Friday, March 31, 2006

 

Another Wolverine For The Bengals In The First Round?

This week, Scott Wright put up a new mock draft at NFL Draft Countdown and there are three rounds! Two year ago, Cincinnati used their first pick on Chris Perry, runningback from Michigan. And if Scott's right (yep, pun intended) another Wolverine might be a Bengal.

Rouund 1, 24th pick overall: Gabe Watson, DT, Michigan Wolverines
From what I've heard, he has a rep as a bit of an underachiever. He's got maybe the most talent of any defensive tackle in the draft but didn't play up to his level his last year in Ann Arbor. Will Marvin take a chance on a guy like that and be able to coach him up? Does Scott think the signing of Sam Adams change where the Bengals go with this pick?

Round 2, 55th pick overall: Marcedes Lewis, TE, UCLA
I'd be skeptical if he were still available this late. Some mocks even have him going in the first round. But he's not as fast as the rest of this tight end class and his build is described as "slight." Still, it'd be interesting to put someone like him into the Bengals offense and have a viable target at that position.

Round 3, 91st pick overall: Elvis Dumervil, DE, Louisville
This guy certainly produced at the college level. No matter how you slice it, 20 sacks in season is pretty impressive. But does he have the size to make an impact at the NFL level?

Head over to NFL Draft Countdown to see speculation on what the Bengals might do as well as where college football's biggest stars will be playing on Sundays. And keep going back. Scott will continue to update as April 28 gets closer. We'll also try to get him back on the show before Reggie Bush goes off the board.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

 

Final Four... Love Style

Perry Seal and Lauren Kramer, the George Mason of nuptials, have made it to the Final Four of Mike and Mike's Marriage Madness thanks to your help. But your help is needed now in an even bigger way. The Cincinnati couple, and Miami grads, face off with the number 1 seed today, so your vote is needed now more than ever.

Not only are they the number 1 team, but they are from Cleveland. We can't lose to Cleveland. I said it two weeks ago and I'll say it again. I don't care what the competition is, I do not want to lose to Cleveland. To once again quote the great Sam Wyche, "You don't live in Cleveland. This is Cincinnati." Do it for Sam!

Together we can get our local couple to the next round and banish the evil doers from Cleveland. Don't let the city down. Go and vote now. Spread the word, the vote needs to get out. And Perry has informed me that they go to 3 or 4 Bengals games a year and if they win, some of the winnings will be spent on Bengals season tickets.

Vote Now.

 

Today's Show... Big Coaching Wheel Keep on Turning

Okay, so a few things have changed since we were on last week. Andy Kennedy has packed his bags and left for Mississippi. Mick Cronin has replaced him at Cincinnati. And Bob Huggins is taking Manhattan by storm. No, not that Manhattan. Manhattan, Kansas.

There are a lot of people reacting to this, and you'll get your chance on the show. We want to hear from you. Call us during the show at 868-9664 or shoot us an email at unabatedsports@gmail.com. There are other things to talk about as well, but before we lay out some topics for you to nibble on, here is our great guest line up.

Guests:

4:25 - Mike Greenberg, Co-host of the national ESPN Radio show "Mike and Mike in the Morning"

5:00 (Maybe) - Dan Hoard, Voice of the Cincinnati Bearcats (if he has time while the movers work)

5:45 - Mike DeCourcy, The Sporting News head college basketball writer.

In the 6 O'clock hour - John Broeckling, who has covered Murray State during the duration of Mick Cronin's time as head coach

And of course, America's favorite new game, Rapid Fire.

Special Guest Host Perry Seal will join us. Make sure to vote for Perry and Lauren in the Marriage Madness contest.

Good guest list, huh? But you want some topics to chew on. You know the deal. We throw out a bunch and see how many we get to.

Mick Cronin is the new head coach.
-Your reaction. Happy or not?
-If not, who do you think would have been a better fit?
-Our/Your impressions of him.

Bob Huggins at K-State, A-K at Ole Miss, Cronin here.
-Who will have a better year next year and into the future?
-Are we going to see K-State gear around town next year? How much?
-" " " " " Ole Miss gear around town next year? How much?

Final Four time
-Who are you taking? Who do you want to see win?
-Is the mid-major as a Final Four an anomoly or serious threat?
-Is this the greatest Tournament of all-time?
-What else?

Reds
-What do they have to do to get people back to the ballpark?
-We'll look at some ideas and take some of yours. Give us something different.
-My solution? One word: Dance Team. Okay that's two words, but you get the idea.

Bengals
-They have been rather quiet in free agency so far. Does that concern you?
-Is Joey Harrington a good fit if he comes here?

NFL free agency winners and losers so far.

College basketball recruiting
-Bob is getting the top ranked power forward in the country in the 2007 class by adding a Charlotte assistant coach who recruited him. Bob is being Bob. Did you expect anything different?
-O.J. Mayo, Bill Walker... where is the "freak show" going in 2 years?
-4 of OSU's big 5 for next year played in a state championship game this past weekend and the 5th guy is a JUCO Transfer. 3 of the Seniors coming in played in the McDonalds All-American game last night. Did you catch it?

And more...

As we said, we want to hear from you. Call us during the show at 868-9664 or email us at unabatedsports@gmail.com.


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

 

All's Fair in Love, War and Apparently Basketball

For all Bob Huggins Lovers or Haters, this is a MUST read!

Et tu, Brute? That is what Bobby Lutz has to be asking today after Bob Huggins hired away a little known Charlotte assistant in the hopes of getting Michael Beasley, the top rated power forward in the 2007 class according to scout.com, to commit to K-State next year and not Charlotte like he had planned. A package deal at its finest. Nothing against NCAA code. Actually, they happen quite often, but usually it doesn't involve stealing a college coach away to do it. It usually involves hiring the kids dad or high school coach or AAU coach.

To be completely fair, Huggins did go through proper channels by contacting Lutz to see if he could talk to Hill, the Charlotte assistant coach. Has anyone ever said no when someone requests to talk to someone else's coach? Either way, the loss of Beasley is a blow to Charlotte.

Also of note... Gregg Doyle and CBS.Sportsline.com is also reporting this in the article:

"Next year Huggins plans to hire Dwaine Barnes, probably as his director of basketball operations. Who is Dwaine Barnes? He's the AAU coach and legal guardian of 6-4 point guard O.J. Mayo and 6-5 shooting guard Bill Walker of North College Hill "

It's juicy, it's hot, it's Huggins. And it brings a smile to your face. For better or for worse, for good or bad, you can look at it anyway you want. But sometimes it's good to know that some things never change.

P.S. Thanks to Bearcatnews.com for the link to the Rivals.com article

 

Cincy Sports Caught in a Pickle

Make that a sportspickle actually. For those of you not familiar with sportspickle.com, they are like the onion on sports. Essentially they make up stories and quotes strictly to entertain, not to inform. Although, they do tend to echo popular sentiment from time to time.

This time it was Bob Huggins and Chad Johnson who were the focus of two pickle stories. Go check it out for yourself.

And while you're doing that, check out sportsgoons.com. They are very similar but add more quick hit mock headlines to the mix. This week their headlines include: "FEMA Sent in to Clean Up New York Knicks" and "MIKE TYSON RESORTS TO SELLING GEORGE FOREMAN GRILLS." Now that's good stuff.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

 

Indiana guy? Apparently not


So an interesting name has come up in the search for the next head coach of IU. Kelvin Sampson, king of the denim-ish button down shirt and khakis look, is apparently taking the job as skipper in Bloomington.

This all comes on the heels of a potential illegal phone call situation at Oklahoma, which the NCAA is set to rule on in the next coming month or so. Also, this runs in wild contradication to what many 'experts' felt about who would/could/should be the next in line to follow in the 'He'll never be Bobby Knight' chair.

I personally think this is a great move, not just for Indiana, but for Sampson as well. It was becoming evident that Oklahoma and Sampson simply weren't finding a way to get it done together anymore, and both needed a fresh start.

