Bearcats Breakfast 5.27.11

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The women's basketball made a memorable gesture yesterday and permanently adopted 11-year-old Buzz Smith as a member of the team.

Buzz is a recovering tumor patient and attended the last two games of the season, including UC's dramatic win against Marquette.

Here's the story about it

Coach Jamelle Elliot and the rest of the team welcomed him in an official ceremony at Fifth Third Arena. Here's some of the video.

Basketball will always be just a game, but the real connection and effect it can have a community can be profound when taken seriously. We saw this with Mitch's Mission, which started in much this same manner and just saw a $10k donation to the hospital in his name this month.

I have to give a standing O to Elliott and the basketball program on this one. And to Buzz, who undeniably deserves it.

Let's eat...

--- The baseball season came to an unfortunate end Thursday with a 5-3 loss to Louisville at the Big East tournament. UC dug itself a 4-0 deficit early and never closed the gap despite pulling to within a run.

UC loaded the bases in the ninth inning with one out, but a double play ended the game.

Thus the season comes to a close with a 30-27 record, 14-13 in the Big East. The season fell into the norm for UC since joining the Big East, though it was the second time in school history they finished above .500 in BE conference play. Here's their record over their first six seasons in the conference: 

2011: 30-27, 14-13
2010: 29-29, 13-14
2009: 29-29, 13-14
2008: 39-20, 19-8
2007: 28-28, 10-16
2006: 32-26, 13-14

The chemistry of the 2008 season hasn't resurfaced yet for the program. Cleary talked about it after winning his school-record 392nd game earlier this season. He's happy to have accomplished what he has, but the program isn't winning at the level he'd like to at this point.

Only two position players will graduate from this year's team, unfortunately, one will be Justin Riddell, who led the team in most major hitting categories this year. The true challenge will be finding pitching after losing two of their three primary starters. The starting pitching question comes on top of collecting answers to a bullpen that never quite developed as Cleary would have liked this past season. 

--- Quick reminder
: Every Wednesday in June the UC coaches will take part in the Coaches Caravan and sit down for with the fans in different areas of the Tri-State. Mick Cronin, Butch Jones, Elliott, Brian Cleary among others will be in attendance to take questions and sign autographs. It starts Wednesday in Glenway on Glenway Ave.

--- Phil Steele's epic college football preview hit the presses and on top of picking UC end up in the MVCA Compass Bowl against defending national champ Auburn (who he picks dead last in the SEC West), Steele clearly owns a significant West Virginia mancrush.

Steele placed 10 Mountaineers on his preseason First Team All-Big East squad. Pitt was second with five. The Bearcats landed four members. So, nearly half of the team goes to WVU? They will be the favorite next season, sure, but to claim the same West Virginia team that was trampled by N.C. State in its bowl game and suffered a home loss against Syracuse last season will be far and away the class of the conference feels a little over the top.

UC fans won't be happy to see Geno Smith picked over Zach Collaros for the top QB spot. Though, that opinion probably won't be in the minority when predictions surface.

Here are their 2010 stats side-by-side:

QB                   Cmp   Att  Yds      Cmp%  Yds/A   TD  INT  Rat

Geno Smith       241    372  2,763   64.8      7.43     24   7   144.7
Zach Collaros    225    383  2,902    58.7     7.58     26  14   137.5

Both owned similar contributions in the run game, compiling just over 200 yards, though Zach scored four touchdowns on the ground compared to zero for Smith.

We have all offseason to jump into the Collaros-Smith debate, so I will stop there. For me, I'd point to Derek Wolfe being denied a spot on the defensive line behind two WVU linemen, Bruce Irvin and Julian Miller. Granted, by the numbers of last season Irvin (14 sacks) and Miller (nine) both deserve the nod. They contributed many more sacks, TFLs and tackles. As for what one player means to their team and pure physical potential, Wolfe far surpasses Miller. Of course, when you are attempting to preview every team in college football, glancing over the numbers without delving much deeper comes with the territory.

--- If Butch Jones wants
to follow the Mick Cronin model of playing the disrespect card there's plenty of ammo available. Brian Bennett made a Big East "superteam" taking the top position groups from a school. UC wasn't represented. In fact, UC was the only team not represented.

--- Bennett says
the realistic expectations for the football season for UC should be returning to a bowl game. The folks inside the Lindner Center certainly set the bar higher, but I would call Bennett's prognostication reasonable enough.

--- The NCAA officially adopted the charge circle under the basket. Great move.

--- Some randomness...

--- Transporting $1 million
worth of anything in your car is inadvisable.

--- Saw Hangover II last night
. My fears were confirmed. If you are hoping for it to be remotely like the first one, don't waste your money. It's not. The jokes are lazy and redundant. Because of the characters, particularly more screen time for Ken Jeong, the movie still delivers some laughs, but for the most part it's a weak rehash in a different setting.

On a trailer somebody apparently called it the funniest movie of all-time?!? Never read that publication again.

--- Michael Rappaport
put together a Tribe Called Quest documentary. Can't wait.

--- Eddie Vedder's new Ukulele Songs solo album streaming live here

--- Someone please throw a chair at Scottie Pippen.

--- The new ESPN book caught headlines across the blogosphere this week. Sports Pickle suggests a less intriguing follow-up for the authors.

--- Happy Memorial Day weekend to everybody. Summer is finally here and for my Friday music selection, I got to go with one of the best summer relaxing songs of all time. Yes, I love Will Smith. I will not apologize for it. This isn't changing. 

Enjoy yourself and stay safe.

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