Tuesday, January 31, 2006

 

Raging Against The Bulls

Once again, coming to you from press row, high above Fifth Third Arena, it's Woody. The Cincinnati Bearcats will try to resucitate hopes for the 2005-06 season, or we'll be giving them Last Rites. Cause if they can't beat the South Florida Bulls, I don't see anyone left on their schedule where they can post a "W." I'll admit, it was tough to get down here. After being unable to watch more than a couple of minutes of their last two performances on TV, I didn't think I could handle seeing a similar experience in person. Besides, there's more exciting things to do on a Tuesday night than the trying to find someplace to park in Clifton. Oh, and USF jumped out to a 9-4 lead while I typed all this out.

Some good news comes in this second paragraph. UC pulls closer and went ahead, 15-13. And a fallen James White who limped off the court, returned to big cheers. And it looks like they got around to putting "Barwin" on Connnor's jersey. I guess it was on there for the Louisville game. But, like I said, I couldn't handle watching that display for very long. Between that and the Georgetown game, I can't remember the Bearcats getting a whupping like that in back-to-back games. If I had, I would have forced it out of my mind. Like this move Jihad Muhammad tried to make earlier tonight. Second worse dribble I've seen in this building since Charles Williams bounced it off his own foot. But enough of that, this is a positive paragraph. Oh, USF is up 26-21. Guess that means I need to start another paragraph.

Oy, before the half, the Bulls pulled off an alley-oop that used to be a staple of UC's offense in the late 1990s. (Ah, I miss you Melvin Levitt.) Both teams go into the locker room, but only one has a four point lead: South Florida. As they walked off the floor, the University honored faculty who have made advancements and patents in various fields like medicine and engineering. Too bad none of them can come up for a way for this team to scrape up some more rebounds. When that presentation was over, there were some loud calls of "Where's Nancy?" Heh, nowhere near here, pal. The floor was cleared for the three-time national champion dance team which supplied another outstanding performance. Let's hope the bball players can duplicate that in the second half. Well, that level of quality. I don't really want to see big men dancing.

I had to go to the little reporter's room and returned to see UC down by 7. But the Big Mo swung UC's way and I was pleased to see a fast break finished by a gritty James White that made me no longer miss "the Helicoptor." For now. Some improved defensive pressure briefly got them the lead, but that was fleeting.

Little sidenote here: One thing that impresses me about the crowd is their memory. When I was here for the Syracuse game, one of their players missed a three-pointer in the first couple minutes of the game. An hour and a half later, they still chanted "airball" whenever he touched the ball. Not even a TV timeout can derail their train of thought. If they were booing the ref for a bad call before, they weren't gonna get sidetracked by the guy firing free T-shirts into the crowd with a giant hot dog gun. Once play resumed, so did the booing.

Maybe that lead wasn't so fleeting. Andy Kennedy's team pulled ahead by 8 before the Bulls bounced back. Although, that was fleeting. The lead hit double digits. Ya know, Jihad reminds me of that one guy you play basketball with. You know, the one who heaves it up so much you're getting ready for the rebound as soon as the rock touches his hands. But then again, are you gonna make a shot? No, you suck. So, maybe him shooting a lot isn't so bad. Every once in a while, he can get on a streak and provide some much needed offense that no one on the floor really can even if they have their "A" game. Never mind, that's a bad analogy. Seeing him miss twice on foolish shots made me rethink that.

Okay, the momentum has seemed to have evened out with three minutes left. I have to give Muhammed some props after calling him out a couple times already. He just had a big steal, did some fancy dribbling to clear some defenders, and set up a play that put UC in control of the game. Considering how touch and go this was at times, Cincinnati comes away with a 13 point lead.

Whew. UC is now 15-7 and 4-4 in the Big East. Did Bearcat nation need this game or what?
Feb. 4 @ West Virginia
Feb. 6 Louisville
Feb. 12 Pittsburgh
Feb. 15 @ Syracuse
Feb. 17 Providence
Feb. 23 Villanova
Feb. 28 @ Seton Hall
Mar. 4 West Virginia
Yeah, they really needed this win.

 

Oddest Super Bowl Coverage Ever

This is the most F***ed up sports coverage that I have ever seen. Chuck Klosterman is covering the Super Bowl for ESPN.com. Where did they find this guy? I'm not sure if I will check back in to his blog from Detroit, but there is a strange curiosity that may drive me back there later this week. Man this guy has issues.

But he did give us some good coverage of the media on "media day." And he listed his favorite comments from the players, very tongue-in-cheek, from today's Steelers interviews. By the way, nice indy music reference with My Morning Jacket.

"(5) Ben Roethlisberger: Looking very My Morning Jacket-ed, Big Ben mentioned that we are fighting a war in Iraq. As soon as he said this, about 25 guys wrote it down. Roethlisberger also stated that Sunday's Super Bowl would be a much bigger than any game he played at Miami of Ohio; about 30 guys wrote that down"

 

He's Henry, Chris Henry


Okay, so quick follow up on the Chris Henry situation. I know about this because a certain Redskin that I am a fan of found himself in a similar situation a few months back, so I am now apparently versed in Florida gun laws.

Let me make this very clear. Chris Henry is going to jail for a long time. Henry might not ever play pro football again, much less for the Bengals, or even the NFL for that matter.
In all honesty, I think we might be looking at a situation somewhere between Ron Artest and Sean Taylor here.
I think Henry is a troubled young man, who is having a lot of identity issues that are putting him into decision making situations he can't handle. A lot of you will sit back and insult, laugh at, and openly judge Chris, which is completely fine. But at the same time, you have to understand that this is a kid who clearly doesn't get it on a level much deeper than just the ridiculousness of his antics.

I don't know if Marvin Lewis has a leash short enough, a heart deep enough, or a brain smart enough to figure out how to solve this problem, but I can tell you one thing. He certainly doesn't have the wallet deep enough to sit around and let this problem solve itself.

I feel worst for Marvin Lewis who suddenly had his 3 year plan hijacked in the span of a month, with two players that were coincidentally involved in the longest passing play in Bengals playoff history. He's got to be pulling his hair out now, wondering what he did to deserve this. Poor Marvin.

ps. quick sidenote: on the blogosphere, a solid round up of CH's year in review.

Monday, January 30, 2006

 

Oh, Henry

We all knew when the Bengals took Chris Henry in this past draft that he "had a history." Little did we know that that history would catch up to him this quickly.

Henry, already under the watchful eye of the NFL for his arrest on pot and other various charges less than two months ago, thought it wise to hop out of limo and point a gun at people this past Saturday night in Florida. That little trick got him arrested on multiple charges. Check out the link for the details. I'm too busy shaking my head in a confused manner to worry about telling you more.

 

Well this explains a lot


Although nobody on the Reds' website seems to want to run a story about it, and even though today Cincinnati Enquirer had a sports section front page blurb about it, and dubiously no online article about it, and although no one on the team will give a straight answer, one thing is obvious. Adam Dunn's hand is broken.

Now I love Dunn as much as the next guy, and any free swinging big guy like him who hits bombs at his clip is a welcome addition. But this is insane. The guy breaks his hand in May (ie. second month of the season!) tells no one, and proceeds to play with it, until it gets hit with another pitch.
At which point he cowboys up, literally blows off an X-ray and decides he knows what's best for his own hand. I'm all for guys being gamers, but this is just flat out unnecessary and irresponsible. What is the point of playing baseball with a broken hand, particularly if it's your throwing hand, and you're playing in the outfield?
Not to mention that once Reds brass found out about it, they went into spin mode, instead of just owning up to the issue and pointing out that they didn't know, and didn't have it in them to say something to the guy.
I guess this can all be attributed to another solid step in Bob and the Bros. Williams starting things off on the right foot. Excuse me, the right hand.

 

We're #1, We're #1


That's what their chanting today in Oxford as the Ice Hockey team claimed the top spot in the Inside College Hockey Poll after sweeping Ferris State 3-1, 5-0 on the road. The USA Today and USCHO.com/CSTV Polls should come out later today.