On a sidenote, the thing that intrigues me most about this move, is the similarity between the two situations of Indiana and Cincinnati. Both found themselves forced to go to the alter with bridesgrooms they hadn't necessarily chosen, and couldn't find a way to get out of that nuptial agreement without a debacle.
Secondly, it is worth noting that Indiana has taken far longer to cut its Bobby Knight ties, than UC took to get rid of the Huggins era. It is also worth noting, that Indiana ended up with a decidedly more proven coach, although they took the long road to get there.

So..this all begs the question - better pickup: Cronin or Sampson? This is all speculation of course, but after Wednesday, we'll be able to answer the question.

 

Cronin Lands First Recruit

Cincinnati State small forward, John Williamson announced that he would play his next two years at UC. The 6-6 Williams was a standout for the Surge, averaging 27.4 points and 11.7 rebounds a game. He is very athletic and gets up and down the floor very well.

Cincinnati State Head Coach (and former UC player) Andre Tate makes a comparison to a former player. "He's more like (former UC player) Ruben Patterson with a jump shot." That's a good thing. For now, it's nice to just have more people on board for next year.

That starts to put a little form to the lineup. A very early look at things as they stand now:
PG - Devan Downey, SG - ???, SF - John Williamson, PF - Cedric McGowan, C - Abdul Herrera

We'll just have to wait and see what comes in the future.

 

It's Time For The Engaged Eight

Local couple Lauren and Perry have moved on in ESPN Radio's Marriage Madness contest. You can hear them talk about how sports brings them together and can kinda cause some friction, too. See their promotional video and watch Lauren display better hands than some NFL players. Thanks to you, they advanced past their first round match-up... against a couple from Cleveland. This time, they're up against a couple of Yankee fans! Yech!

Get over there and vote now! The polls are only up until 6 today! Go now!

Monday, March 27, 2006

 

Sporting News Updates on Local Teams

The Sporting News usually has quick hit kind of stuff perfect for my attention deficit mind while on the internet. So go check out these quick hit snippets of info.

Reds Report (More in the actual article)
"RHP Bronso Arroyo, acquired in the trade for OF Wily Mo Pena, will be the No. 2 starter. Coming off 205 innings last season, Arroyo gives the Reds something they've had in short supply -- someone that can work deep in games consistently."
"RHP David Weathers and LHP Kent Mercker are first in line in the Reds' closer-by-committee situation, but RHP Todd Coffey will have the role to himself by midseason."

Bengals Beat (More in actual article)
"Walking without a limp and in great spirits, QB Carson Palmer is on schedule for his goal of taking the first snap of the 2006 regular season."
"The club needs to consider making SLB David Pollack a full-time defensive end because he shows great burst to the ball and has enough power to take on most offensive linemen."

 

Seth Davis vs. Bonnie Bernstein

Anything that involves Bonnie Bernstein is going to draw my attention. So this Q&A with Duke alum Davis and Maryland alum Bernstein really caught my eye. Great fun with the both of them. They had some great give and take as evidenced by statements like this:
"Seth Davis: I would never think to talk smack about a school with such a long streak of NIT appearances."
They break down the NCAA tourney and generally have some fun, including whose ass would be part of a robo-player constructed from different body parts from different players. Definately a quick must read.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

 

Top Ten Basketball Programs of All Time

This weekend, some folks from the TenMojo website gave us the head's up on something that might be of interest to us sports nuts: Ten Best NCAA Basketball Programs of All Time. They also said they would give us some pub if we put up their list and I am such a link-whore. Anyway, here's the criteria they used to rank the schools.
1 - All-Time Won-Loss Record
2 - Tournament and Final Four Appearances
3 - Program reputation, aura and fan support
4 - Output of NBA-bound athletes

5 - Number of Championships
Based on this, where do you think UK ranks on there? Did UC make the list? #1 should be no surprise if you know your history but there's a couple teams on there that I'm not totally in agreement with. Especially #10. But maybe I just don't know that much about them.

Friday, March 24, 2006

 

Meet Your New Head Coach!

Mick Cronin has been named the new head coach of UC basketball. Cronin, who was a master recruiter while at UC, was most recently the head coach of the Murray State Racers. His deal is rumored to be a 6 year deal.

Here is a large portion of what was in the press release:

CINCINNATI, Ohio — Mick Cronin, who played a key role in the recent past of the University of Cincinnati’s basketball program, will now lead its future.
“Since becoming AD on Dec. 1, I have talked to countless coaches, commissioners, administrators and other experts around the college basketball world. The one name that constantly came up in these discussions was Mick Cronin,” stated UC athletic director Mike Thomas.
“Mick is held in high regard as an up-and-coming head coach by several coaches in the BIG EAST Conference,” Thomas continued. “He is considered among the best as a recruiter, and that comes both from coaches and recruiting experts evaluating the results of his recruiting efforts, and the families of the young men who have great respect for the way he communicates to them.
“One of the important qualifications that Mick brings to the program is his previous ties to it,” Thomas added. “He has been a part of our great tradition here at Cincinnati. Throughout this process I have said that I would take into consideration the opinion of our fans, but I have been focused on finding a coach who could link the proud past of the UC program with our promising future.”
The 34-year old Cronin is widely-recognized in the college basketball circles as one of the nation’s top up-and-coming coaches. He compiled a 69-23 record during his three seasons as head coach at Murray State, directing the Racers to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances.
Cronin, who built a reputation for his ability to recruit top talent during his seven seasons as an assistant coach, wasted little time establishing his credentials as a head coach upon taking over the Murray State program in 2003. Cronin directed the racers to a 28-6 record, the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. His 28 wins is the fifth-most for a first-year head coach in NCAA history.
Cronin piloted the Racers to a 24-6 ledger this past season. Murray State claimed the Ohio Valley Conference regular season title with a 17-3 record, then won the OVC Tournament. Cronin was voted league coach of the year honors.
Cronin made an immediate impact as a recruiter, playing a key role in signing five Bearcats who went on to be NBA draft picks: Steve Logan, DerMarr Johnson, Pete Mickeal, Kenny Satterfield, and Jason Maxiell.


When we did our special Bob Huggins show the day after it was announced he was leaving, Mick Cronin is the guy that I said was at the top of my list. I have not wavered from that, and I am extremely pleased with this hire. Admittedly, I would rather have him than Andy Kennedy. That is not a knock on Andy Kennedy, and I echo Woody's sentiments and wish him all the best at Ole' Miss, but I would rather have Mick. I speak for myself and no one else, but I am so completely thrilled with having Mick Cronin in the fold. Of all the coaches that were mentioned as candidates, he was the one that I thought could best win sooner than later. Now it is up to him to start an institutionalized mentality of winning both on and off the court (and past the first weekend of the NCAA Tourney for that matter).

Agree? Disagree? I would love to hear who you thought they should have hired, rather that be Andy Kennedy, Mick Cronin or someone else. (But I am going to truly miss AK's candor. I'm sure that he'll develop some more coach speak once he gets to Ole Miss as means for survival.)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

 

I'm a Rebels Fan Now

Friend of the radio program, Mike DeCourcy, is reporting that Andy Kennedy will be the next coach at Ole Miss. Good luck to you, sir. We Bearcat fans really appreciate what you have done this year and hope you find the administrative support that was so lacking here in Cincinnati. You and your team fought hard to bring the fans back to Clifton. The fight begins again now that the Powers That Be at UC let you, and the goodwill you've built up, get away. Although, hiring Cronin might help. He was the guy I wanted if they didn't keep Andy. I still bleed black and red, but I will also root for Andy Kennedy and his Rebels, too.

 

As If Things Weren't Hard Enough Already

The hits just keep on coming: two UC starters have been ruled ineligible. Not only for tonight's game, but for the game(s) in Madison Square Garden if UC is fortunate enough to survive tonight. But the likelihood against that is pretty much staggering. Even the Big O was pretty crestfallen as he took his usual courtside seat. South Carolina has played very well as late. They made the SEC tournament final, beat Western Kentucky in Columbia and Florida State in Talahassee to get this far in the NIT. UC didn't play well but did enough to win against Minnesota earlier this week. They're going to have pull out all the stops to come away with a win tonight.

