Bearcats Breakfast 11.23.11

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Quick Breakfast this morning. While most of you have the day off and will be plotting your routes of survival for Black Friday and attempting to grab the last 22-pound turkey from Kroger, I actually have enough work to do to kill a 22-pound turkey.

Let's eat...

--- Marshall won again last night.
They will be 4-0 as they come to Cincinnati. For anybody who doesn't think this will be a serious test they need to open their eyes. Marshall won 22 games last year and returns one of the most potent backcourt combinations in college hoops -- DeAndre Kane and Damier Pitts.

This game will be no joke. A victory would be a quality win. Don't believe me? Think I'm just some local homer? Take these people's word for it:

Andy Katz places them among 10 programs on the rise.

Jay Bilas said this about The Herd:

"If anyone can unseat Memphis this year, I think it will be Marshall. Tommy Herrion is doing a really nice job with that program, and he has an all-conference player in DeAndre Kane, a scoring point guard in Damier Pitts and a really good freshman prospect in Justin Coleman. Pitts led the team in scoring and assists last season, and has the chance to be the best point guard in the league this season. If the Herd cut down the nets in C-USA, it will be in large part because of Pitts' leadership at the point."

As for common opponents, they've handled them just the same as UC.

Opp                       MU        UC
Alabama St.          67-49     65-40
Jacksonville St.     58-44     73-59
Northwestern St.    83-61    71-43

Friday will be a big test for Cashmere Wright, Dion Dixon and Sean Kilpatrick defensively. Attempting to contain Kane and Pitts will be the toughest challenge of the non-conference season outside of the Xavier game.

UC will need to do work on the inside. The Herd lack UC's size, especially with 6-10 Cheikh Mbodj now playing. Marshall relies on team rebounding and only Robert Goff (6-9, 240) and Dennis Tinnon (6-8, 225) can match up physically with UC's front line.

The Herd have struggled from behind the arc, only knocking down 23 percent, but obviously, their backcourt can fill it up.

--- Anybody else not paying attention, this schedule isn't the cakewalk everybody talks about for the next four games. Following Marshall, UC hosts Miami. Playing Charlie Coles is never easy and just ask Xavier how that will go. Then, UC travels to Georgia. The Bulldogs just beat Notre Dame last night, 61-57. Granted, ND is down, but that is still a nice win against a Big East team.

Oh, and then the Crosstown Shootout. You may have heard some buzz about that one.

UC's non-conference tournament resume will be defined by the next four games.

--- Boy, is the attendance talk annoying.
Can we be done with this? Come to the games if you want. Don't come if you don't want. This team is fun to watch and people don't, it's their prerogative. The crowds during Big East play last season  were phenomenal. They will be again this year. For now, let it go.

These problems exist at so many places. Bob Huggins talked about it the other day during this interview. (H/t Lance McAlister, scroll to 5-minute mark)

--- While I'm talking attendance, UC is offering a Black Friday sale for tickets to the Senior Day game against UConn and select basketball games, including a number of Big East contests.

I'm pretty sure I would pay $20 just to stand up, cheer and honor JK Schaffer, Isaiah Pead, Zach Collaros, Derek Wolfe and so many others, but that's just me. I'm fairly biased. And I don't have to pay.

--- Speaking of Schaffer, the guy is putting together another incredible season. He has 89 tackles, including 11 for a loss. He's on the verge of compiling his third consecutive 100-tackle season. That would make him the fifth UC player of record such a feat.

The other four were Hassan Champion, Phillip Curry, Brad Jackson and Karl Woods.

He'd be just the fourth player in Big East history to accomplish the mark. Dan Morgan of Miami, H.B. Blades of Pitt and Gerald Hayes of Pitt, were the others.

Plus, he's a quality guy and great interview, which keeps us scribes happy. Like any humble star, he deflected credit for his stellar season.

"Just my experience and the guys around me are doing a great job," he said. "My defensive line takes care of me so they open up plenty of space for me to go and make plays and have a lot of freedom to run around and get after the ball carrier. The d-line has definitely helped me and that's why my numbers are all right this year."

Like the majority of the leadership on this team, this season has never been about numbers or individual performances. It's been about winning. At the center of all that is Schaffer. The dude is a rock.

"I really honestly haven't even thought about (my personal accomplishments) yet," he said. "I had a couple people tell me you are playing well this season but I am so focused on let's beat Syracuse, beat UConn and get this thing rolling. That is definitely at the top of my list."

--- While we are at it, Derek Wolfe is ranked 9th in the country among defensive lineman with his 14.5 TFL. Outstanding for a defensive tackle.

--- In case you missed it,
I wrote about Munchie Legaux and the entire quarterback situation yesterday afternoon.

--- Bill Koch wrote a story on the Bearcats saying they are just fine despite two consecutive losses.

--- Andrea Adelson called this a must-win for both teams. She also picked the Bearcats to do so.

--- Randomness...

--- That's a big fish.

--- Adam Morrison playing with much more confidence in Serbia, likely because his crustache is more widely accepted.

--- Tweet of the day comes from Jdubs88: "Urban Meyer denies taking Ohio State job, names Braxton Miller starter heading into spring practice."

--- Clemson lost to Coastal Carolina. It happens, people.

--- Was kind of hoping Darnell Wilks or Biggie McClain would play a role in this Harlem Globetrotters trick shot video. They weren't, but it was still pretty impressive. (55-second mark for the shot)

--- Apparently, Jerry Seinfeld
was on Regis and Kelly this morning talking about Festivus. Tis the season.

I'll get the pole out of the crawl space.

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