Not only are the RedHawks flying high as a team, they have gained some individual recognition. Senior defenseman Andy Greene and freshman goaltender Jeff Zatkoff earned CCHA Player of the Week Honors.

Greene captured his second consecutive Defensive Player of the Week award and fourth of the season. Zatkoff was named the league's Rookie of the Week for the second time this season after stopping a career-high 37 shots and posting his third shutout of the season in Miami's 5-0 win on Saturday.

The RedHawks still have four home games left this season. I have personally made it to a couple of games already this year and am looking forward to this weekend's games against Alaska-Fairbanks. For tickets, go here. THEY WILL SELL OUT. And the games will be great. There are few sports atmosphere's better than this one in the city.

 

Playoffs?!

As the 2005 regular season came to a close, some NFL executives began throwing around the idea of a larger playoff format that would allow two extra teams from each conference into the post-season. I'll be honest, I'm mostly against that idea. In other sports, the playoffs seem watered down when half the league moves on, even if they barely have a winning record. It really devalues the regular season, where most NFL games still have so much riding on them. But there's one argument that really appeals to me:

Six playoff games on Wild Card Weekend

Yeah, starting around noon on Saturday until pretty much midnight and the same thing the next day. Three games each day. As much as I feel that this format would diminish the regular season and give too much of an advantage to the #1 seeds in each conference, I certainly couldn't argue with two straight days of twelve straight hours of football.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

 

Reds Reveal Short List for GM Job

The Cincinnati Reds put out a list of 6 names as GM candidates, including four from within the club. Inlcuded in that list are:

Interim GM and Baseball Operations Director Brad Kullman
Director of International Scouting Johnny Almaraz
Special Assistant to the GM Leland Maddox
Special Advisor Jim Beattie
Cardinals Assistant GM John Mozeliak
Twins assistant GM Wayne Krivsky

A few more names may appear early in the week. Either way, a new GM could be in place within four weeks. Interviews are set to begin this week.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

 

Xavier Claims the C.O.D. With Win Over Dayton

Xavier's 60-55 win over Dayton today clinched the rights to the first ever C.O.D. Trophy. The Musketeers improved to 13-4 overall, 4-2 in the A10, and 3-0 in the C.O.D. standings. The Flyers fall to 10-11, 2-5, and 1-3.

The Musketeers led by 6 at the half and extended their lead to 13 with just over 6 minutes to play when they went cold. The Flyers used a 14-2 run late in the game to close the gap to 1 with 32.8 seconds left, but Dayton could not draw any closer as they missed a couple of good looks late and Xavier sunk 4 of 6 free throws in the last 30 seconds.

Brian Thornton led the way with a great all around performance, totaling 19 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocked shots. Justin Cage got in on the action as well, scoring 12 and grabbing 6 boards along with playing some great defense. The only answer the Flyers had was Brian Roberts. He scored 20, had 5 rebounds and 3 assists.

These two teams meet again in Dayton on February 21. But in the mean time, both teams have tough games ahead. Xavier welcomes in Top 25, and A-10 leading George Washington to the Cintas center on Thursday. Byron Larkin will be joining us this week at 5:45 to talk about that game. As for Dayton, the Flyers face St. Joseph's, Charlotte and George Washington over the next week and a half. Good luck.

Once again, congratulations to the Musketeers on being crowned this season's regional college basketball champion, and claiming the C.O.D.

 

Dear Reds Fans,

The new owners of the Cincinnati Reds have written an open letter to the fans proclaiming five major points:


That sounds like a pretty big commitment. How does that make you feel? Is this music to your ears or are you skeptical and will believe it if/when you see it?

 

COD Standings

Xavier 2-0 The Musketeers remained unbeaten in the COD, pulling out a tight over-time victory over UC in the Crosstown Shootout 73-71. Couple that with a 75-65 victory over the RedHawks and Xavier is unbeaten in the local head-to-head match-ups as they head into their Saturday contest with the Flyers. If they win on Saturday, they will wrap up the first ever COD Trophy.

UC 2-2 The Bearcats finished their COD season with a heartbreaking loss to Xavier. They knocked off Miami 3 days after Christmas and split with the Flyers, facing them an usual two times in the same season, thanks to a Tournament in Las Vegas.

Miami 1-2 The RedHawks started the COD off strong with a stellar defensive performance against Dayton beating them 58-42, before losing two tough games by the identical score of 75-65 at home to Xavier and against UC at US Bank Arena.

Dayton 1-2 Despite their struggles this year, the Flyers remain in contention for the COD. A sweep of the Musketeers in league play would net Dayton the COD Trophy. They get their first crack at Xavier today at the Cintas Center.

Friday, January 27, 2006

 

And he's comin...to your city


So the Bob Huggins world tour is back up and running, last stop was in Akron.

Note to all Athletic Directors and Campus Coordinators. DO NOT LET BOB HUGGINS ON YOUR GROUNDS! He is coming to do nothing other than bolster his reputation, and steal recruits. Honestly, are you trying to tell me that Huggs is suddenly a motivational speaker, traveling the lands to ensure that all the kids grow up to be the people they always wanted to be?! No way.

Again, it still boggles my mind that this joker is roving Ohio like the prodigal son coming back home. I know the guy is a revered figure, but even Bob Knight has the brains to stay gone when kicked out, or at least lacked the audacity to come back around and rub his popularity in everyone's face. Huggs never ceases to amaze.

 

Sobering realization


Listen folks, ever since Bob decided to fire Danno, we've been patrolling the waters trying to find a solid replacement. After nearly a week, one realization has come to my mind. Nobody, and I mean nobody, wants this job. Apparently being the general manager of a Major League Baseball team is not exactly a high profile job to front office people around the bigs.
Wayne Krivsky? Are you kidding me? Who on earth is this guy?

Chris Antonetti? Again, can we get the JV front office kids out of the running here, and try to find a guy with an actual resume?

Is this the best the cat can drag in? The Reds have a half dozen special advisers, but can't seem to find a guy with any salt to fill out the GM position. This is not a good thing at all. Brad Kullman, who apparently isn't a big enough boy to deal with the 'interim' tag, is wasting more time talking to reporters about deals he's not doing, rather than getting anything done.

This kind of thing infuriates me. There's nothing I can't stand worse than when a guy spends the first week of his job letting everyone know why he's not as bad as the previous guy, or that he's the new guy in town, and everyone better know it. Just show up, shake some hands, cut some deals, and stay out of the news for the wrong reasons. There's a reason Kullman has that job right now and it's simple. Nobody else wants it.

I think I'm gonna go meet up with Ryan Freel for sushi and some drinks.

 

Water Polo

There's a big shindig going on this weekend in Oxford called the Early Bird Round Robin. That's right, there's a Miami University Water Polo Club and they've got a big event this weekend. This is from water polo player Corey Ulmer who give us a heads up on what to expect:

This weekend we host Michigan State, Purdue, and Eastern Michigan University. Our games are at 6:00 and 10:30 Saturday evening and then 12 noon on Sunday. It should be a great tournament and hopefully all the teams will be up for the competition this early in the season.

If you're looking for something unique and one of the most grueling sporting events there is, check out this tournament.

 

Thursday's Reports From the Senior Bowl

Scout.com's Report

Cincinnati Bengals

LB Gerris Wilkerson

"The Bengals' coaching and scouting staff has been on the prowl for linebackers and defensive tackles that can play the run. Wilkerson is a developing talent and a player head coach Marvin Lewis likes. While the play of the inside linebackers in Cincinnati was adequate in the 2005 season, the physically imposing Wilkerson could be the type of player to elevate the play of the Bengals' defense."


NFLDraftcountdown.com's Report

"Martin Nance of Miami (OH) has the best ball skills of any player on either team and even with a cornerback in his hip pocket he has a knack for going up and getting the ball."

"Marvin Lewis and a couple of Bengals scouts paid a lot of attention to the defensive backs."