Say what you want about this undermanned team, they came out inspired. An early 11-5 lead was evidence of that. But that quickly vanished as SC hit a 3-pointer followed by four points on one possession. I don't know what it's been lately, but Eric Hicks has been taking at least one three per game. Fortunately, he's made a decent amount. The most recent restored UC's lead, 16-14. The crowd hit their loudest so far when the Cats went to 21 with a seven point lead. They were also pretty loud when recent starter Ronald Allen came down with a tough board and an excellent put-back.

Halftime arrived with a 33-27 Bearcat lead. Not bad for a team that most of us in this building felt had little to no chance of winning. The two guys who competed in the free throw competition both brandished "Hire Andy" signs as they went off the court. Those little buggers are everywhere tonight. There are shirts that support the "real" Coach K and a few claiming to be Kennedy's Krew. The first organized HIRE ANDY chant finally started with about 3 minutes to go in the half, but died quickly afterwards. When the coach returned to the floor, the entire crowd got behind this chant.

After another dance team-less halftime show, the Gamecocks seemed to have the early momentum cutting their defecit to 4. It looks like Allen accidently slugged an SC player in the mouth going for a rebound and there's a lot of blood. Not good. I get queasy around blood. I also get queasy when UC gives up a lead, like they did with 16:26 to go, 37-37. They gave it up completely when a bad Tilford pass got picked off for a fast break bucket. The some white guy buried one from deep to go up five, 37-42. The first spark of the second half began with a Hicks block who fed Downey on a fast break for a three-point play. Chadd Moore follwed that up with a nice lay-in of his own to tie the score. Mr. Basketball South Carolina tied it up when the school from his home state went back up.

The team really fell apart as the game got under 10 minutes to go. Someone named "Miller" came into the game and it became obvious that a lot of these subs were not ready for what they were asked to do and fill in for the regulars. Guys were out of position and physical exhaustion seemed to be setting in pretty early. Mental frustration was right there, too. With less than 5 minutes to go, South Carolina kept withstanding Bearcat runs. Until 2:15 to go, that is. The crowd was finally fueling this squad to tie things up at 59.

The Cats could not take advantage as SC was the one to jump ahead with a bucket. Cedric McGowan missed the top of a 1 and 1. UC was forced to foul with :30 to go. The Gamecocks broke the press and took a two possession lead. As UC faced defeat with that defecit and only 10 seconds to make it up, there were still some sporadic vocal support of the interim head coach. As the game was all but over, THANK YOU, ANDY rang out. As Eric Hicks came off the floor, there was a Standing O for UC's #2 all-time shot-blocker as he was subbed out. Another followed for Chadd Moore, the only other senior playing tonight. There would be one more meaningless long shot made but there would be no joy in Clifton, the mighty Bearcats did strike out.

In the post-game press conference, Devan Downey talked about how he was still proud of this team and the way they fought all season long. DD indicated he would stick around next year, regardless of who was the coach. He just hoped whoever was in charge would just give him players around him. I'll admit, it was hard to hear exactly what he was saying as you could hear the fans chanting HIRE ANDY even in the interview room in the back. When Coach Kennedy made it back to face the media, he was vaguely coy with his response about whether his future would be in red and black or somewhere else. He considered today the end of the Bob Huggins era at UC, ironically on the day he was announced as coach at another school. And as Andy Kennedy left the conference, he received a round of applause from the media who covered this amazing roller coaster of a season.

 

Trading One Cat For Another Kind of Cat

One of the big questions is now answered: Bob Huggins will coach at Kansas State next season. Huggs is trading Clifton for Manhattan. It's an interesting choice considering how many options he probably had. Sure, it's the Big 12, but I kinda feel like he could have done better. What do you think? Where should he have gone?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

 

Your Last Chance To Chant "Hire Andy"


Andy sign
Photo courtesy of Bearcat Insider.
Win or lose Thursday night, this will be the final home game of the 2005-06 season. Not only is this your last chance to see Eric Hicks and this team play on the home floor, but there's one more chance to voice your opinion about the Coach Kennedy situation. There was plenty of "Hire Andy" action at the Minnesota game Tuesday night. Another night of that might be enough to convince the administration that they don't have to search for what they already have. To get tickets, call 556-CATS for the 6:00 tip-off and I'll see you at Fifth Third Arena.

 

Special Show Date... So Many Questions


We have been moved to Wednesday this week to accomodate the circus that is an NCH basketball game. 1450 will broadcast the NCH game Thursday night. So you get us a day early. Good for you.

The guest list is pretty clear today, so you will have plenty of time to call in and make your voice heard. And since there are fewer than normal guests, we can get to a lot of stuff. So this weeks show is the Q and A edition. We have a boat load of questions to answer on a range of topics. And to give you an idea of what those topics and questions are, here you go:

Reds:
1.) What does the Arroyo-Wily Mo trade mean for the club? (Good things obviously, in more ways than one.)
2.) What will be the Reds Opening Day Lineup?
3.) Will David Weathers keep the closer job the whole year?
3a.) Who, if anyone, is most likely to take the job away?
4.) Who has been tearing the cover off the ball?
5.) Who is a Future Reds stars?
6.) What else?

NCAA Tourney:
1.) Who are your Final 4 picks now?
2.) Which Sweet 16 matchup are you most looking forward to?
3.) What game beyond the Sweet 16 do you most want to see?
4.) Are the Mid-Major conferences here to stay, or is this a bit of a fluke?
5.) Is this year even that big of a deal, considering the same number of Mid-Majors made it to the Sweet 16 2 years ago?
6.) What players do you feel everyone should check out, not counting Morrison and Reddick?
7.) What else?

NIT
1.) Impressed by UC's run so far?
2.) Would a Final Four mean anything to UC fans?
3.) Mid-Majors are quietly knocking off the Power Conferences in the NIT.

College Coaches
1.) Our wishlist list of candidates for UC job.
2.) Likely candidates for the UC job.
3.) What about Bob? Where is he going? What would be a good fit? Is he going to go to the NBA as an assistant?

NFL Free Agency so far
1.) Winners
2.) Losers

Miami Hockey (WMOH is carrying the game on Saturday if they win on Friday) 1.) They grabbed a bunch of awards
2.) They have a tough road ahead with BC (10th in poll) and then most likely BU (1st in poll). Both games played in Mass. That's hard.
3.) What are their chances?

What, if anything, else from the world of sports?

Special Update. We will be joined in studio by Perry Seal. Perry and his fiance Lauren are in the "Engaged 8" of the Mike and Mike Marriage Madness contest.

We want to hear from you. Call us during the show at 868-9664 or shoot us an email anytime at unabatedsports@gmail.com.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

 

Licensed to Kill Gophers by the Government of the United Nations

I was wondering what kind of crowd would be here for the UC's second NIT match-up. Minnesota and their Golden Gophers are the opponent. There was a decent crowd for Friday night's game, especially considering how other empty locales were. Did you see that Maryland game? You could've chucked a ball into the stands and not hit anyone nine out of ten times. That also brings up another point: the Bearcats got over their NCAA snub and got business done in the NIT. The Terps did not. As bummed as the Bearcats were, at least they lived up to their #1 seeding unlike the turtles.

Something interesting came over the loud speaker about 20 minutes before the tip-off. Apparently, the NIT has rules against large signs that need to be held by more than one person. There was also mention of "objectionable" content. I wonder if that vague terminology extends to anti-Zimpher signs.

Everything felt off-kilter at the beginning of tonight. Passes were not crisp. The defense had holes. The problems extended off the court. The student sections were not in synch with their cheers. They couldn't even get through the national anthem without a snafu. The pep band was supposed to do it, then some pre-recorded stuff came out over the loud speakers. Instead of the marching band refusing to yield, we had an Ashlee Simpson moment. At least the brass section didn't try to do a little jig to cover up the snafu.

An Andy Kennedy TO didn't seem to have too much in terms of reversing the tide. A media time-out seemed to do a little better. 7-11 is better than 2-8. Still, Hicks was struggling. Spending too much time around the three point line, not going strong to the hole, even travelling. One player who was feeling it early was Chadd Moore. He didn't even dress Friday due to back pain but two transition baskets have kept Cincinnati in this game. And considering the Gophers can go 9 deep, the Cats will need that kind of help off the bench all night long.

