But remember, this is similar to what happened last season as well - before UC lost six of its final seven games (including that mind-numbing defeat to DePaul (winless during league play in the regular season that year) in the first round of the conference tournament). The Bearcats believe this year will be different.
Here's how I see the final nine regular-season games of the year for UC.
Dame, Thursday: The Bearcats (basically) shut down Luke Harangody once this
season, thanks to the tremendous defensive input of sophomore forward Yancy
Gates. It'll be harder to do that again - particularly in the
At UConn, Feb. 13: With how much the Huskies have struggled since they lost to UC last month - plus, with the uncertainty surrounding coach Jim Calhoun - this might be UC's best chance to grab a road victory. Unless it's ...
Feb. 16: The Bearcats haven't fared well in the Sun Dome (and with those
hideously-painted seats, you can certainly understand why), but UC still has
more talent and they'll be playing for a postseason berth. Yet, it's also tough
to win back-to-back games on the road in conference play. Really, I'd say a win
at UConn is more likely than a win in
Vs. DePaul, Feb. 24: If the Bearcats lose this one at home, they probably don't deserve an NCAA tournament berth.
Vs. Villanova, March 2: Yikes, this will be another dangerous one for UC. Win here, though, and that likely will affect the Bearcats' seeding more than answering the question of whether they'll still have a chance to make the tournament. By that, I mean they'll be in.
If you look at the Big East standings today, you'll see the Bearcats still have to play all four of the top teams in the league. That's a nightmare way to end the year, but the real question is whether UC can withstand the final nine games and make the NCAA tournament for the first time since Huggins left.
answer: I see the Bearcats going 4-5 in that stretch. That would leave them at
18-12 and 9-9 in the Big East. That puts them right on the tournament bubble.
But a win against one of those top four squads might just seal their place on
the bracket. Maybe the best chance of that happening is in
But if I had to guess whether Deonta Vaughn finally will get to experience his first NCAA tournament, I would say ... Probably. What do you think?
-In football news, former WR Mardy Gilyard and former QB Tony Pike have been invited to the NFL Combine later this month. This, of course, comes as no surprise.
Also, UC has placed 12 football players on the Big East All-Academic team. They are: QB Chazz Anderson, LB Alex Delisi, OL T.J. Franklin, S Drew Frey, DL Dan Giordano, RB John Goebel, OL Alex Hoffman, OL Sean Hooey, OL Jeff Linkenbach, LB Collin McCafferty, LB J.K. Schaffer, and S Aaron Webster.
-Make sure to check back here Wednesday evening where Katz on the Cats will have a full recap of the day's recruiting news. The Butch Jones news conference happens at 3 p.m., so we'll have his thoughts on the day's events afterward.