 

Wally's World Moving to Boston


Former Miami University star Wally Szczerbiak was traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Boston Celtics in a mammoth 7 player, 3 draft pick deal. The key player headed to the T-wolves is Ricky Davis.

Wally had been enjoying a strong offensive season, averaging 20.1 points a game so far this season. "In Wally we are receiving an All-Star player who is playoff-tested and who has been a winner at all levels," said Danny Ainge, the Celtics' executive director of basketball operations.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

 

Super Bowl Giveaway Contest

We have one last autographed football to give away. Since there's a little football game next week, we figured that we would give it away with a tie-in to the Super Bowl. The Unabated Sports crew have come up with a group of things that people have to pick from the Super Bowl. The winner will get the ball.

They are:
1.) The winner
2.) The over/under 47
3.) Will Shaun Alexander run for: 75 or less yards, 76-115 yards, or 116+ yards?
4.) Will Ben Roethlisberger have: a positive TD-TO ratio, a negative TD-TO ratio, or an even TD-TO ratio?
5.) Who will win the coin toss?
6.) Will the first commercial after the opening kickoff be a: Beer commercial, a soda pop commercial, or other commercial?
7.) After the opening kickoff and before the final play, will we see Jerome Bettis' parents on tv more or less than 6 1/2 times?

Tie-Breaker: In case of a tie, we ask you to send in your point total for the game.

Picking the correct winner will be worth 2 points, while all the others will be worth 1 point. The over/under is set at 47. So we are now accepting entries. Make sure to check back.

The person who gets the most of these right will win a football autographed by a bunch of Cincinnati Bengals, including Pro Bowler Deltha O'Neal. Just email us at unabatedsports@gmail.com to be a part of the fun.

 

Today's Show

Last week's Black and Blue Edition of Unabated Sports was so successful that we decided to do the show in drive time again beginning at 4. (Well, that and the Miami-Akron game occupying our time slot tonight.)

All the sports seem to be hopping right now.

College basketball is in full swing, with both UC and Xavier losing last night. UK won on Tuesday. Does that make UK fans feel any better about your chances of making the Tournament? What about UC fans? Do you think that these 'Cats have a chance at the dance? We'll be taking a look at both the 'Cats and debating if you had to choose one, which one do you think has the best chance at making the NCAA Tournament.

And what about Xavier? They've lost two in a row, with Dayton coming to town on Saturday. Xavier still looks good for the Tournament, but where their seed is is dependent upon how they do the rest of the way in league play.

Football is at the forefront of the sporting world right now. Not just the Super Bowl with local guys Sean Alexander and Ben Roethlisberger, but also the Senior Bowl from Mobile, Alabama. This is the biggest event for draft entries, not including the combines. We will be talking with draft expert, and man on the scene, Scott Wright of NFLDraftcountdown.com, who has been in Mobile all week. We'll also check in with Miami University DB Darrell Hunter who will be playing for the North team. Joining Darrell on the team are Martin Nance and Nick Mangold. We'll give you comprehensive coverage from the Senior Bowl.

The Reds have hung their "Under New Ownership" sign in the window. So many questions about the future of the organization, starting with who is going to lead this team? Robert Castellini was not very open when it comes to the subject of a GM. Pitchers and Catchers report in a few weeks, it might be nice to have someone in place sooner than later. Who (or what) are you looking for in the new GM? How long will it take for this team to win? Do you expect to win? So many questions.

This and more on this weeks edition of Unabated Sports. And as always, we will be taking your calls to 868-9664 and your emails to unabatedsports@gmail.com. We have a couple of give aways tonight so tune in to hear what those are.

Guests:

Scott Wright of NFLDraftcountdown.com @ 4:45

Darrell Hunter, Miami University DB and member of the North squad in the Senior Bowl @ 5:45

 

The Pride of Cincinnati

Heather Mitts needs our help. A late rally by Ashley Judd came up short, so Heather has moved on to the Elegant Eight were she is matched up against Mrs. Tiger Woods, Elin Nordegren. That's a tough match-up. Guys dig Swedish nannies, and she has international fame. So go now and vote for Heather. Tell your friends. Pass it on. Do it. Do it now.

 

Wednesday at the Senior Bowl

Checking Scott Wright's notes from the Senior Bowl on Wednesday led to this...

"Cincinnati went linebacker heavy and mingled with Freddie Roach, Travis Williams and Gerris Wilkinson "

That makes two days in a row that they were talking with a couple of linebackers. That will lead to some interesting discussion. Check out what Scott has to say for yourself when he is on Unabated Sports at 4:45 on Thursday.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

 

Is Marvin Next?

With Bill Cowher in a position to claim his first Super Bowl title (though Mike Holmgren will be trying to become the first head coach to win Super Bowl titles with two different teams), Sports Illustrated has laid out their 5 coaches most likely to claim a Super Bowl title at some point. Check out who is number 2 on their list.

 

Notes from the Senior Bowl

Scott Wright of NFLDraftcountdown.com is in Mobile,AL at the Senior Bowl taking in all the practices and press conferences. He has the low down on who looked good and even more interesting to me are his notes on what team talked to who after practice.

Here's some notes of local interest off his blog from the Senior Bowl from Monday and Tuesday:

Monday:

"...the Jets were seen with Darrell Hunter and Martin Nance."

Tuesday:

"Darrell Hunter of Miami (OH) had a great day as well, showing the quick feet and good ball skills that is drawing him a lot of interest from scouts."

"San Diego had a major presence and they were seen talking to Joe Klopfenstein, Martin Nance, Davin Joseph, and Charles Spencer."

"Cincinnati was also making the rounds and was seen with Brian Iwuh, Jon Alston, Davin Joseph, Darryl Tapp and Nick Mangold."

"...both Tennessee and Oakland spoke with Darrell Hunter."

"Travis Williams was pretty popular, drawing attention from Baltimore, Cincinnati and the Giants..."

Scott will be joining us this Thursday at 4:45, live from Mobile with an update on a couple of local guys including Martin Nance and Darrell Hunter. We'll also talk to him about his observations from the most important event for college scouting, next to the Combine of course, and get his thoughts on a couple of positions key for the Bengals next year. If you are a true NFL fan, then you can not miss this.

 

UC's Women Hoops Promotions

There's lots of good reasons to check out the Lady Bearcats basketball team. UC has provided a few more to come down to Fifth Third Arena and check them out:
January 25, 2006 7:00 p.m. vs. Georgetown
NCAA Take a Kid to the Game Day
In conjunction with the NCAA, Cincinnati Women's Basketball will admit all children accompanied by a parent FREE!
February 4, 2006 2:30 p.m. vs. Pittsburgh
LIVE on FOX 19
Youth Basketball Day
All youth basketball players 14 and under, in uniform, will be admitted FREE. All friends and family of youth basketball team members will be admitted for $2.
SHERWOOD RAPIN' ROPES - Perform at Halftime!
February 15, 2006 7:00 p.m. vs. West Virginia
National Girls and Women in Sports Day
All women's groups are encouraged to attend as they will be admitted for the group rate of $2. All girls under the age of 14 will be admitted FREE of charge.
February 18, 2006 2:00 p.m. vs. Louisville
Girl Scout Day
All Greater Cincinnati Area Girl Scouts are encouraged to attend. Please check www.UCBearcats.com at a later date to find finalized offers for Girl Scout Day!
February 25, 2006 2:00 p.m. vs. Notre Dame
Senior Day
Show your loyal support for seniors Micah Harvey, Anne Stephens and Bellva May as they play their last home game at Fifth Third Arena!

Cal 513-556-CATS for more information.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

 

Random College Bball Thoughts

Why is Louisville still in the top 25? The only two teams that they have beaten in the top 100 RPI are Akron and Miami, Fl. They have lost 3 straight and are 1-4 in the Big East. Someone please explain this to me.

Speaking of the RPI, the NCAA will now release their official RPI ratings. They are no longer going to hide them from the public.