Another ESPN break actually gave UC another jolt. Connor Barwin got a nice steal (unfortunately, he followed that up with a long miss on the offensive end) but another steal lead to James White getting the bucket to tie the game and the foul shot to take the lead back 12-11. The football player tried another long shot but this one actually had much better success. A Chadd Moore 3 made it 19-11 for the first (hopefully not last) big lead of the night. He may be playing through pain, but he's had a smile on his face for most of his time on the court and has played well in the early going.

With 4:47, Eric Hicks finally showed up on the offenise side of the court with a massive dunk. 29-19. Davan Downey has looked a lot sharper when driving to the basket. Unfortunately, he has also lapsed at times on the free throw line. Both evident here tonight. Hicks followed that dunk with a pretty 3-point shot. It was so nice, he tried it twice. This time with a foul, too. 39-27. Maybe I should stop doubting the big men when they drop it like it's hot. A ten point halftime lead? Can't argue with those results. I'm hoping they hold the lead better than they did Friday night when they let the 49ers back in the game after early domination. Damn Charlotte.

Halftime was not as good as normal as there was no performance by the three-time national championship dance team. The "I Like To Move It, Move It" music video from Madagascar did not make up for that. I guess the fans needed something to get them through the intermission so the HIRE ANDY chant sounded a little sooner than usual.

The first five minutes of the second half were kinda sluggish. Minnesota got closer but UC still had a decent cushion. About the 12 minute mark things seemed to pick up again as the Bearcats regained their double digit lead. Even passing the 10 minute point, still no major change. The lead stayed about the same and there remained some glaring mental errors as well as some nice runs. One time, they didn't even have someone to take the inbound pass after a Minnesota basket.

At the 4 1/2 point, Moore collided with a Gopher on a long rebound and asked to come out. Kennedy declined. It appeared he didn't want to let Downey back in the game. Moore stayed in and fed a nice pass to Hicks that allowed him to get to the line to put UC up by 12 with about 3 1/2 left. Andy began to wave his hands, inciting the crowd. They followed with another round of HIRE ANDYs. It was heard a few more times as UC essentially ran the ball for the last couple minutes. 76-62. The Bearcats play South Carolina right back here Thursday night at 6:00 p.m. Expect a few more chants then, as well.

 

UC Coaching Gossip


This from recent show guest and writer for CBS.Sportsline.com's Gregg Doyel about the UC head coaching gig:

"Cincinnati: If it's not interim coach Andy Kennedy -- and it should be interim coach Andy Kennedy -- the longtime buzz has said this job is between Murray State's Mick Cronin and George Washington's Karl Hobbs. However, North Carolina State coach Herb Sendek is a late-arriving dark horse. And let's be honest: Sendek would be perfect. He's a winner, he once coached down the road at Miami (Ohio), he's a Midwest native (Pittsburgh) and he's got the Eagle Scout personal life Cincinnati craves."

As a RedHawk, this excites me greatly. I would totally be behind this hire.

 

Up Yours, Billy Packer

I have always been annoyed by Billy Packer, but didn't realize just how hated he was until I started looking around. His idiotic rants about history and his love for all things Big Conferences have put him in the national spotlight as a moron.

You would think that he would have caught at least one MVC game right? Oh well. So, to give people a place to voice their displeasure with Billy Packer and to lift up those schools sticking it up his a$$, we have created a sister site to Unabatedsports.com.

I present to you... Up Yours Billy Packer. Go check it out. Make your voice heard.

 

UC-Minnesota Preview

The Bearcats season has extended beyond the first weekend of the NCAA Tourney for the first time in 5 years. Okay, so it's not quite the same, but it's still darn good basketball. UC is on a mission to prove that they were robbed of an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. And there is only one way to prove it... win in the NIT.

They continue their season tonight against Minnesota at 9. The Golden Gophers come into tonights game with a record of 16-14. Minnesota is lead by Sr. Vincent Grear. The 6-5 guard averages 15.6 points and 6.2 rebounds a game.

Some history is present tonight. This from the UC Game Notes Press Release:
"Tuesday's game will be a rematch of sorts of the first men's basketball game ever played in Fifth Third Arena. Minnesota was the Bearcats' opponent for their inaugural game in the building, then known as the Shoemaker Center. The Golden Gophers were attempting to run out the clock with a 64-63 lead, but lost the ball out of bounds with .8 remaining. Steve Sanders, a fifth-year senior and former football player who had joined the team as a walk-on, sank a game-winning trey on the inbounds. UC has since compiled a 234-33 record in the building."

Also of note tonight, Eric Hicks needs just one block to tie the UC record for most blocked shots in a single season currently held by Kenyon Martin (107) and 3 to tie Jason Maxiell for second on the career list (252).

Tickets are still available for tonights games with prices ranging from $15-$25. Parking has also been discounted to $5. Now is an excellent time to go support your Bearcats. The Seniors deserve it. Andy Kennedy deserves it. You deserve a freat atmosphere.

If they win tonight they will meet the winner of the Mar. 21 game between No. 2 Florida State and No. 3 South Carolina in the quarterfinals on Mar. 23. UC would host that game.

Monday, March 20, 2006

 

Wily Mo hate to see you go


Earlier today, the Reds made their first big big splash, by trading hard hitter Wily Mo Pena for guitar playing cornrow sporting righthander Bronson Arroyo. In terms of a baseball move, this is a tremendous pickup. Not only does Arroyo move to the top of the rotation as the clear ace and opening day starter (sorry Mr. Claussen), he's also obviously the best pitcher that the Reds have had in years.

Bronson Arroyo is a stud. And after watching Buster Olney give the Reds pretty much no shot at even making .500 this year on ESPN's Cold Pizza this morning, this trade is great news. Good job Wayne.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

 

In Case You Missed It

With the start of the NCAA Tournament (and St. Patrick's Day), we tend to miss anything sports related if it doesn't involve the NCAA Tournament. So I thought that I would enlighten you to some of what happened in the wide world of sports these past few days.

1.) Miami's Ice Hockey team came up short in their bid to capture the CCHA Championship as they fell 2-1 to Michigan State Saturday night in the Championship game. But not to fear, the RedHawks still made the NCAA Tournament. They garnered a number 2 seed and will play Friday, March 24th at 7 PM against number 3 seeded Boston College.

2.) The Bengals have brought a former Bearcat back to town with the signing of WR Antonio Chatman. Chatman, a 5-9, 185 pound WR and Punt Returner enjoyed a solid year last season for Green Bay. He had career highs of 49 catches, 549 yards and 4 TDs. More importantly, he looks to help out a punt return unit that ranked 31st in the NFL last year.

3.) I know it's only spring, but I thought it was time for some good news on the Reds front. Ken Griffey, Jr. is back from the World Baseball Classic where he was on fire, hitting .524 (11 for 21) with 3 HRs and 10 RBIs. Reds future ace (keeping our fingers crossed) Homer Bailey was sent back to the Minor Leagues after getting a taste of Major League hitters. He faired quite well, pitching in four games with 7 1/3 innings. He leaves with an ERA of 2.45, a record of 0-0 and a club high 10 strikeouts.

4.) Speaking of the World Baseball Classic, Japan faces an upstart Cuba team on Monday in San Diego in the Championship game.

5.) Some college coaching rumors:

"Kansas State is considering hiring Bob Huggins as coach because that's just how desperate K-State's administration and fan base are to make the Big Dance." -- Kansas City Star

"Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings was reportedly spotted on the Cincinnati campus Friday. Stallings, who watched his team lose to Notre Dame in the first round of the NIT Wednesday, has been rumored to be looking for a way out of Vanderbilt for the past several seasons." -- Mobile Register

Is there anything that I missed? Let me know.

Friday, March 17, 2006

 

Refusin' To Sport Green On THIS St. Patty's Day

I'm sitting courtside at Fifth Third Arena and the traditional color associated with this holiday is conspicuously absent from my wardrobe. The reason: the hated Charlotte 49ers are in town in all their green glory. The former Conference USA rival is top on my hate list. On top of that, add the frustration and dissappointment I'm feeling towards UC getting jobbed out of the Big Dance. As nice as it is to be back at the Shoemaker Center for a bball game, it's equally aggrevating considering I feel this team should be playing on CBS right now. Is this game even on TV?

