Bearcats Breakfast 2.15.11

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Plenty to get to, so we'll skip the chatter and make this happen...

--- Well, two days after the St. John's loss and the sky still hasn't fallen. Waking up today, I fully expected to be blanketed by clouds and unformed precipitation particles. Alas, no.

Yesterday's media availability with Mick Cronin and Larry Davis proved the same. There was no press release announcing any suspensions. There was no public railing of any players. There was no panic. There was another Monday of practice preparing for another big game in two days. There's really little time for much else.

With two days until the No. 15 team in the country comes into your building, talk about impressing the selection committee or how far or close they are from the magic number of wins needed doesn't appear to be overtaking this team's mind.

"We are just trying to focus on what we need to do so we can win so we can finish off these games,' Davis said. "We talk about (how many wins we might need to get in the tournament) but we really focus on what we need to fix as a team."

I'm not in the film sessions. I don't see every minute of practice. I'm not in their dorm rooms (thankfully, that would be creepy). So, I can't tell you the mental mindset of this team, but from the outsider perspective the team seems pretty undeterred by Sunday's disappointment and understanding how quickly perspective can change with a win Wednesday.

--- When I asked if Yancy Gates would play against Louisville, Cronin said, "We'll see. I don't think it's safe to say anybody will play Wednesday."

Cronin said he hadn't talked individually with Gates, at least as of the media session before practice, but did talk with the entire team and the understanding of the expectations of behavior and play are as clear as ever.

"He was unhappy with his playing time," Cronin said. "That is part of life. He is not going to be able to have that attitude and be part of our team. He's been told that."

The record was also set straight regarding Gates checking in at the scorers table in the final minutes which resulted in an onslaught of boos.

"That was a miscommunication. Ibrahima called him to the huddle. I think he thought Ibrahima told him to go to the table. Ibrahima was calling him to the huddle, in fairness to Yancy."

Cronin finalized the Gates talk by saying this as a general overview of the situation.

"People get confused. We were struggling guarding their guys. People took four shots against him while he was playing defense and all four went in. I needed to get some stops when you are down. You are tyring to get your fastest lineup in there and your best lineup against the zone. It's really not more complicated than that.


"Some players obviously struggle dealing with that. He being one of them, moreso than other guys and it is disappointing. It reflects poorly on him. He's not a bad kid, it reflects poorly on him. It reflects poorly on us. It's unacceptable and it's not going to happen or he's not going to be with us. It would be no different with any other guy in our team."

--- As for the booing, I couldn't help but start thinking more about that incident Monday. At the time, in the moment and frustration of the game, it blended in.

Players were upset, coaches were upset, the fans were upset. The game was intense and highly emotional.

Backing away from it, however, I couldn't help but pose the question: Is it OK to boo a college player?

These kids are going to class, practicing 20 hours a week, traveling to games, seeing tutors and not being paid a dime (not counting scholarship money, of course).

Yet, they are treated -- particularly at this level -- as professionals. And Gates has been so much a part of the city's public figure landscape for so long we almost assume he is a pro.

Passion of a fan base belongs in college basketball. And frustration over the conduct of one of the players is understandable.

But did our fan base go to far Sunday?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on that question. If you have time, place it in the comments section or send me an email ( and I'll publish the good ones in the next few days.  

Here was Cronin's response to my question:

"This day and age, I personally feel that amateurs are amateurs, professionals are different," Cronin said. "But at the big-time level there is trade off. You get to play on ESPN. You get name recognition that would help you theoretically get a job, whether you are Alex Meachem or Ryan Fletcher working for Edward Jones now, whatever the case. There is some trade off. I had a real problem with anybody getting on a kid at Murray State because he's riding buses all over the Ohio Valley Conference. That I have a problem with. Our guys, at our level, it's definitely different. There are residual benefits. It goes with it a little bit. It's not easy for them. It's life's lessons. It's definitely not easy but there is a trade off for the big-time college athlete."

--- Every conceivable bracket on the Internet has UC in the tournament still, except for Rivals. Here's the Bracket Matrix.

--- Joey Brackets at ESPN has UC as an 11 seed and not among the last four in.  

--- Scott at BearcatsBlog with a Q and A from the Twitterverse. In a shocking development, some people on Twitter are pretty cynical.

He also asked Andy Glockner of Sports Illustrated if 3-3 the rest of the way beating Prov, Marquette and Louisville would be enough to make the Dance, to which AG responded, "my gut says no."

That's probably right. It would take another mini-run in the BE tournament at that point. Of course, it depends on who the wins are against. If UC beats Gtown, UConn and U of L, well, that changes the game a little bit.

--- Chad Brendel turned the eyes forward toward Louisville and what to expect Wednesday.

--- Matt Norlander would like people to stop complaining about how weak the bubble will be this year. Guarantee none of those will be UC fans.

--- Quick football note, UC-NC State at Nippert will be played on ESPN on Thursday night Sept. 22.  

Some randomness...

--- Jim Boeheim showed up in his postgame presser last night with an ax to grind with the Cuse media. For a guy whose sat through hundreds of boring pressers, I find this more than mildly entertaining.

--- If I was on TV and somebody fonted me as "Random Dude" it would be my new Avatar. Though, I'm sure Wally Szczerbiak doesn't fell the same.

--- Is there a weight limit with which a taser is deemed ineffective?

--- Ugh.

--- Ladies and Gentlemen, Ashton Kutcher's dad, Bruce Willis. (Such a great line from Ricky Gervais) 

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I was there and didn't boo but understood why it happened at the time,end of game,emotions high, and the frustration level for everyone was at its peak. We know that if Yancy plays well we can beat anyone. He is the one advantage we have over other Beast teams. It's rare a man that big has those offensive skills. Everyone wants him to reach his potential and be the home town hero but we are seeing an underachieving guy right now. If he would just play harder, longer those boos would go away quickly as soon as Wednesday night. We probably crossed the line a bit on the booing buy I give us a pass on this one as it is not the typical fan behavior and presently the stakes are extremely high.