The two strangest winning/losing streaks in NCAA basketball belong to St. Louis and Indiana State. The Bilikens are 8-8, having followed a win with a loss followed by a win and so on for the entire season. Their streak looks like wlwlwlwlwlwlwlwl. The Sycamores (8-8) started the season hot, winning their first 8 before losing their next 8. Their streak is simply wwwwwwwwllllllll. At least both schools are consistent.

Dayton finally won again. After looking good to start the season at 8-3, with a win at UC, the Flyers went into a tailspin. (Pun fully intended.) The Flyers had lost 7 straight before beating A-10 whipping child Duquesne 85-63 on Saturday in Dayton.

Adam Morrison is scary good. The 6-8 Junior Forward from Gonzaga followed up his worst outing of the season (16 points, 2 rebounds against San Diego) with a 41 point, 9 rebound night against San Francisco, his 3rd 40 point effort this year. His other two 40 point games came against Michigan St. and Washington. Not bad.

 

Local Match-up that all Guys Would Like to See








vs.






Sure, there are a lot of teams that we would like to see tangle, but the match-up that CBS SportsLine.com provides is one with local ties that ALL guys would like (and pay) to see. Heather Mitts vs. Ashley Judd.

For those of you who have not seen this yet, CBS SportsLine.com has created a head-to-head format for figuring out who has the hottest significant other in sports. And this match-up is the coolest by far. Not only are both significant others of athletes, but they both have significant roles in athletics. Heather Mitts is a soccer player for the US National team and former member of the Philadelphia Charge in the currently defunct women's soccer league. She also works the sidelines as a reporter. And Ashley Judd is the most famous fan in all of college basketball, cheering on her Wildcats (who can use all the support they can get this year), and as a poster girl for the University's hockey team.

So go and vote. I already posted my vote. Now you need to make your voice heard. And unlike the Presidential Elections, this time your vote counts. It doesn't matter who you vote for, just as long as you are part of the process. As Puffy says, "Vote or die."

Monday, January 23, 2006

 

Press Conference Update


For those of you who missed the Castellini press conference, here are some highlights, aside from the things you can read in the newspaper, and the usual mumbo jumbo he said about what kind of guy an owner is looking to hire to put together a team.

when asked about the possibility of Lou Piniella becoming a candidate
"The primary idea for Lou [Piniella] was as a special advisor...it's just not going to happen this year."

when questioned on whether or not hiring someone before pitchers and catchers report is a priority
"Well we'd like to do that, but it's going to take three or four weeks of interviewing somewhere between six or eight candidates."

on who he has in mind as early candidates
"We'll have a list, and we'll send out invitations. Plus we'll have other people that are interested. We'll evaluate people that are interested, and probably have a short list and go from there. Am I at liberty to tell you who the list is, not quite."

on if there is a person in mind that fills all of his requirements
"Look none of us are perfect, so uh...nobody has all of these pre-requisites, to the Nth degree. And uh, well just gimme a pass on that one"

My early notions from this reaction, aside from his clear discomfort in front of media, not to mention his clear lack of real personality, is that this guy has no idea who he wants, or has one guy in mind and is not showing his cards. The answer to that last question I listed is very dubious, he was generally uncomfortable in answering most of the questions.

I'm not going to jump in as to whether or not to take anything from this as good or bad, but I would assume that having a general manager by the time pitchers and catchers report, would clearly be a good thing. Not having a long term guy in place to evaluate talent from the jump in your initial year as an owner is what's known in some circles as 'getting off on a bad foot'.

I would have much rather seen O'Brien fired through the media, with the first major press conference of his ownership coming with the hiring of a new GM.

 

With the ink barely dry on the team sale contract...


The Castellini era has officially begun, with the Reds scheduling a 5 p.m. press conference to announce the firing of GM Dan O'Brien. Guess it didn't take long after buying the team for Bob and the Williams brothers to put their heads together and whack somebody.

This move is no surprise by any stretch as I see it, but the inevitable next question still arises..Who are you going to get next? Let the discussion begin.

My vote is for Bob to throw some money at Steve Phillips. He's a Big League GM and Cincinnati needs to get back into the Big League frame of mind again if they plan on competing this year. Not to mention that any move to get him off of television is a good move to me.

 

Huggins still defining matchup


After a healthy weekend of college basketball, involving a wild weekend overall for the Big East, and UC finally getting a win over a noted conference opponent, I am still somewhat bewildered by something that occured during the Crosstown Shootout.
Again, as an outsider to Cincinnati who simply enjoyed the game from a local watering hole, I have to admit that ESPN's coverage was a little dubious.
Considering all the coverage we put into it, and all the local hype during the week, as soon as the game got on national television, the story went right back to one thing: Bob Huggins.
After being so entrenched in the local details, and following the story of the fantastic job that Andy Kennedy has done with this Bearcat team, I have to admit it was a little nationally sobering if you will, to see ESPN reverting right back to the same old faithful.

Maybe not only this rivalry, but UC basketball on the whole, or maybe even Cincinnati area basketball in general took a bigger hit than many have realized as a result of his departure.
Overall, they did a good job with coverage of the rivalry for what it is, but I was stuck with the coverage of Hugs more than anything. And who was that dopey guy sitting with him at various points of the game, waving his hands at that camera like a goofball? Is Huggins suddenly rolling around with a random entourage that doesn't know how to act once the cameras get rolling?
Huggins almost had this look on his face of man who had pulled off a major heist or something. He comes back into the spotlight on the biggest basketball night of the year for the city, in an area that he once proclaimed an unsafe place for his players, and dominated coverage!
What stones he has to just waltz into Cintas Center, as if people don't absolutely loathe him there, and hang out and watch a game like nothing ever happened. Huggins knew exactly what he was doing that night, and he was proving to the rest of the country that he is still a national name, with national pull. For what was an absolutely great basketball game, it nearly got hijacked by a guy who's not even coaching.
He essentially single handedly reduced the game to being described as the UC 'not being coached by Bob Huggins anymore' Bearcats, and their rival, oh wait, yeah Xavier.
Good thing this game went into overtime, because if it hadn't the rest of the country might have forgotten about anyone related to basketball in Cincinnati, not named Bob Huggins.

 

Bracketology

Projecting NCAA tournament brackets in January is rather pointless, but a lot of fun. That's okay though, because it gives us something to discuss/argue about. So here is the latest Bracketology from Joe Lunardi of ESPN.com.

This past week was not kind to Tournament aspirations for local teams. UC fell to an 8 seed in the latest projections, while Xavier stayed a 7 seed. Xavier never gets respect from the Tournament selection committee so this may be pretty accurate right now. Miami fell out of the Tournament in favor of Akron after last weeks lost at Western Michigan on Saturday. I don't forsee the MAC getting more than one bid, although Ohio's lack of any attention is a bit surprising.

As I said, I know it doesn't matter, but it does make for some fun discussion.

Also, I ran across this site, which lists the brackets from all the 64 team March Madness Tournaments from 1985 on. This will settle a lot of arguments when you and a buddy debate what exactly happened to what team when.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

 

More of the Same

Another shootout, another UC loss. It shouldn't bum me out this much. This isn't 1996 or 1999 when Xavier knocked off the #1 team in the nation. I mean, the Bearcats were the underdogs in this game. Maybe if they got blown out right off the bat, my expecations would have gone away. Maybe if those clutch three pointers in the last minute of regulation had bounced off the rim, I'd be over it by now. But the fact that this team stayed in the game, showed the ability to get up on XU at times... that probably made it hurt a little more when my hopes were brought crashing to the ground. Again.

I should be thankful that the team fought back to force overtime. I should be thankful that some Bearcats stepped up to have big-time games. I should be thankful that Bob Huggins did not have a "Joe Namath moment" while being interviewed by the sideline reporter. (I got a little worried there for a moment, but Coach pulled it together.) But, right now, I'm not. I'm a little bitter. I'm a little more concerned about whether this team can muster enough wins to get into the Big Dance for a 15th straight year. If they can, maybe that will sooth some of the stinging. Until next year's Crosstown Shootout, of course.