It's gonna be interesting to see which UC team comes out tonight. Is it the one who won half their games in the toughest conference in the country? Or is it a crestfallen squad who just want an end to this emotional roller coaster of a season? Early indication pointed to the former as Eric Hicks gave an impassioned pre-game speach, came out jumping during his introduction, won the opening tip, and scored the first points of the game. He forced UNC-Charlotte to take an early TO after he took it to the hole strong to take a 8-1 lead.

There's definitely a world of difference between tonight and the last time I was here. Pretty much half of the upper deck is empty. There was no one to sing the national anthem, the band just played it. I think even the dance team is missing a decent amount of their members. And I had a courtside seat just a few feet down from the Big O. Normally, I'm closer to the statue out front than the real McCoy. Gotta take the good with the bad, I guess. Those that are here are certainly showing their support for Andy Kennedy and his players. Also some cheap shots at Craig Littlepage, Air Force, and a few other deserving targets. And the fans still remember Bobby Lutz. There's a couple signs saying a win over that "leprechaun" would be appropriate for March 17th. And the place really erupted when he got his technical foul.

The Bearcats built up a comfortable double digit lead for most of the game. But then the rim seems to close up a little bit and the 49ers started to creep back to a two-possession game at the half, 40-35.

Yikes, the 49ers even tied the game at 40! Fortunately, Eric Hicks seemed to regain some of that form wwe saw at the beginning of the last game and buried a three pointer. He got a little greedy and tried again the next trip fown the floor. You may want to just stick to your game, E.H. Unfortunately, UNC-C took the lead but there was one good thing that came out of it. The crowd really woke up. But it didn't last that long. Cinci remained cold offensively and Charlotte their hot hand building up an eight-point lead.

Oy. But all is not lost. Jihad sunk a three-pointer and Hicks had a monster block on the other end. He followed that up with a rebound wher ehe outletted to Devan Downey who was able to lay it up through a couple of defenders. Shots started to fall and there appeared to be some rhythm again. But it still wasn't enough. James White ended up getting his 4th foul with 9:28 to go and the 49ers still held a four point lead. As many little runs UC went on, they just couldn't crack the lead. Until 4:30 to go, they finally went up 70-69. Some missed free throws on McGowan's part and a strong move on the other side of the floor negated that, though. Back in the deficit. McG did make up for it with a nice lay-in to tie it up at 72. But those damned 49ers kept pouring it on.

Hicks cut it to two with a nice bucket and even gave a nice "shout-out" point to the Big O after the foul was called. He hit the back-end of the three point play.

Best sign of the night was a very professional-looking one saying: National Comittee Against Andy and the Bearcats. Chairman: Littleford. Members: Nancy Zimpher anbd Mike Thomas. Security had a little talking to him and that was the last we saw of that. That prompted a couple others along the line of Nancy Invitational Tournament and Hire Andy Fire Nancy. I like the enthusiasm but the timing was awful. The fellas on the court are in the middle of a battle: back-and-forth, back-and-forth. UC pushed it to a two-possession game with 41 ticks to go on McGowan's free throws, making up for his earlier shutout at the line. White's two free throws made it a 7 point lead for a brief time before UNC-Charlotte again hit a big 3. With 27 seconds to go, the chants of HIRE ANDY went up. Then switched to FIRE NANCY. Clutch free throws took a vacation as Hicks missed one and Downey missed two. Fortunately, the 49ers missed one of theirs, too. But McGowan came through again and the Bearcats moved on in the NIT, 86-80.

Round Two. Tuesday night. 9:00 p.m. Right back here again at Fifth Third Arena. Seeya there.

 

Moving On in Marriage Madness

You did it! With your support, a local couple moves on in ESPN Radio's Marriage Madness contest. After winning their first-round match-up with a couple from Cleveland, Lauren & Perry now move on to the Engaged Eight. The groom was kind enough to join us on the show yesterday while at his bachelor party in Las Vegas. Hopefully, we'll have more on this next week as we root the Miami grads on to an ESPN-themed wedding in Bristol in beautiful HDTV.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

 

Cincinnati vs. Cleveland... Love Style

Mike & Mike in the Morning have been running a contest to find the best sports couple for a dream wedding to take place at the Bristol, CT studios in May. Nearly 500 entries have been narrowed down to 16 couples who will face off head-to-head in a March Madness type of bracket. On-line voters and the Judges decide who will move on towards that dream wedding.

One of the final 16 couples lives right here in town. Meet Perry Seal and Lauren Kramer. The Miami grads, who didn't actually meet until after college, met on the flag football field. How big of sports fans are they? They played basketball on their first date. (Her idea! How cool is that?!) I wonder who won?

Now they need our help. They face off against a couple from Cleveland today. It's the Battle of Ohio, Love Style. We can not lose to Cleveland! I do not care what the event, we must not lose. As Sam Wyche said, "You don't live in Cleveland. This is Cincinnati."

Your vote could mean the difference between them getting their dream sports wedding or a regular wedding. Help them live the dream. Go Vote Here. Tell your friends. Tell your neighbors. Tell your friends' neighbors and your neighbors' friends. We must ban together to beat Cleveland. Well, that and the fact that they are really cool people. So go vote. Do it. Dooo it.

Perry will also be a guest on our show today, live from his Bachelor party in Vegas. Seriously!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

 

God Speed, Jon Kitna

The inevitable has happened. Jon Kitna signed with the Lions. I guess this means that Joey Harrington's days are numbered since Jon said that he wanted to go to a team where he would be the starter. The Lions also have former Tampa Bay QB Shaun King and former UConn Huskie QB Dan Orlovsky.

Kitna signed a 4-year deal with a 3 to 4 million dollar signing bonus. This signing was the first QB movement on a day that saw Daunte Culpepper traded to the Dolphins for a second round pick and Drew Brees signing with the Saints. Now it is up to the Jets to grab their new QB, possibly Patrick Ramsey.

These moves have a large impact on the upcoming draft. I guess the Saints don't need a young QB anymore. With so much talent spread across the different positions, there could be some very interesting trades this year in the draft. We'll have to start our mock drafts all over again.

Monday, March 13, 2006

 

NCAA Local Tourney Participants Info


Post-season play begins for several area teams this week as Xavier, Ohio State, Indiana and Kentucky all will participate in the Big Dance. While UC and Miami will take part in the Sadies Hawkins of Tournaments, the NIT.

Xavier 14th Seed (21-10, A-10 Champions)
Opponent: Gonzaga, 3rd Seed (27-3, WCC Champions)
Date: Thursday
Time: 7:20 PM
Place: Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City
Scoop: Xavier knew there was only one way they were getting to the NCAA Tournament, and they did it. The Musketeers played on emotion and had different players step up big on different nights, the way a team should. They now face a very good Bulldog squad led by Player of the Year Candidate, Adam Morrison. Justin Cage will have his hands full trying to limit what Morrison can do.

Indiana 6th Seed (18-11, At-Large)
Opponent: San Diego State, 11th Seed (23-8, MWC Champions)
Date: Thursday
Time: 30 minutes after end of Xavier-Gonzaga Game
Place: Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City
Scoop: Mike Davis gets a chance to play out the string on a grand scale. Aztecs bring good inside-out presence with Brandon Heath and Marcus Slaughter. The winner of this game gets the winner of the Xavier-Gonzaga game. How steeped would a Xavier-Indiana game be in the Second round of the NCAA Tourney?

Ohio State 2nd Seed (25-5, At-Large)
Opponent: Davidson, 15th Seed (20-10, SoCon Champion)
Date: Friday
Time: TBA
Place: Dayton
Scoop: The Buckeyes are a year ahead of schedule, but right on time for Head Coach Thad Matta. Ohio State will make the short bus ride along I-70 to Dayton. These teams have some recent NCAA Tournament history between them. The Wildcats played Ohio State four years ago in the first round as a 13 seed, and nearly pulled off the upset before falling by five points, 69-64.

