorite internet 'journalist' is back at it on UD Pride. The old 'swampster' still thinks Paul Williams is the better player over Brad 'Opie' Redford. Opie is swampy's nickname for Brad. I remember this guy telling me Brad would never put up decent numbers in college and Paul Williams was more highly sought after and thus going to be the better player in college. Let's compare stats of both players and you guys tell me who you would rather have RIGHT NOW:

Redford: 28 GP/12.8 MPG .476 FG% .490 3P% 5.8 PPG 21 Assists/19 TO/19 Rebounds

Williams: 26 GP/10.8 MPG .345 FG% .269 3P% 2.0 PPG 8 Assists/13 TO/43 Rebounds

If you like your two guards to rebound then Paul is your man. If you like them to score the ball go with Brad. Notice how Paul averages about two minutes less per game but doesn't score or shoot nearly as well as Brad. I hope we punch you in the mouth Thursday night.

-Kyryl Natyazkho visited the OU Bobcats last Thursday night for their game against the Miami Redhawks. Why is a top 100 four star recruit visiting a MAC school? John Groce is the answer. Groce shouldn't be at OU long. Apparently though the students went all out for Kyryl bringing Ukrainian flags to the game, making sure three lovely volleyball players chatted him up, chanting his name and so forth. The posters on their message boards aren't giving themselves much a chance at landing him but I wouldn't count OU out. Paul Biancardi from ESPN indicates X, Florida State, and Arizona State are the big fella's top three. Something tells me he will take all five of his allotted visits before we have a decision.

-Less than two weeks away from 'Selection Sunday'. ESPN's 'Championship Week' is my favorite television programming besides the 'Big Dance'. I'll probably move up one waist size before March is over. And I couldn't care any less.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Huggy I decided I don't hate you(not that you care)

Leading up to last Wednesday's game there were several things in the local media that I found interesting. All the talk of finally getting over the exit of Huggins and all the questions of how Mick has done since he took over - as if comparing him to Huggins could show us something we didn't already know. For the record Mick hasn't been here long enough to be stacking his numbers next to Bobs. 

Of all the talk one thing stood out to me and it was Huggins' answer when asked to address the UC fans who have stopped coming to games or following UC at all since his departure. He told a local Radio host that he "couldn't tell people what to do." He said "that's not who I am." 

WHAT? Are you freaking kidding me? You spent 16 years here telling people how they should perceive the Bearcats! I found myself getting more angry by the minute. I had planned on writing a really pissed off post about the whole thing. How dare he not say the "correct" thing.

Something like - I'm happy, Mick's great, Go support him. - Ya, something like that. The headline in the paper said - Huggs To 'Feel Something'.  All I wanted him to feel was the agony of defeat. Then I saw the tears and I fell for it. I fell for it because they were genuine. Or at least appeared to be. I was happy to see him in the Shoe looking at all the banners that wouldn't be there if not for him. Looking at Mick who wouldn't be here if not for him.

That's when I realized WHY he couldn't answer the question differently. 

You ever have a girlfriend who was the greatest thing ever until she dumped you? From that point on she was the biggest bitch walking and that's what you told anybody who asked. It didn't matter that you got dumped for some stupid shit YOU did - only that you got dumped. 

Huggins' situation is the same. UC basketball was his life and it rejected him. What would you do? Wait a few years and talk about how great it was or still be Bitter?

p.s. Hey, Jennifer from 9th grade. I still don't like you.