Friday, January 20, 2006

 

What the national media has to say about the Shootout

If you want another opinion on the game besides mine, you can check out Pat Forde's take on the Shootout. He shares some of the same thoughts that I had on the game.

Sports Illustrated's Recap is here.

And as a side note, ESPN.com has changed their front page. That's not earth shattering news, but I found it interesting.

 

Crosstown Shootout Thoughts From in the Stands

If only they had given me something to say. But seriously, how does this rivalry continue to do this year in and year out? Nearly every year brings us an exciting finish and another "one for the ages."

But anyway, let me tell you about my experience with this year's Shootout. Although I have lived my entire life in Cincinnati, I had never actually gone to the Shootout until this year. And if there were any doubts that this is the most important sporting event in Cincinnati, the media put an end to that one. There were so many members of the media at this game, that the extra tables they put along press row were not even enough to accomodate all the media. The Enquirer alone sent 9 reporters, 3 photographers and 2 editors. That is why I ended up in the crowd. Which turned out to make it that much better. I lived and died with the fans. They were at times more entertaining than the game itself. And they were a great crowd. They didn't wait for something to happen to cheer. They transended watching the game and truly became part of it. In the post game press conference Sean Miller made the comment that Cameron is the only place that might have a better atmosphere.

As for my thoughts on the game...
-Devon Downey is not a Freshman. I mean, he is technically, but only in class credits. He took Xavier to school. His performance has to rate up there as one of the greatest Freshman performances in the history of the Shootout. His 22 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, and only 1 turnover in 44 minutes of action was trumped only by his ability to hit a clutch shot.
-Eric Hicks is a monster. 7 blocks in this game. 8 his Sophomore year. Xavier will be happy when he's gone.
-If you don't understand just how thin UC's depth is, consider the fact that 5 players played 35 minutes or more in this game. The only other player with 10 or more minutes was Chadd Moore with 13.
-Brian Thornton showed up huge in the second half and OT. He scored 14 of his 20 points and grabbed 7 of his 12 rebounds after the half. Add in 2 blocks (including the one with 18 seconds left in regulation) and 3 assists, and the Senior had a pretty good night.
-Stanley Burrell came up big, knocking down shots when his team needed a boost. The Sophomore (who lists the Crosstown Shootout as the best thing about Cincinnati in the Xavier media guide) finished with 20 points.
-Bob Huggins was in the house. And for those who said this game lost something because Bob Huggins wasn't coaching. How do those words sound now?
-How does a team who gets out rebounded 56-41 and makes 11 less Free Throws lose by 2 in OT you ask? Simple, the deep ball. UC shot 10-24 on the night from 3 while Xavier was a woeful 1-18.
-Speaking of Free Throws... Seriously, Xavier make a clutch one.
-Both teams should truly be proud of their efforts tonight. They put on a hell of a show for this city and the rest of the nation Thursday night. It's good to know that there is something here for another city to be severly jealous of.
-When asked if he felt lucky to get the win, Sean Miller immediately responded, "Not at all. Not at all. We don't have one ounce of luck on us." Which drew a few laughs.
-In talking about UC, coach Miller said "We beat a good basketball team tonight." The only truer comment on the night is what coach Miller said immediately after sitting down, without even being asked a question:
-"What a war. What an amazing game from start to finish." Well said coach.

That was my experience from the crowd at the Cintas Center were UC and Xavier gave us another one for the ages, a 73-71 OT thriller for Xavier.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

 

Crosstown Memories

As much as I love the rivalry game, the Crosstown Shootout has been a very painful event for me as a UC alum. Year-in and year-out, the Muskies have been a thorn in the Bearcat's paw. I can still remember the ball bouncing off Charles Williams's foot setting up Lenny Brown's game-winning shot that knocked off the #1 team in the country right before Thanksgiving in 1996. That wasn't the first time that David slung a stone that felled Goliath. Kenyon Martin led the team to a #1 ranking in 1999, and Xavier led them right into another ambush. But did the Muskateers return the favor when they were the superior squad? No. Remember that painful display of basketball in '02? That was when David West scored half the points necessary as both teams, even #16 Xavier, struggled to get above 40 points when I turned off the tube in disgust. I was in the house at the Cincinnati Gardens in 1997 as #10 XU dominated a weakened UC team that had to pull players off the football team to fill the bench. (Sound familiar?)

Sure, UC won half of the last 16 games so the rivalry has been pretty even. But, considering that the talent level is usually higher for the Black and Red, it's been frustrating because as painful as the losses have been, the wins haven't even been close to feeling that good. I mean, congrats. But most years, you're supposed to win. Sometimes, being the "big brother" of a rivalry isn't very rewarding.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

 

Unabated Sports: Black and Blue Edition

It is finally here. The day that all Xavier and UC fans circle on their calenders the day they get them. Yes, of course I am talking about the Crosstown Shootout. The event (yes, this is an event, not a game) is the single most important sporting event to Cincinnati's identity. So we are devoting 3 hours from 4-7 to nothing but the Shootout. With that being said, here is a look at what is on tap for you today.

Guest List:
Mike DeCourcy (The Sporting News) - 4:25
Dan Hoard (Voice of the Bearcats) - 5:00
Byron Larkin (Former XU Player and Radio Color Analyst) - 5:45
Dustin Dow (Enquirer Xavier beat writer) - 6:00

We also have some comments from both head coaches and a couple of players.

Some of the Topics that we will try to get to today:
1.) Position by position matchups
2.) Last years matchup
3.) Strengths and weaknesses for both teams
4.) Our keys to the game
5.) Is this the biggest sporting event in the city? (I know that there are probably some people who would say Opening Day.)
6.) Predictions
7.) How it compares to other rivalry games. (obviously, Duke-UNC is the biggest and best)
- We'll take a look at some of the other top rivalries. Kansas-Missouri & UK-Louisville are a couple of good ones. We'll try and focus particularly on other rivalries that are inner-city.
8.) If you grew up in Cincy, you are either a UC or Xavier fan. There are few fans that fall between. Almost everyone in this town favors one over the other. Can you truly be a life long Cincinnatian and favor one over the other?
9.) Tent City. I hung out there a bit on Tuesday and talked to a lot of kids in line. I would have stayed longer but it was raining and Sean Miller was not passing out pizza then.

UC Game Notes
XU Game Notes
Enquirer Crosstown Breakdown

We want to give you a chance to sound off today. You can call us today during the show between 4-7 at 868-9664. Or you can email us at unabatedsports@gmail.com. The important thing is that you make your voice heard. Check back tomorrow morning for more coverage and articles about the shootout and for a list of specific topics that will be discussed. I'm already geeked, pumped, psyched (whatever you want to call it) for this event, how about you?

 

Current Day Crosstown Shootout Facts

Yesterday we gave you All-Time Crosstown Shootout Facts. Today, we bring you up to the current day with info on the players in this years Shootout. Hopefully this info will be useful or at least intriguing and entertaining to you.

Here is last years stats and their averages and notes from years past Shootouts.
For Xavier:
Burrell - 12 pts, 4 rebs
Cage - 10 pts, 9 rebs... Averages (2 games) 7.5 pts, 5.5 rebs
Caudle - 5 pts, 5 rebs... Averages (3 games) 1.7 points, 2.7 rebs
Cole - Injured... Averages (1 game) 0, 0, 2 minutes
Doellman - 10 pts, 6 rebs, 3 asts, 2 blocks... Averages (2 games) 10 pts, 5 rebs, 3 asts, 1 block
Duncan - 5 pts, 4 rebs
Finn - 3 pts, 4 rebs, 5 to... Averages (3 games) 5pts, 2.3 rebs, 0.3 asts, 2.7 to
Thornton - 3 pts, 1 reb

For UC:
Hicks - 16 pts, 14 rebs (10 Off), 2 blocks... Averages (3 games) 8.7, 8.3, 3.3 blocks
White - 4 pts, 5 rebs, 3 asts... Averages (2 games) 3 pts, 4.5 rebs, 1.5 asts
Moore - 2 pts, 2 rebs, 3 asts... Averages (2 games) 2 pts, 1 reb, 1.5 asts
Muhamed - 7 pts, 4 rebs, 2 asts

Of note:

Some of the players averages are a low representation of what they have truly done since most did not get exstensive time in their Freshman years. The best example of that is Eric Hicks. The Senior Forward's averages the last 2 years are 13, 11.5, and 5 blocks. Hicks had 8 blocks in the game as a Sophmore.