University of Kentucky 8th Seed (21-12, At-Large)
Opponent: UAB, 9th Seed (24-6, At-Large)
Date: Friday
Time: TBA
Place: Wachovia Center in Philadelphia
Scoop: The Wildcats extended their consecutive tournament bids to 15. And these teams have some very recent tournament history. 9th seeded UAB upset number 1 seeded UK in the second round of the 2004 NCAA Tourney 76-75. Kentucky will be looking for some revenge in this one. Also, Tubby Smith's record against Conference USA teams in the NCAA Tournament while at Kentucky is not good.

University of Cincinnati 1st Seeded NIT (19-12)
Opponent: Winner of Charlotte/Ga Southern
Date: Friday
Time: TBA
Place: 5/3rd Arena
Scoop: Bearcats and fans feel slighted by NCAA snub. Hopefully, this will only make them play harder. One really cool thing about this situation, the possible matchups for UC. Possible battle with former C-USA foe Charlotte in first game, possible meeting with Wake Forest (and head coach Skip Prosser) in the second, and possible Miami University matchup in the third game.

Miami Univeristy 7th Seeded NIT (18-10)
Opponent: Butler, 8th seeded (19-12)
Date: Tuesday
Time: 7 PM
Place: Hinkle Fieldhouse, Butler University
Scoop: RedHawks ended season with a strong 8-2 finish. Miami has not faired will in its times against Butler, with the Bulldogs holding a 10-1 record all-time against the RedHawks. The winner will advance to play Florida State.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

 

Tourney News

Cincinnati wll not go dancing this year! Xavier travels to Salt Lake City as a 14th seed to face thrid seed Gonzaga.

By the way, Joe Lunardi is a flippin' moron. UC was a 9th seed in your book? Thanks for getting my hopes up, dipstick.

 

Xavier's Going Dancing, UC Holds Breath

I don't know where to even begin. I was at US Bank Arena Saturday for the Xavier-St. Joe's game, and what an amazing and tense atmosphere and game. But in the end, the most important thing was Xavier won 62-61.

It was a tough back and forth affair that saw Xavier block 2 shots in the last 1.3 seconds. The Musketeers used a 9-0 run, fueled by 2 Stanley Burrell 3's to take a 60-59 lead with :38 seconds left that set the stage for the frantic finish.

On the ensuing Hawks possesion a mad scramble for the ball saw Chet Stachitas find Rob Ferguson on the baseline for a jumper to give St. Joe's the lead back at 61-60 with 13 seconds left. Xavier brought the ball down and called a timeout with 7 seconds left. On the inbound pass, Justin Doellman found a lane to the basket and was fouled with 5 seconds left. With the weight of an NCAA Tournament appearance on his shoulders, the Junior calmly knocked down both free throws to put Xavier up 62-61.

St. Joe's went straight to the basket as Dwayne Lee sliced through the defense, only to have Justin Doellman send his attempt flying out of there. The clock ran out, and the Musketeers had won... almost. The officials put 1.3 back on the clock giving St. Joe's one last chance. But Lee's 3 from the corner was blocked by Justin Cage, sending Xavier to the Big Dance. And insanity insued. Center court became a mob scene of blue and white as the fans filled the floor. Xavier had pulled off the improbable, becoming the ONLY team in NCAA history to win 4 games in 4 days twice.

Justin Cage tied his career high with 19 points and added 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. Stanley Burrell finished with 15 points, 4 assists, and a couple of clutch baskets when Xavier really needed a lift. And Josh Duncan finished with 10 points, 7 rebounds. As a team, the Musketeers shot 22-44 (50%) from the floor, and 9-15 (60%) from 3. They needed to, as St. Joe's, the nations leading FT shooting team, knocked down 24-27 at the line.

Now the Musketeers get to relax and wait to see where they are headed for the tournament, while UC sits... and just waits.

Friday, March 10, 2006

 

Unabated Sports 2005 Sports Movie Awards


2005 was a very good year for sports movies. But they weren't very successful at the box office, due in part to the fact that they were in non-traditional sports (Skateboarding, hydroplane racing, soccer, etc...). And the fact that most were in limited release didn't help much either. So here are our nominees and winners for the Unabated Sports 2005 Sports Movie Awards.

Movie of the Year:
Cinderella Man
Lords of Dogtown
Coach Carter
Madison
Winner: Cinderella Man. Ron Howard's tale of James J. Braddick is moving and well acted by several people. It is a movie that anyone can enjoy, not just sports and boxing fans.

Comedy:
Bad News Bears
The Longest Yard
Kicking and Screaming
Fever Pitch
Winner: The Longest Yard. The remake of the '70s classic had a lot of cameos and some very entertaining moments.

Lead Actor:
Russell Crow (Cinderella Man)
Jim Caviezel (Madison)
Samuel L. Jackson (Coach Carter)
Eric Bana (Munich)
Winner: Jim Caviezel. He walked on water as Jesus and did so once again in this movie about the Miss Madison Hydroplane. His beautifully understated and honest portrayal of driver Jim McCormick is exceptional.

Supporting Actor/Actress:
Paul Giamatti (Cinderella Man)
Heath Ledger (Lords of Dogtown)
Mary McCormack (Madison)
Entire Basketball Team (Coach Carter)
Winner: Paul Giamatti. It's no knock on the other performers listed here, but this one was obvious. There is a reason he was nominated for an Oscar (and should have won). It's not easy to steal scenes from Russell Crowe, but Giamatti did time and time again.

Best Movie You didn’t see:
Lords of Dogtown
Madison
Murderball
First Decent
The Game of Their Lives
Winner: Madison. Calling it Hoosiers on water would be a bit simplistic, but not entirely off the mark either. Find it if you can. It took 5 years from the time it was finished to the time it was released. And when it did finally get released, it was in very few theaters. Luckily for the Cincinnati area, this was the only city in the state of Ohio that actually had the movie in theaters. But we recomend checking out ALL of the movies in this category.

Kevin Costner Award (Lifetime Achievement in Sports Movies Award)
Jeff - Ron Shelton. Director and/or Writer for "The Best of Times", "Bull Durham", "White Men Can't Jump", "Blue Chips", "Cobb", "The Great White Hype", "Tin Cup" and "Play it to the Bone"
Clinton - Omar Epps. Actor "The Program", "Major League II" and "Love and Basketball"
Woody - Gene Hackman. Actor "Hoosiers", "The Replacements", and "Downhill Racer"

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

 

Thursday's Show... Tourney, and Juice Style

This is my most favorite time of the year. You can keep a months worth of Christmas' if I can have my Conference Tournaments and March Madness. Speaking of madness, Barry Bonds is back in the national limelight. (Okay, he never left, but you know what I mean.) A new book coming out delves deeper into the world that is Barry Bonds and steriods. We'll lay it all out in the topics. But first...

Guests:

Gregg Doyel... Head NCAA Basketball writer for Cbs.sportsline.com @ 4:25

Bracketology 101... A look at who is in and with what seed @ 5:25

Topics:

UC... The Bearcats lose on a last second McNamara shot. He always makes those, and it drives me crazy. But what a game James White had. Do you think he had a chip on his shoulder? What about the Bearcats? Are they in the Big Dance? Most say yes. But now, things don't look so good. If they do get in, with what seed? And what do you think of their chances of winning the first game? Of making the Sweet 16?
This just in. According to Kenpom.com, a site that does an excellent job replicating the NCAA's RPI system, Syracuse's RPI today: 39 UC's RPI today: 41. And keep in mind that Syracuse's RPI will go up today after playing UConn. Are they both in? If not, make your case for the Bearcats or the Orange.

XU... The Musketeers knocked off UMass and now face Charlotte. This is a dilema for many UC fans. Who do you want to lose? But on a Xavier note, what does this win mean for you? Anything?

Miami... The Hawks face their first foe in the MAC Tourney at 9 tonight against the dreaded Bobcats. What do you think of Miami's chances in the MAC Tourney?

UK, OSU and Indiana. Any fans want to weigh-in on your teams chances of taking their conference tourney? Are the Buckeyes for real? Do UK or Indiana have a chance to make any noise in the NCAA Tournament?

