The basketball team held its pep rally at Fountain Square Tuesday and opens practice this weekend. We are little more than a month away from the opener Nov. 15 against St. Mary's.
Talk of the basketball team started to light up the message boards a little bit this week and, as is typically the case with preseason chatter, most of it seems positive. Despite the Bearcats sitting in the bottom six of most of the preseason Big East polls you will read, they have as good a chance as any of the teams outside the top 4/5 in the league to surprise and jump into the NCAA tournament.
Everyone has holes to fill -- especially after the mass exodus of the 2010 Draft. Everyone has questions left behind. There is so much talent in the BE that it's only a matter of which team can mature and find ways to win despite their problems. For the first time, the Bearcats own a talented, experienced team to fill those holes.
No superstar exists, so people count them out. But, in the Big East, the majority of superstars don't enter as stars (Lance Stephenson being the exception), they develop. UC has a chance to witness the development of stars this year. I will talk plenty more about the basketball team in the coming month, but it's refreshing to read some positivity out there aorund the program. None of it really matters as far as how the team will play, but it is deserved.
--- Adam Zagoria believes Sean Kilpatrick will be a big reason why UC can succeed this year. Here's his story.
--- All right, back to football. As a reminder, there will be a watch party held at Dave and Buster's in Tri-County on Friday night for the U of L game.
--- Bill Koch wrote a story about the offensive line. The line, all anybody wanted to talk about during the first three weeks of the season, hasn't been mentioned much the last two games.
The only time anybody notices them is when they mess up. It's a tough life. Silence has been golden for the Bearcats the last two games, though.
It will be tested against the Cards, who lead the Big East in sacks with 18.
--- Brian Bennett chatted with Louisville QB Adam Froman, who called this the "biggest game of our season, hands down."
Louisville, despite a strong start, is still fighting for any semblance of respect after the last two years of ugly football. Playing at home on ESPN, you can feel a little bit of the big-game urgency in Froman's voice.
I don't think there's any doubt UC will get Louisville's best shot Friday night.
--- B-twice also offered his midseason review of the Bearcats.
--- The Big East is the only BCS conference without a team in the Sagarin top 20. But none of that matters, because the winner of the conference will still be headed to a BCS Bowl, whether the Mountain West likes it or not.
That's why there's plenty to play for even though so many BE teams tanked the first five weeks. This from Shannon Russell.
--- Charlie Strong is calling out the fans to show up on Friday. Taking on the fan base in any fashion is rarely a good idea. But, it feels like Strong did so with just the right amount of tact that it could work. It doesn't hurt that he's turned the team around from the Kragethorpian disaster faster than anyone imagined.
--- If you haven't read the eye-opening confessions told by former agent Josh Luchs, than you need to drop everything and do so immediately. For the first time I can remember, a former agent talks openly about paying players, how many times he did, mentions names and comes perfectly clean on the dirty business of paying college atheltes. Unreal.
--- I know this isn't a Notre Dame blog, but I was sad to hear news that Elder product Kyle Rudolph will be done for the season with a nasty hamstring injury. That may be the last game he plays for the Irish since he's expected to be the top-ranked TE prospect in the country.
--- If you are going to sneak into a zoo at 1 a.m., I probably would still avoid the tiger cage. I would definitely avoid petting them while they sleep.
Which reminds me of one of the greatest songs in a comedy. Ever.