Dedrick Finn has struggled in the last 2 Shootouts, collecting 0 assists while turning the ball over 8 times.

Armein Kirkland had 12 points and 6 rebounds in last years game.

The starting Front Court of Maxiell-Kirkland-Hicks went for 43 of the teams 65 points last year.

While it was an ugly game for both teams, Xavier really struggled from the floor, shooting a season low .298. UC also owned the boards 50-39.

Check back tomorrow for how the two teams matchup this year numbers wise. Also, make sure to join us this Thursday from 4-7 for our special Unabated Sports: Black and Blue Edition.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

 

Random All-Time Crosstown Shootout Facts

For those of us who can't quite get enough of random stats, here's some to pull out while watching the game with your friends to impress them. Remember, the whole key here is to drop it in casual-like so that people don't think you are showing off knowledge of random facts. Try not to make them useless. That being said, here you go:

1.) The first game between Xavier and UC was during the 1927-28 season and Xavier won 29-25.
2.) The series has been continuous since the 1945-46 season.
3.) UC holds a 46-26 advantage in the rivalry.
4.) The longest winning streak is 12 games by UC from the second game (yes they used to play twice a year through much of the '50s) in the 1956-57 season to an overtime victory for the 'Cats in the 1966-67 season.
5.) Xavier's longest winning streak is 3, from 1983-84 to 1985-86.
6.) There have been 4 overtime games and Xavier is 3-1 in those contests.
7.) The most points scored in a game by one team is UC with 102 in 1964-65.
8.) The most combined points is 189 (a 99-90 UC victory) in 1995-96.
9.) The largest margin of victory by UC is 36 (89-53 in the 1960-61 season).
10.) The largest victory for XU is 26 (88-62 in January of '57).
11.) In games decided by 3 or less, Xavier has the edge 13-6.
12.) Bob Huggins was 8-8 versus Xavier.
13.) The coach with the most wins in the series is George Smith of UC who was 9-5 against Xavier.
14.) The last 5 first time coaches in the Crosstown shootout have lost. For UC, that would be Bob Huggins and Tony Yates. For Xavier, that would be Skip Prosser, Thad Matta and Sean Miller.

For facts and stats on players in this years Crosstown Shootout, check back tomorrow. Remember, don't throw all of these stats out at once. Spread them around. Amaze and astound your friends with obscure Crosstown Shootout facts.

Monday, January 16, 2006

 

Crosstown Shootout at Top of Queen City Sports Identity

There are a couple of sports events in Cincinnati that are at the core of our sports identity. The Bengals-Steelers matchup is high on the list of identifiable sporting events. The Reds opening day is extremely high on that list. With people taking off work and kids skipping school (with their parents blessing), the parade and all the hoopla of the first meaningful game of the baseball season, Reds opening day is one step below the top. But even with all the energy around Opening Day, it still does not match the most identifiablely Cincinnati sporting event. That title is held for the Crosstown Shootout. It is the pinnacle of sports in Porkapolis.

Every year since the 1945-46 season has seen the University of Cincinnati Bearcats take on the Xavier University Musketeers on the hardwood. The series has seen it's share of ups and downs. UC holds a 46-26 lead on the Muskies, but recent years have seen Xavier take 6 of the last 9, including 2 wins over the number one ranked Bearcats.

But more than the close games, this event is important in establishing our identity, both as a city and as individuals. Anyone who has grown up in Cincinnati will be able to tell you instantly which side they fall on in this rivalry. The hate (and yet, mutual respect) between the teams is a wonderful feeling. It is a comforting reminder of home. Like the smell of mom's warm apple pie, the familiarity of a hug from a loved one or seeing the smile from your child, the bitter taste left in the mouths of those pulling for the losing team instantly snaps you back to home.

Some say that you are defined in this city depending on where you grew up, the classic East Side versus West Side debate. But what truly seperates people in this city comes down to two letters. UC or XU? Or to a color. Black or Blue? It is that simple.

Know where you stand and be proud of where you stand. If your team wins, feel free to revel in its victory. And if your team loses, fret not. Next year's installment is only a year away. So prepare Cincinnati. Prepare for this as if nothing else matters, because for the moment, nothing else does.

 

These Ladies are Once, Twice, Three Times a Champion


The UC Dance team captured their third consecutive national Hip-Hop Championship this past weekend in Orlando. The Hip-Hop discipline was added in 2004 and has been dominated by UC, with the Bearcats winning all three titles. Congratulations ladies.

Also in competition were the UC all-girls cheerleading squad which finished 8th.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

 

What More Can Ben Do?


I had only finished saying that exact statement to a friend while watching the Steelers-Colts game minutes before Ben made the game saving tackle. His numbers for the playoffs are this:

28-43 (65%) for 405 yards, 5 TDs, 1 INT and 1 game saving tackle.

All that's left for him now is to pin the opposition in deep with a punt. Don't laugh, Ben was a master at pinning opponents within the 10, especially the 5, in pooch punt duties at Miami. One of the awards that Big Ben amassed at Miami was MAC Special Teams Player of the Week for his punting. Hopefully Cowher will give him a chance.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

 

Welcome To The Big (EAST) Show

It's Woody coming to you from a packed Shoemaker Center as the #25 UC Bearcats host new Big East rival, Syracuse. Like I said, full house. Total capacity. 13,136 strong. They had to put some of us up in the rafters. Obviously, a lot of the fan interest is coming from UC's strong 13-3 start. But there definitely is a strong pro-Orange contingent in the house. But they're mostly confined up in Section 225. There's a good amount of red and black throughout Fifth Third Arena and they're hopping Cameron-style in the student section.

Cincinnati led for most of the first half until a flukey assist put Syracuse up 25-24 with a little more than five minutes to go. The Cats quickly took back the lead from the foul line. The crowd was loud and rowdy as the refs swallowed their whistle on a few plays. It's been a while since it's been this noisy in this building. It was especially profound when a chant containing a swear word went out after a blown call as Downey was molested going into the lane. It's amazing how much louder folks get when the referees finally get around to making a call. Too bad Syracuse stunned them with a 3-pointer to tie the game at 34 as time ran out on the first half.

The Orange overcame a quick three pointer on the first possession of the second half and took a 40-37 lead, forcing Andy Kennedy to call a timeout to rally the troops. It didn't help as Terrance Roberts took off for a fast break dunk. Two more fast break points followed for Jim Boeheim's squad. Considering this Bearcat team had been so strong in the second half, UC gave up a 10-3 run coming out of the locker room. The crowd was pretty crestfallen until Jihad made a three pointer to bring the score within two. But some no-calls on UC's end of the floor and some whistles on SU's turned those cheers into boos. It was more and more difficult for the crowd to get fired up as the home team fell behind as much as nine. Foul trouble started becoming a factor as Cincinnati went down by 11 with less than 10 to go. CBS Sportsline's midseason coach of the year kept trying to turn things around but momentum, and the calls, were completely pointing towards Upstate New York. Anytime UC went on a little run, the Orangemen would answer with a three point bomb or a nice lay-in under the hoop. Before you knew it, the lead was 15 with 6 minutes to go and the raucous UC chants were replaced with "Let's Go Orange" raining down from Section 225. The crowd officially began to file out with 4 minutes left in the game.

