Got a little nervous watching the first half of last night's UC basketball opener against Prairie View A&M. Bearcats didn't look excited to play, which was surprising.
Not to put too much stock into a single play, but Yancy Gates missed an easy dunk on the opening possession, and I thought that set the tone. If Gates dunks and scores, maybe the team and crowd get into the game sooner. As it turned out, it took the Bearcats five minutes to get their first field goal.
Made me think of the 1991-92 season when, if you recall, the Bearcats LOST to Athletes in Action in one of their exhibition games, 82-79. UC blew a 20-point lead in that game. Talk about shocking. "This is a great lesson for us," then-coach Bob Huggins told the team afterward. Among other things.
How did the Bearcats respond? They stayed in the locker room by themselves for hours after Huggins' outburst ended. The leadership of the team emerged. The players wrote down the goals they wanted to achieve that season. Aside from winning the Great Midwest Conference and advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, the goals included "Work hard every day in practice" and "Leave the attitude at the door."
Of course, you know how the story goes: UC advanced to the Final Four that season.
Be fun to see how this season's team responds to Monday night's less-than-impressive showing and whether leadership emerges.
Coaches like to quote Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, who once said, "A season is a lifetime."