Today is gameday, but with all the other news surrounding the program right now, it hardly feels like it.
As Mick Cronin said yesterday staring out at a strong contigent of media for a 10:30 am session -- "All right, who wants to talk about DePaul?"
With icebreakers like that, I might actually be able to pick up women in the grocery store. Instead, I eat my free sample of gouda by myself.
The latest news on Yancy Gates is that he was on the bus to Chicago and his status for the DePaul game remains unknown. (As of the this typing) Cronin said "we'll see," when asked if he would play today, but he had a good practice yesterday.
The first game against DePaul, Gates went for 15 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals. Having him in the lineup certainly wouldn't hurt.
So, I guess "we'll see." Of course, you can follow me on Twitter for the latest on his situation as it develops.
--- Yesterday's media session was one of the best insights into the coaching style of Mick Cronin. He spoke extensively on principles he's built this program on and an unwillingness to stray from them under any circumstance.
Hard not to respect what he's saying. The buzz of dissenters grows louder and louder by the day and Cronin never wavered on his principles no matter how disadvantageous the result.
--- Paul Daugherty put together a piece on Gates and Cronin needing each other now more than ever. He's right on the mark.
Gates needs to become a beast down the stretch for the Bearcats to reach the magic number of 10 conference wins and the NCAA tournament. Cronin himself admitted, that hasn't happened. Maybe this situation serves as a wake-up call for Gates. If so, the suspension may have saved the season.
--- Here's Gates speaking with Bill Koch about what happened.
--- Let's take a look at some Gates numbers this Big East season compared to the first two.
2011: 28.0 minutes, 10.1 points, 6.3 rebounds/1.4 offensive, 46 percent FT, 48 percent FG.
2010: 25.4 minutes, 10.7 points, 5.9 rebounds/2.5 offensive, 53 percent FT, 57 percent FG
2009: 24.5 minutes, 10.9 points, 6.0 rebounds/2.5 offensive, 60 percent FT, 45 percent FG
In a few weeks, it will be worth adding some post-suspension numbers to see how they change. Cronin really pushed Gates to see more of the progress that was made in the offseason. The coach talked about the effort level dipping in Big East play and these are the numbers he's referring to. Gates is a better player this year, only, his numbers don't reflect that. That's where the concern lies for Cronin.
--- All the Yancy talk aside, this DePaul game falls into the old must-win category for the Bearcats. With so many talented opponents ahead, losing to a team that hasn't won since 2010 (Dec. 22, to be exact) would be a devastating blow, to say the least.
The Blue Demons own some momentum after only losing by four points at Louisville.
Oh, and they've lost 22 straight Big East games. So, there's that.
--- The Chicago basketball blog details how close the Blue Demons are to their breakthrough.
--- Tonight will be a homecoming of sorts for Chicago-native Dion Dixon. Hopefully the trip home will spark the shooting guard. He's still the Bearcats leading scorer but struggled recently with two scoreless outings in the last four games.
Mick Cronin took a quick reprieve from Gates talk Monday to address how Dixon can get back on track:
"Shot selection has been a issue. He's missed some layups. Two of his four misses were layups. He also missed an 8-footer wide open. He's got to work harder at it in practice. You got to address all your guys. Yancy because he didn't play is the story. Dion is getting addressed just as hard. The answer is not woe is me. The answer is not to turn your jersey backward for better luck. The answer is to play better in practice.The answer is to get out there and fight through it and get your rhythm back, your confidence back."
--- Biggie McClain has become instant offense and energy for UC. Tommy G has this feature on the 7-footer.
--- Somehow this game against DePaul is on ESPN2, but UC hosting WVU found its way to FoxSportsOhio. Not my job to figure that one out, so I won't try.
--- SB Nation's Big East power rankings has the Bearcats 10th, just ahead of St. John's.
--- UC's still a part of everybody's NCAA bracket. Although, they are now one spot behind Xavier. It's amazing what competition level can do for public perception. (Which I know goes both ways, Xavier folks)
--- Speaking of X, reason No. 1,384,444 why we shouldn't care about postseason award lists. I know showing Xavier love isn't popular, but how Tu Holloway doesn't make a list of the top 10 point guards in the country while averaging 20+ points and 5+ assists is beyond me.
--- Pitt and Kansas both with big wins last night without their best players. Both will be No. 1 seeds in March, barring a major collapse, per Gary Parrish.
--- The rivers will run red with Burgundy's blood!
--- Brandon Underwood was inactive and Curtis Young was on the practice squad, but still a congratulations to two former Bearcats who were a part of the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.
--- Another quick football note, Brian Bennett posted the Big East's biggest non-conference games for next season. Obviously, UC's game at Tennessee makes the list. I have a feeling we may talk to Kenbrell Thompkins some that week.
Speaking of the Vols, Lane Kiffin continues to make their life awful. They can get in line.
--- On to some randomness...
--- I love the Jimmer phenomenon as much as anybody, but you leave Bon Jovi out of this!
--- If this rumor was circulating about my city, I would address it in sarcastic fashion also.
--- Love The Onion.
--- The weekly edition of: Only in Florida.
--- Being a security camera salesman sure paid off. Sometimes, somebody's car deserves to be buried under six feet in of snow.
--- This will be the only time I ever link to The View on this show, but trust me, this is worth it. It's great to see athletes using their status to help others. It happens all the time, but rarely gets the publicity it deserves.