UC may drop to 2-2 in the Big East and the second half performance could certainly have been better. But hopefully this game will have reminded Bearcat fans the fun that can be had at the Shoemaker Center rooting on basketball team.

Friday, January 13, 2006

 

Xavier Heads To 49er Country

The Muskateers are going to experience a disturbing environment that their crosstown rivals are very familiar with: UNC-Charlotte. The 49ers will "welcome" Xavier to their house this weekend before Thursday's big brew-ha-ha at the Cintas Center. Here's a look at the rest of the year for XU.

Jan. 14 @ Charlotte
Jan. 19 Cincinnati
Jan. 22 St. Louis
Jan. 25 @ Temple
Jan. 28 Dayton
Feb. 2 George Washington
Feb. 5 @ St. Louis
Feb. 8 Richmond
Feb. 11 LaSalle
Feb. 15 Fordham
Feb. 18 Duquesne
Feb. 21 @ Dayton
Feb. 25 @ Rhode Island
Feb. 28 St. Joseph
Mar. 4 @ UMass

Then the Muskies host the A-10 Tournament right here in the Queen City.

 

Mock Drafts

It's that time of the year when we put the previous season behind us and look ahead to next year. This Cincinnati Bengals team took the next step to break a major post-season drought. But there are still a few pieces missing for them to make it to the Super Bowl. The team may or may not make a move in the free agent market. The other source of help is the draft.

The NFL draft is so full of possibilities and the world of mock drafts tries to predict some of those possibilities. Sure, most of them don't have the journalistic credentials of Mel Kiper's hair, but they are a good barometer for which players might be available when Marvin Lewis and his staff are on the clock. In fact, the coach said that they sometimes use these mock drafts to simulate war room experiences. The best resource I've found that puts all the online versions into one place is the hailRedskins mock draft list. Again, take these drafts with a grain of salt but you may want to start paying attention to the following names that came up on more than one of the mocks.
DT: Claude Wroten-LSU, Gabe Watson-UM, Orien Harris-Miami, Rodrique Wright-Texas, Broderick Bunkley-FSU
TE: Vernon Davis- Maryland
S: Darnell Bing-USC
The name that came up way more than any other was Rodrique Wright, defensive tackle from the national champs. Other defensive tackles getting Bengal love on these simulations include LSU's Claude Wroten, Gabe Watson, and Orien Harris. USC's Darnell Bing is also getting some consideration at the safety position. Of course, these three positions were the popular prediction for last year's draft and only a handful of a hundred or so mock drafts had Marvin Lewis taking David Pollack.

The NFL's off-season evaluation process is a long one and lots can change between now and when Paul Tagliabue steps to the podium in New York. We're still have a few weeks before the Senior Bowl and are over a month away from the NFL Combine and things become a lot clearer after that. The 2006 draft isn't until April 28 but it's never too soon to start getting familiar with the players who might be sporting stripes in the fall.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

 

Bengals Off-Season of Turmoil Begins

The doctor who did the surgery on the Cincinnati's franchise player called Palmer's knee injury 'potentially career-ending'. As if the time between now and training camp wasn't interesting enough. There's more doubt surrounding whether the Bengals starting QB will be healthy enough to take the opening snap on Week 1 of the 2006 season. And the way that article sounded, he may not be ready at all. Ever again. Just like my big fear. Man, hope I'm not right. Brad Johansen was just on our airwaves saying this report might be a little... pessimistic.

Check out the USA Today off-season outlook for a one-stop shop for all the issues facing this franchise.

 

Wanna Play Some Football?

The Cincinnati Marshals are hosting free agent tryouts this Saturday. There's a registration fee, $60, for players who want to be considered. They'll knock off ten bucks if you pre-register. Saturday will also be the tryouts for the cheerleader squad, the Diamond Deputies. There's no word when the National Indoor Football League season begins.

 

Tonight's Show

The Bengals season came to a rough end this past weekend. We'll take a look at that game and all of the other Bengals off-field drama. There are several developing stories that Bengals fans need to keep a close eye on as they move through the off-season.

Luckily, we will be talking to someone who should have a pretty good idea of what the off-season holds for the Bengals. Brad Johansen, voice of the Bengals will join us tonight at 8:25 as we sort through all of the issues that currently face the Bengals. We'll focus on the four issues currently staring the Bengals in the face and take a look at the Bengals off-season and what they need to do to improve upon this season.

What is your take on the Bengals season? A success? A disappointment? A successful season with a disappointing ending? What moves should the Bengals make in the off-season? Do you have any early prognastications about the Bengals or the NFL in general? Let us know. Call us at 868-9664 or shoot us an email at unabatedsports@gmail.com. As always, all first time callers will receive a gift certificate to Crossroads Sports Bar and Grill.

We will also take a look at this weekends upcoming games as UC welcomes in Syracuse. It's a sellout, finally. How steeped will it be to see UC taking on Syracuse with 13,000 screaming fans in support of them. This team deserves this. Xavier travels to Charlotte. Charlotte is a tough place to play (just ask any UC fan). How will the Muskies fare? Speaking of UC and Xavier, the Crosstown Shootout is a mere 7 days away. I'm already pysched. How about you?

We'll also take a look at this weekends NFL Playoff games. Just because the Bengals are out, doesn't mean that we can't enjoy the greatest proffesional sport in the US. We'll give you our picks against the spread. For entertainment purposes only.... rrrright.

Join us tonight as we try and get through all of this. We want to hear from you. 868-9664.

Guests:
Brad Johansen, Voice of the Bengals and Channel 12 Sports Director

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

 

Chide The Chippewas!

The RedHawks try to improve to 5-0 in MAC play tonight in Oxford. Tipoff is set for 7:00 at Millet Hall. As you can see below, all but the ESPN Bracket Buster game are conference games. So, basically, they're going to have to win the MAC to get into the Big Dance.

Jan. 11 Central Michigan
Jan. 14 @ Ball State
Jan. 18 Toledo
Jan. 21 @ Western Michigan
Jan. 24 Kent State
Jan. 26 @ Akron
Jan. 29 @ Ohio
Feb. 1 Bowling Green
Feb. 4 Buffalo
Feb. 12 Ball State
Feb. 15 Ohio
Feb. 18 ESPN Bracket Buster
Feb. 22 Akron
Feb. 25 @ Kent State
Mar. 1 @ Bowling Green
Mar. 4 Buffalo

Then hopefully a home game for the first round of the MAC Tournament on March 6th followed by the rest of the tourney in Cleveland.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

 

So Close, And Yet So Far

The UC Bearcats played one of the best teams in the land real tough in their house, but came up short last night 70-59. Worse news than that was Armein Kirkland is lost to a knee injury for the rest of the year. That makes the Big East schedule seem even more difficult to navigate through. Cincinnati is 2-1 in the conference so far and 13-3 overall. What was once considered a lost season has shown a lot of promise. Can Andy Kennedy's team put together enough wins in the rest of their schedule to keep alive their NCAA Tournament streak? Here's a look at the rest of their schedule:
Jan. 14 Syracuse
Jan. 19 @ Xavier
Jan. 22 Rutgers
Jan. 25 @ Louisville
Jan. 28 @ Georgetown
Jan. 31 South Florida
Feb. 4 @ West Virginia
Feb. 6 Louisville
Feb. 12 Pittsburgh
Feb. 15 @ Syracuse
Feb. 17 Providence
Feb. 23 Villanova
Feb. 28 @ Seton Hall
Mar. 4 West Virginia
Then it's off to the Big East tournament in the Big Apple. Then after that? Maybe another trip to the NCAA Tournament, despite one of the most turbulant off-seasons in school history.

Monday, January 09, 2006

 

Marvin to Make Changes in Off-Season

Coach Marvin Lewis is not happy with just making the playoffs. The Bengals head coach said that he will seek players who are "finishers." Willie Anderson and several other Cincinnati players are fully on board with changes.

