Bearcats Breakfast 12.12.11

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It's hard to know where to start this morning. Finger-pointing and blame-assigning has been done to death across local and national outlets ad nauseam over the past 24 hours. Yet, sitting here thinking back on it, I still can't believe what I witnessed Saturday afternoon.

Luckily, my perspective wasn't a media table along the baseline like Tom Gelehrter or photographer on the ground like Jeff Swinger of the Enquirer of Al Behrman of the AP. Both who were on their backs attempting to keep mayhem from sucking them into the storm.

Unfortunately, I was close enough to hear and see all the drama leading up to and through the 9.4 seconds that will forever change the face of the Crosstown Shootout. The amount of taunting, trash talk and unadulterated rage was unsurpassed in college basketball, with all sides at fault.

The bottom line in the aftermath of this ugly chapter is that so many reputations many worked for years to establish were ruined Saturday.

Yancy Gates, who has spent the last four years trying to develop into the great basketball player so many believed he could be and who appeared to finally turn the corner both mentally and emotionally through the final eight games of last season saw all that melt away with the slow-motion replay of his punch.

Mick Cronin spent the past six years killing the perception of "Huggs' Thugs" that permeated the outside vision of the program. He brought in a different breed of athletes. He brought in good kids, who hadn't found any trouble off the court during his tenure. None. Yet, now a national conversation reverts back to the previous image.

Speaking to the image and perception of Xavier isn't as much my place, but clearly the program has been respected and held in high regard for some time now. That has obviously taken a serious hit.

Chris Mack called it "good kids making dumb decisions." I tend to believe that and how both sides move forward following the dumb decisions will be how they're ultimately judged.

Let's eat...

--- The process of moving forward began yesterday, with the suspensions being handed down swiftly. Yancy Gates, Cheikh Mbodj and Octavius Ellis will be banned for six games and Ge'Lawn Guyn for one.

The games those three will miss: Wright State, Radford, Arkansas Pine-Bluff, Chicago State, Oklahoma and Pittsburgh.

The four suspended players will face the media at a press conference today at 2 p.m.

For what it's worth, UC will play with eight scholarship players at Wright State and only one over 6-foot-8 over the course of six games. As Cronin said Sunday, "that's the least of my worries."

--- Reaction to the suspensions is flying in from everywhere. Here's a sample:

Bill Koch says President Williams, Whit Babcock and Mick Cronin considered every option.

Eamonn Brennan at ESPN
thought the punishments on both sides were too light.

Myron Medcalf looked at how the
issue of race entered into the fight.

Pat Forde thought the punishments weren't harsh enough as well

Beyond the Arc writes about this reshaping both universities.
Bomani Jones raises
10 questions from Saturday, some absurd, some interesting. That includes what he calls the favorite weapon of national columnists, "righteous indignation."

Mike DeCourcy talks about the element of the public apology and community service the players will have to do.

Zac Jackson of Fox Sports Ohio thought both sides went soft.

--- Shannon Russell and
Bill Koch did a great job all weekend and in particular in answering these questions surrounding Saturday. It includes a great question: where the heck was security?

--- Here was some
of the transcript from Xavier's press conference. And even more from Shannon Russell.

--- Mo Egger with fantastic perspective.

--- An interesting point to note when discussing length of suspensions is that Cronin has the right to keep guys out for as long as he would like to after the suspensions are up. He clearly left that possibility open by his comments on Sunday. Just because the suspensions have been handed down does not mean he is done.

--- I wrote on Saturday
about Mick Cronin's extraordinary press conference following the game. It's not about winning the press conference, but Cronin certainly did. You can still watch the entire thing right here. I recommend it if you haven't.

I thought it was one of his finest moments as the UC coach and the entire fan base should be proud that he is leading the program.

Then I walked to my car and figured I'd turn on the radio to hear what the people were saying. The second I turn it on, some caller is on a rant about how Cronin should be fired and how he already thought that before the game.

Sigh. It just doesn't matter. Some opinions will never change.

--- Both coaches recognized
the referees didn't do near enough to avoid this altercation. Even from my seat courtside I could hear all the ugly trash talk going on all game. Mick Cronin was begging them to T people up that were talking trash, even if it was his own players. It needed to be stopped. It wasn't. The refs telling Lyons, Holloway or any UC player to stop running their mouth (as they did for the final five minutes) was ringing hollow considering they were saying the same stuff all game and not receiving any punishment for it.

I truly believe if consequences had been handed out earlier in the game the whole mess would have been avoided.

For the record, this was not an A crew sent in to do the game. Koch details the background of the refs.

--- Other referees were
talking about how nobody wants to do that game because it's impossible to referee. Let's hope when/if the series continues there will be better communication and knowledge of that they are walking into from the opening tip.

--- Chad Brendel at BearcatLair discusses the lack of control by the officials.

--- Couldn't help but peruse
the message boards for a minute seeing if anything interesting was out there (I need professional help). I came across this which made me laugh. And don't we all need a laugh right about now.

It was from BearHawkeye on if Skyline Chili should/would pull their sponsorship:

"It's great publicity for Skyline as far as getting their name out there. Next year's game will get a ton of publicity - locally and nationally. Do you really think anyone will boycott Skyline because they sponsor a game featuring the two major local programs? Have you ever had a 3-way with a cheese coney on the side? They won't lose a customer. I'm getting hungry for some right now. It would be stupid for them to stop sponsoring the shootout."

Have you ever had a 3-way with a cheese coney on the side? Hahaha.

--- As far as going forward on the court,
the Bearcats have a season turning point on their hands. Wednesday will be a very interesting game to see how they react to the crisis mode the season suddenly spiraled into.

As for my guess on the starting lineup, you'll see Cashmere Wright, Dion Dixon, Sean Kilpatrick, JaQuon Parker and Justin Jackson. The other option would be to go bigger with Kelvin Gaines and Justin Jackson on the inside and Parker coming off the bench if they want to go small.

Of course, for a team that's been beaten in the post much of the season by physical teams, perhaps a shift in personnel will provide a lift. This offense needs to be guard-driven and it most definitely will be that for the next six games at least.

--- No randomness today
, doesn't feel right. It will be back tomorrow, though. Plus, you can be like the 100+ others that have joined on to follow me on Twitter in the last 48 hours (@pauldehnerjr), I'll have all the updates from today's presser with the players and more. 

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