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Bearcats Breakfast 2.21.11

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Saturday night included teaching points for the Bearcats and likely some property damage for many fans. The win against Providence was wilder than a Tuesday night with Charlie Sheen. Otherwise known as status quo in the absurd Big East.

You can complain about the frustration of the final six minutes all you want. (BTW, yelling at the TV=ineffecitve coping mechanism) If you expected anything less than fighting and clawing for a road win by any means necessary in this conference you could use a trip to Dr. Phil.

Of seven BE games on Saturday, three went to OT, one ended on a Dwight Hardy game-winner and another with the No. 7 team in the country being run off the court at WVU.

The equivalent of an easy road win came from Georgetown, who survived by six points at USF.

One game seperates fourth and 10th place right now. One.  

At the end of the day, the impressive effort of the first 34 minutes and resolve in overtime far outweigh the evaporation of the 16-point lead.

All together now: A win is a win is a.... 

Let's eat...

--- The Bearcats (21-6, 8-6) tied their most wins in the Big East. They were 8-8 in 2005-06. Take a second to think about that accomplishment. What did you say about this team the day after Lance Stephenson declared for the NBA Draft? What was your prediction for how many Big East wins they would earn?  

I can tell you all the Big East coaches thought enough about the Bearcats to vote them 12th preseason.

Now they are 8-6 and in the mix for a bye in the BE tournament with four games to play. Think about that and give Mick Cronin the ovation he deserves.  

--- Cronin spoke in the postgame on 700WLW about being too tentative while holding onto the lead late in the game. Instead of attacking over the press, they were holding the ball and falling right into Providence's traps.

Unfortunately, this team is still learning how to salt away wins. All three wins over the last four game stretch have concluded with some issues down the stretch. Even against Louisville, Cronin wasn't happy with the amount of dribbling and execution over the final minutes.

If you take a look at the numbers, it's strictly a matter of inexperience in close games this season.

Team/Games decided by 0-5 or OT/Total

UC/3-1/4

UConn/6-2/8

DePaul/2-8/10

Georgetown/6-2/8

Louisville/5-3/8

Marquette/3-7/10

Notre Dame/6-0/6

Pitt/5-2/7

Providence/4-6/10

Rutgers/2-5/7

St. John's/7-4/11

Seton Hall/2-6/8

Syracuse/5-1/6

USF/2-6/8

Villanova/5-4/9

WVU/4-6/10

So, 11 of the other 15 teams in the Big East have played in double the number of games decided by five points or less or in OT. To be 3-1 in those games is worth celebrating, but winning without the dramatics of DePaul or Providence -- and even the loss in the final minute against St. John's -- spotlight the next lesson that needs to be learned by this particular bunch.

--- SNY College Insider Jon Rothstein came away impressed by the urgency the Bearcats showed this week.

--- So, where do the NCAA tourney hopes sit? The magic number myself and many others connected to the UC program have been using all year is 10 wins in the Big East.

The rest of the schedule is as follows:

@ No. 9 Georgetown

vs No. 13 UConn

@ Marquette

vs No. 9 Georgetown

Find a way to win two of the final four and what happens in the Big East tournament will likely be inconsequential. Beating Georgetown the way they are playing right now will be tough. They've won 9 of 10 with three of those wins against teams that were ranked in the top 15 at the time.

Though, learning some lessons from the first game in DC then being able to bring them to Fifth Third two weeks later will allow a distinct advantage.  

UConn for all their national ranking and hype are 8-6 in the league and haven't played well on the road of late.

They were smoked by double figures at St. John's and @ Louisville -- both teams UC beat this year, in case you forgot.

Marquette has lost five of its last eight, but own home wins against Syracuse, Notre Dame and WVU. And they will be playing with their backs against the wall on the bubble.  

For what it's worth, if I'm ranking the winnability of the final four games, it goes like this:

1. UConn

2. @Marquette

3. Georgetown

4. @Georgetown

--- To the Bracket Matrix!   

--- Random thought: Being selected into the tournament would be a great accomplishment, but given the mediocrity throughout college basketball, it would be far from crazy to say UC could win some games there as well.  

--- Cronin talked after the game about being happy to see Dion Dixon regain some confidence in his shot against PC. He scored 16 on Saturday, Dixon's highest total since Jan. 15 against Syracuse (18).

Tommy G put together this feature on the Bearcats leading scorer for Bearcats Sports Weekly.  

--- Chad Brendel with a game recap of Providence and even more of what Cronin had to say postgame with Dan and Chuck.

--- Scott Springer wrote this piece on the building blocks of Cashmere Wright, Sean Kilpatrick and Justin Jackson last week, but I never did link to it. Here it is, great points from SS.

--- Speaking of Cash, Bill Koch wrote a story about his production. He scored 20 points against Louisville and recorded his first double-double (11 points, 11 assists) against Providence.  

Wright is the difference between this team being good and being great. No doubt about it.

--- Some quality off the field of play work from UC. Mitch's Mission had a playdate on Saturday and Mitch is looking great.  

--- On to some randomness...

--- Big win for the St. Veronica Vikings third-grade basketball team on Sunday over Seven Hills thanks to the intense defense and hustle from No. 33 Kaden Dehner. They only scored 16 points, but a lot of college hoops teams could learn something from their efficiency on the fast break.   

--- Chris Rock ate lunch with a reporter from Esquire and he posted the transcript. Still the best standup of our generation, IMO.

--- Best beards in college hoops? Yes, please.

--- One hundred years from now, people will look back at 2010 the same way we look at this video from San Francisco 1905, supposedly the earliest video recording. A crazy thought.

--- The irony of the Cincinnati Commandos taking shots at the Bengals is they were pushing Peter Warrick as their big name this season, who caught many passes much the same manner of that stuffed Tiger.    

--- Sneak peaks at The Hangover II make me happy.   

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