With more on my plate right now than Cam Newton's compliance officer, I am going to combine the UC-IUS: Morning After with the Breakfast today.
There's plenty of basketball and football news, plus, I'm cooking up a little something extra this week I hope you'll enjoy. So, that's enough small talk, let's dive in.
--- I had these news and notes from Butch Jones' press conference yesterday. Of course, the biggest news everyone wants to know about is the health of Zach Collaros. From the quarterback's mouth himself, he sounds ready to go. Couple his statements with those of Jones and all signs point to Collaros' return at WVU.
Though, nothing is official yet from Jones and UC.
--- If you would like to hear all of the Jones presser yesterday, it is posted here.
--- Tony Dobies points out some of the similarities between WVU and UC. Patrick Southern at BearcatInsider does the same. These are two teams with obvious strengths. The UC offense and the WVU defense.
Making silly mistakes and the inability of the other side of the ball to make plays have turned promising seasons into disappointment for both sides. And, for both teams, this game will be a determining factor in the importance of the rest of the season.
--- Brian Bennett writes about Butch Jones dealing with injuries through a roller-coaster season as he returns to Morgantown.
--- The Rutgers game time is still not known as of the time I type this. It was supposed to be known yesterday, but no word. It should be very soon, though, and will determine the time of the IPFW game that day.
--- Of course, what would the Breakfast be without a side dish of expansion talk! Brett McMurphy at FanHouse says the BE and TCU are perfect long-distance partners.
(Sidenote: Fritzy from the Dan Patrick Show came up with the line of the day yesterday by suggesting TCU should be on the cover of SI this week with the headline: Me So Horned Frog)
Hard to argue these two match. The BE desperately needs to up its football profile and add teams -- particularly one in the No. 5 TV market. TCU desperately needs a conventional way into the BCS.
--- Dr. Saturday points out an unfortunate trend surrounding Bill Stewart's coaching tree.
--- A pretty mundane game against IUS last night. As I wrote in my column, the Bearcats did what was expected during the exhibition season -- they blew out two inferior teams.
They didn't pull a Tennessee or a Xavier, upsets happen every year and there is something to be said for winning.
--- Biggie McClain saw some minutes in the two exhibition games. He scored six points last night. I don't know how much he really makes his way into the rotation this year -- although Mick Cronin stated he plans on Biggie playing some.
Regardless, McClain talked with BearcatLair about the fact he came close to leaving the team.
--- UC is clearly making a conscientious effort to push the tempo more this season. The style fits Cashmere Wright better, who loves running up and down.
"I love the way we play now," Wright said. "We just keep running."
Wright went on to brag on the conditioning the team. Cronin talked about Yancy Gates and Ibrahima being in the best shape of their lives. Everyone running the court created a number of easy buckets on Tuesday, many for dunks and ally-oops.
The credit went to strength and conditioning coach Dave Lawson.
"All that goes to Dave," Wright said, "all the running the football field and everything over the summer."
--- Pushing the tempo only means so much if everybody can't finish, but the overall depth in players who finish in traffic helped improve the Cats fast break offense this year, as well.
Wright said it's a different feeling leading a break in comparison to year's past.
"The biggest thing, right now we can pass the ball to anybody," he said. "Right now, we might have a four on two, we know whoever we pass to can make the play."
--- Justin Jackson continues to show promise. The guy plays with so much intensity it's scary.
Ibrahima Thomas won the award for most relaxed player in a postgame presser setting last night and compared Jackson to a remote control car set on high in between bites of potato chips.
"The cars just go," he said.
The postgame presser is best viewed rather than read -- check it out here.
--- These games served as an opportunity to show off some depth for Cronin. The versatility of the type of games this team can play was encouraging.
They are well-equipped to handle a number of different opponents.
"We can play different," Cronin said. "We have big lineups and we have pressing lineups. If we need to go small we can do that if we have to. With Yancy now, if we play somebody with a five-man who can shoot it, he can go out there and defend."
--- Stat of the night: UC outrebounded IUS 66-30. That's absurd.
Most of it was due to the physical advantage, however, the Cats should be a strong rebounding team again this year. Their first major test in that department will come against Dayton on Nov. 27.
With Chris Wright back, their frontline and athletic guards will crash the glass as hard as anybody the Cats see all year.
--- Quote of the night: Mick Cronin on Jazz Ferguson scoring 34 points, but putting up 29 shots for the Grenadiers: "My dad wouldn't let me do that at LaSalle back in the day."
--- All right, last but not least, how about some randomness....
Among the top 3 words I never want surrounding Missile Launch: Mysterious.
This is the equivalent of The More You Know, if it were aired on Moustache TV. (Another unfulfilled genius concept)
In honor of the UC soccer team advancing to the BE Final 4, here's a soccer video to close. When I played soccer, this was the one move I always wanted to pull but never could.