Baseball is here. And Barry Bonds is pushed to the forefront again as a new book detailing his steroid use hits stands. But the issue goes WAY beyond just Bonds' use of steroids. There are some major issues that get at the heart of baseball and its culture. It extends off the field.

Not only are steroids an issue in baseball, but amphetamines, otherwise knows as Greenies, have had a decidedly big role in the game for a long time. What does a year without "beans" mean for baseball?

Sticking with baseball, the loveable Kirby Puckett passed on this week. But just how loveable was he? We'll discuss his troubles off the field and examine how he will be remembered.

And finally, we all love 'em. Sports movies. In honor of the Oscars, we lay out our awards for Sports movies put out last year. They were a few good ones, a couple of great ones, and some phenomal performances. You didn't see many sports movies last year you say? Well then, you will have to tune in and see what movies you need to run out and rent today. Also, we will be giving out some lifetime achievement in sports movies awards, also known as a Costner.

We'll be talking all this and more. But we want to hear from you. So call us during the show at 868-9664. Or email us anytime at unabatedsports@gmail.com.

 

Xavier Wins and Moves On to Play Charlotte

The Musketeers extended their season Wednesday night as they knocked off UMass 75-66, with Bobby Lutz and the Charlotte coaching staff looking on. Xavier took the lead on a Stanley Burrell 3 with 11:00 minutes to go in the first half and never looked back.

An 11-0 run in the midst of 22-6 run over the last 12 minutes of the first half put the X-Men up 33-21 at the half. The guards led the way as Stanley Burrell had 9 points by the break and Johnny Wolf had 8.

UMass did put a run on to cut it 5 with 3 and half minutes to play but a Justin Doellman 3 squelched the Minutemen's comeback attempt. Doellman finished with 12 and 7.

Burrell led Xavier with 22 points and 5 assists. Cage finished with 12. Josh Duncan and Johnny Wolf put in 10 each. And Brandon Cole played 20 good minutes off the bench with 4 points and 7 rebounds.

How big of a win was this? Well, it should lock up an NIT bid at worst, and at best keeps the dream alive of winning the A-10 Tourney and heading for the big dance. Plus it always feels good to get a tournament win. As Sean Miller said after the game, "One win in the post-season feels like 10." In that case, I'm sure coach Miller is looking for 30 more.

 

UC Loses Heartbreaker

For anyone who is not a fan of college basketball conference Tournaments, I give you exhibit A. The Bearcats lost a heartbreaker to Syracuse on a Gerry McNamara 3 with 0.7 seconds left, 74-73. The energy, the excitement, the individual and team performances, the highs and the heartbreaks, these are what make conference tournaments such an amazing experience.

Where to begin? Lets start at the end, and what an end it was. After James White hit a jumper off a pass from Jihad Muhammad to put UC up 72-71, Devan Downey stole the inbound pass and was fouled with 8 seconds left. The Freshman hit the front end of the 1 and 1, but missed the second one, leaving UC up by two, 73-71. Missed Free Throws were a theme for the Bearcats today. James White was a perfect 9-9 from the line, but the rest of the team was 6-14.

The missed Downey Free Throw set the stage for McNamara's heroics. And is it just me, or does he seem to almost always come through in the clutch? McNamara took the inbound pass and raced up court, knocking down the 3, ending UC's first trip to the Big East Tourney.

James White did what he could to carry the Bearcats. The Senior, who had a chip on his shoulder after being put on the Big East Honorable Mention team, had a career high 32 points and 6 rebounds. Eric Hicks recorded a double-double with 17 and 13. And Devan Downey added 8 assists in the effort. One other key stat was 3-point shooting, Syracuse 9-18, UC 6-24.

Syracuse moves on to face UConn Thursday at noon, while UC will go home and wait for the selection Sunday show. Are they in? It would seem most likely. Their tourney resume looks good with a solid RPI, and wins over LSU, Marquette and West Virginia. But they have left the door open. It's never good when you give someone an out. We'll examine UC's Tourney bid chances more in depth later. For now, what are your thoughts on the UC-Syracuse game? And what do you think of the Bearcats chances to go dancing?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

 

March to the Madness


Before we get to the Madness of March next weekend, we begin with the March to Madness, as the rest of the conferences get their game on this week. Included in those conference Tourneys getting under way, UC (Big East) in New York City, XU and UD (A-10) in Cincy at US Bank Arena, UK (SEC) in Nashville, Miami (MAC) at the "Q" in Cleveland and OSU (Big Ten) in Indy.

(As a sidenote: Googling "Dick Vitale pictures" brings some odd results.)

A breakdown of each:

School: UC (18-11, 8-8)
First game: vs. Syracuse at Noon (ESPN)
The low-down: Cats are coming off big win against West Virginia on Senior Day, Saturday. A win Wednesday over the Orange would secure an at-large bid for Kennedy's Crew. A loss would make things interesting, although commonly held thought is that they are in either way. I don't like leaving things up to chance. If they win, they would play #1 UConn on Thursday at noon.

School: XU (17-10, 8-8)
First game: vs. UMass at 6:30
The low-down: The X-men have had a disappointing season. The wins have not come as of late, and they lost two seniors. The Musketeers have no shot at an at-large bid, but could be fighting for an NIT invite. Xavier's only chance at getting to the Big Dance would be to win 4 in 4 days, something they accomplished in 2004, becoming one of only 10 schools to do so.

School: UD (14-16, 6-10)
First game: vs. St. Joseph's at 2
The low-down: The Flyers looked a mile high after beating UC back on November 29th, but a month later went into a tail-spin, losing 7 straight games. Dayton has no chance of an at-large bid and the last time the Flyers won back to back games was at the end of January against Duquesne and St. Bonaventure.

School: Miami (18-9, 14-4)
First game: Thursday vs. Ohio at 9 PM
The low-down: The RedHawks come into the MAC Tourney on a streak. Miami has won 9 of its last 10. The RedHawks got an unfortunate draw, however, facing off against Bobcats, the team with possiblely the most talent, but least amount of drive. When they want to turn it on, they can however be dangerous. Miami is 1-4 all time against OU in the MAC Tournament. If Miami wins, they most likely have to face #1 seed Kent State next, in a virtual home game for the Golden Flashes. If Miami does not win the MAC their prospects for making the NIT look excellent.

School: UK (19-11, 9-7)
First game: Thursday vs. Ole Miss at 3:15 (Jefferson Pilot TV)
The low-down: Wildcats are in the NCAA Tourney by most conventional thinking. This should be a warm-up game before their game on Friday against Alabama at 2:15. But you never know. The SEC Tourney could be the most interesting Tournament of them all out there. LSU has looked good as of late, but most of the teams at the top have not, including Tennessee who has lost 3 of the last 5.

School: OSU (23-4, 12-4)
First game: Friday vs. Penn St./Northwestern at Noon (ESPN)
The low-down: The Buckeyes are thinking seeding here. They sit at a most likely 2 seed, but have an outside shot at a number 1 if things go right or falling to a 3 if they go wrong. Either way, the Buckeyes have ascended to the top of the Big Ten a year ahead of schedule. Terence Dials picked up the Player of the Year Award and coach Thad Matta snagged Coach of the Year Award.

 

The original Minnesota Doughboy


In an unfortunate incident, former Minnesota Twins Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett died earlier tonight after suffering a stroke a few days back in his Arizona home.

Here's the deal. I know Kirby Puckett was a great baseball player. I know he was super likeable, and I know that this sobering reality of this news I'm about to drop on you might forever change what you think about me, baseball, and your idols in general.

But the fact of the matter is this, and this has been a known fact for anyone who cared to listen for quite some time. Kirby Puckett was a bad guy.

One could say that I'm pretty leftist when it comes to my ideologies about sports figures. I don't really have a problem with guys doing drugs, crashing cars, or just being jerks in general. But the one place I draw the line is when a man is abusive to either women or children. As a man, I simply do not stand for that from anyone, ballplayer or not. I just don't.

I remember when news of his personal strife came to light nearly a year before the byline of the aforelinked article. Ever since then, I couldn't stand him. It was one of the first times that a guy I truly used to like simply stuck a dagger in me, and showing me that athletes are no where near the guys a lot of people make them out to be.