The Bengals struggled down the stretch of the season and in the end of some games. It's obvious that changes need to be made. But Coach Lewis is not seeking to overhaul the team through free agency. He much more prefers building through the draft. A LOT of offseason questions are sitting there waiting to be answered. Marvin will have to do his best coaching job ever this year... in the off season. We'll have to wait and see what anwers coach Lewis puts to the questions.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

 

Post Game Post Mortem

I don't know what was more painful: Watching Carson Palmer's knee buckle or the Cincinnati defense continually collapse when it was needed most. Even without the franchise quarterback, the offense was able to build a ten point lead on two different occasions. The defense could not give up those advantages soon enough. It's been the same story all season long. If they weren't creating turnovers, they would hemorrhage yards. It was all or nothing. Either they'd end the drive or roll over and play dead. This unit needs a killer instinct. It needs to step down on an opponent and squash them like Marcus Vick would. They needed to step up and get the game under control early. Instead, they step aside and give up touchdowns.

In a few days, I'll calm down and look back at this season as a special time. But I'm too dissapointed right now. I'm really hoping that when the Men in Stripes take the field again in a few months we'll see a defense that can actually compliment this high-powered offense and not force them to come out with their best performance week in and week out.

Friday, January 06, 2006

 

Dave Lapham's Keys to the Game

If you missed our interview with Dave Lapham on Thursday night, he gave us his 2 things that each team need to do to win:

For the Bengals -
Turnovers... cause them. The Bengals can overcome a defense with some issues if they win the turnover battle.
Field Position... win it. The two games between these two teams this year were vastly different in starting field position. Get some hidden yards with special teams and turnovers.

For the Steelers -
Run the ball... See Willie. See Willie run. Run Willie run.
Run the ball... See The Bus. See The Bus Run. Run Bus run.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

 

Thursday Night's Show... Playoff Edition

Do you smell that in the air? It's the smell of a home playoff game. I don't have to tell you what this means to the city. You know. You've lived here. And if you haven't lived here long, I'm sure that you can figure it out.

There are a lot of questions for this weekends game against the Steelers. So of course, we are going to talk to the man who knows more about this team, than almost any one else, Dave Lapham. Lap will join us at 8:25 and give us "all the info that we need to know" about this weekends game.

Wow! What else can you say after watching those 4 BCS games? Well, the only other things I could say would draw the attention of the FCC and we don't want that. The games got better as they were played. Who knew the OSU Fiesta Bowl win over ND would turn out to be the most boring game of the 4... and it was awesome. Did Vince Young just jump over Matt Leinart on draft day and end up in New Orleans? If so, that's his problem, but what a clutch performer. Pete Carrol has rolled the dice many times before and he's gotten over 30 straight wins out of it, but last night it cost him. Should have punted. But he also gave a really nice interview immediately after the loss. We'll talk about the Bowl games and some of the highlights from one of the best bowl seasons ever. And Woody, who is in sunny southern California will check in and give us the reaction from the heartbroken Trojan fans. I'll be interested to hear what he has to say.

Conference play got underway last night for 3 area teams. 2 were successful and Dayton continues to struggle. Hopefully Coach Gregory can get things righted up there.
- UC rolled over DePaul 82-60. A couple things jump out at me from this game. Eric Hicks had 12 offensive rebounds. Seriously. That's what the box score says. That is absord. And Cedric McGowan had 20 total rebounds. What did those two put in their Wheaties?
- UC nexts head to Marquette for a Saturday game. You WILL want to hear what I have to say about Downey versus their superstar Freshman point guard. I saw Dominic James play in High School several times. I have the low down on him.
- Xavier came from behind to knock off St. Joe's 62-58. Xavier worked the ball around to find 4 players in double figures. The Muskie win snapped a 13-game home A-10 winning streak for the Hawks. The last loss for St. Joe's? Xavier. Nice work Musketeers.
- Dayton fell 66-56 to Fordham. The difference was from downtown where the Flyers were 4-14 and the Rams were 9-16. Dayton falls to 8-7, 0-1 on the season.
- Not to forget Miami, the RedHawks were in action Tuesday night as they picked up a key conference win on the road at N. Illinois. Miami moves to 2-0 in the MAC.
We'll talk about the conference roads ahead for all these schools.

A couple of other things to make note of discussing:
- It's Chad Johnson's birthday on Monday. What would be a good gift to give the colorful WR?
- We'll give you some of our sports fans resolutions. We want to hear some of yours for the new season.
- And if we get time, High School hoops in Cincy and the surrounding area are big. You have the triumverate at NCH, Adrion Graves at Hughes (bound for XU next season), all the GCL North, and all the GMC. Plus some road trips to consider.

Also, we sent Woody to sunny Southern California to report on the Rose Bowl. He spent most of the time screwing around instead of actually working, but he does have an interesting report to give on the fan response out in LA to the Longhorn win. That promises to be good.

As always, we want to hear from you. We will even entice you to call or email by giving away free stuff. We have $10 Gift Certificates from Crossroads and Miami basketball tickets to give away. So drop us a line at 868-9664 or shoot us an email at unabatedsports@gmail.com.

Guests:
Dave Lapham, Bengals Radio Color Analyst @ 8:25
Jermaine Henderson, Miami University Basketball Assistant Coach @ 9:25

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

 

Orange You Glad It's Over

I thought the Orange Bowl would never end. But then, again, I didn't care if it never did. It was entertainment at its finest. Hi stakes with loads of tension make for great drama.

My 28 year old heart couldn't take all the missed kicks, so I have no idea how JoePa and Bobby Bowden could live through it. I'm not sure if it was a good game or not. It was a comedy of errors that at the end of the night turned out to be tragic for only one team. One things for sure though, it was entertaining.

And I was not aware of the fact that Doug Brien and Jay Feely still had college eligiblity left. I don't think I have ever seen two kickers simultaneously struggle that badly. If only Ty Webb were there, I'm sure that he could have given them the simple advice to "Be the ball."

But nonetheless, it was an entertaining game. Very much so. And how cool was it to see Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden do the interview together on the field after the game. That was a special moment for sports fans. One that we don't get to witness too often. I would love to be a fly on the wall and listen to the two of them swap old stories (especially when they dish some dirt on somebody else... or themself).

After OSU's Fiesta Bowl win, I thought to myself... I hope all the BCS games can be this entertaining. Little did I know then, that that one would hold the least drama. Here's hoping for another great one in the Rose Bowl.

P.S. One note to ABC and the BCS directors - For the love of God, please figure out a way to end the games before midnight.

Monday, January 02, 2006

 

OSU-ND Fiesta Bowl Gathering

If you haven't made plans for the Fiesta Bowl yet (or even if you have) join us out at Crossroads Sports Bar and Grill in Mason. It is like our usual Monday Night Football gatherings, but in the afternoon instead. So it's Monday Afternoon football.

So join us at 4:30 for the big game that has many tri-staters conflicted. Most from the Buckeye state grew up Ohio State fans. But, if you're catholic and/or Irish and from the Midwest, you most likely have always pulled for Notre Dame as well. Either way, this will be a great game. The Irish look to end their 7 game bowl losing streak while the Buckeyes look to improve upon their recent success in bowl games. This game is bigger than the Rose Bowl around here.

We will be there around 4:30 for the fun and festivities of the Bowl season. And the first 3 people to show up will receive $10 Crossroads gift certificates. I'll also have a couple of sets of Miami basketball tickets to their doubleheader on the 7th to give away. Free food, free basketball tickets, the biggest wings, the best deep fried pretzels around and great company. You can't beat it. Bring your friends. Bring your neighbors. Bring your neighbor's friends and friend's neighbors. I'll see you out there.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

 

Woody's Unabated Moments of 2005

Being a part of a radio show allows you some opportunities that the average sports fan just can't take advantage of. Here's some of the brights spots this past year that wouldn't have been possible without the backing of the show, the station, and the listeners.
And those were just some of the fun times Unabated Sports brought me in 2005. Looking forward to more in 2006. Happy New Year, everybody!

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