In so many words, I could say that Kirby Puckett is a big reason why I never take any athlete's public repuatation, no matter who he is, very seriously. Again, I hate to talk about Kirby like this, but I will.

Kirby was an important man. He was so likeable that he blinded us with his charm, and he eventually blinded himself with glaucoma as a result of his own karma. When I use the word important, I do not mean great. He's important because his story teaches all of us as sports fans how to keep certain things in perspective, and to understand what being a solid human being is all about.

I wish him to rest in peace, and respect to his family. But that doesn't mean that I really feel all that bad for him.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

 

Something Different In The Air


A.K. and Huggs
Originally uploaded by Unabated Sports.
I don't know if it's because it's because it's senior day or a noon tip-off or an NCAA berth is probably on the line, but the atmosphere is a little different on the UC campus today. Or maybe it's the fact that Bob Huggins, himself, is in the house. go here to see some pictures from the Senior Day festivities before the West Virginia game. (They're not that good, because I took them.) But it was very interesting to see the crowd react to their prodigal coach. I was in Riverfront Stadium on Labor Day 1997 when Pete Rose watched his son play and the reception the fans gave on that day was very similar to today when Huggs came courtside. He may not have escorted Eric Hicks before the game but the Bearcat star made a special point to walk over to his old mentor and give him a big hug after his name was called.

I was extremely critical of the West Virginia football game about the lack of fans in the seats at game time. Not so today. Folks were in their seats early. The crowd was into this one early with Hicks draining a 3-pointer to open the game. But, Pitsnogle (I hate to admit it, but that's a damn cool name) and the Mountaineers came back and it was very evident that Bearcat Nation was not the only fan base in the house. West Virginia travelled very well, at times matching UC's cheering level. Of course, when they want to, the season ticket holders can rise up and roar. And they did early and often, moreso than usual. It seems like the fans have finally come around and embraced this team. About time. Fueled by the fans, UC held the lead for the rest of the first half going into the locker room up 37-31.

It was a great halftime with several former ballers being honored. No surprise, Oscar Roberston brought the crowd to it's feet but I was a little surprised by some of the folks who got some of the other big cheers. Melvin Levitt got a good response. So did Alex Meachum, the former walk-on. Maybe it had something to do the shirt he was sporting in support of Andy Kennedy. Following that ceremony, another chant of "HIRE ANDY" rang out among the sold-out crowd here at Fifth Third Arena. This was followed by the three-time national champion dance team, which looked crisp as always. That was a relief for me since we kept them from practice a bit this week so the dance team could visit us in-studio. Unfortunately, the team posters they were giving out today went too fast and we couldn't snag any. They're just too damn popular.

The second half started as a battle. UC maintained a decent lead, but the Mountaineers would not go away. They stayed in the game with good ball movement and some clutch bombs from behind the arc. Every shot was followed by yells of delight. Not only was the home crowd loud and proud but the very vocal minority from the Mountain State made it known when their squad would answer. As time ran down, UC just could not hold off WVU. Every shot UC made, someone in the blue and gold would answer. A double digit lead was picked at and picked at and dwindled down to a one-possession game. Despite this, Andy Kennedy's team somehow held on to a crucial win that should make it a little easier to get some sleep the night before Selection Sunday.

West Virginia coach John Beilein called it "toughest environment all year." The atmosphere was electric as the relief of the victory washed over the crowd and the players. They became one as Eric Hicks and other Bearcats did a Lambeau Leap into the student section. Others merely ran around the court, high-fiving those in the front row. Coach Kennedy even got into the act. He thanked the fans for giving this team the support they deserve. He also finished with "Huggs, we love you, brother."

Friday, March 03, 2006

 

UC Dance Team & Unabated Sports


UC Dance Team & Unabated Sports
Originally uploaded by Unabated Sports.
A real special treat for us on this week's show: the University of Cincinnati Dance team. Members of the three-time national champs drove up to WMOH to visit us in-studio. They were very gracious and entertaining as they answered all of our dopey questions and Jeff's incessant "dance-off" references. Check out our Flickr page for more pics from their big visit.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

 

Friday's Five

1.) Pat Forde of ESPN.com has put out his End of the Year Awards. Check out where OSU and UK come in at. And this from the A-10 section:

"Bust of the Year: Xavier (4). Five weeks ago, the Musketeers appeared well on their way to a Top 25 season and an NCAA Tournament berth. Today, they're 17-9 overall and 8-7 in the league, having lost seven of their last 12. Losing big man Brian Thornton five games ago to a season-ending injury sure didn't help, but this team was in the tank before Thornton went down."

2.) Sports Illustrated's "Truth and Rumors" section was full of possible coaching moves, including:

"Former Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins is among the names mentioned as a possible replacement if Rob Evans is fired at Arizona State."
-- Seattle Times
And as anyone who has ever seen the "Girls Gone Wild" infomercial on late night TV will tell you, ASU is the nation's top party school.

3.) You ever read something and just scratch your head? Cbs.sportsline.com's Pete Prisco layed out his list of the top 50 free agents in the NFL. Personally, I think Chris Hovan had an exceptional season as an over the center DT for the Bucs in terms of stuffing the run and any team would be lucky to have him. You don't have to agree. That is what makes this country great. But it's his reasoning why Hovan is at #33 that boggles my mind.

"33. Chris Hovan, DT, Vikings: After being let go by the Vikings, Hovan had a heck of a year for the Bucs. But he is getting up in the years and you have to wonder if he can repeat it."

Hovan will be 28 next year. The three DTs listed ahead of him will be 28, 27 and 27 next year. That fall off from 27 to 28 for DTs must be a bitch.

4.) The brand new 2006 Sportgoons Wonderlic test is here. Take it for yourself. Some examples:

How many illegitimate kids can you fit into a 2006 Escalade?
a) 2
b) what kids?
c) 6
d) 8
e) I don't allow kids in my ride


Which of the following players can the media NOT compare young white wide receivers to?
a) Ed McCaffrey
b) Drew Bennett
c) Steve Largent
d) Jerry Rice


5.) Syracuse is doing its best to make the NIT so they can play at Madison Square Garden in the "other" Final Four. After getting roled by 39, 108-69, by the Big East power that is DePaul, the Orange currently sit at 19-10, but only 7-8 in conference and have now lost 8 of their last 12.

 

Odd Dance Team Venues

I'll admit, I was a little worried that our guests, the UC Dance team, would be a little scared off by hearing our show as they travelled up I-75 to the radio. The University of Cincinnati dance team is not afraid to push the boundaries when it comes to their performances. To your left is Whitney Creasman (left) and Ashlie Wilkson with Mini-Me, himself: Verne Troyer. To your right is a sampling from a recent halftime show where they recreated the Wizard of Oz. So, if they're willing to take those chances, dealing with the Unabated Sports crew is a piece of cake, right?

 

Thursday's Show... Dance Team Edition


We have a lot of things to get into, so let's lay some of them out for you.

First our guest list. This is going to be a lot of fun.

George Vogel, Channel 5 @ 4:25 (If you haven't heard him before, he's a little crazy and a lot of fun.)
The UC Dance Team live and in studio @ 5:25 (Clinton, Jeff and Woody with a whole bunch of dance team members crammed into the studio. Need I say more?)
Scott Wright of NFLdraftcountdown.com @ 6:25 (Scott will give us the low down on the local players and teams from the combine, since he was there.)

Topics:
1.) UC lost a tough one at Seton Hall. What does this mean for the Bearcats chances of making the Tourney? Do they have to win Saturday? Can they win Saturday?
2.) Did UK lock up a bid with a win over Tennessee?
3.) Did Indiana lock up a bid with a win over MSU this past weekend? Does that make Indiana fans happy or mad?
4.) There is no CBA in the NFL and all hell is breaking loose. Well, maybe it's not quite that bad but it does make for some pins and needles time. How does this effect the Bengals?
5.) The Oscars are this weekend, and with that in mind, we will give out our awards for sports movies in 2005.
6.) Spring training is here, and MLB is without their greenies.
7.) And more...

As always, we want to hear from you. Call us during the show at 868-9664 or email us anytime at unabatedsports@gmail.com.

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