Bearcats Breakfast 12.8.11

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I have a hard time understanding ESPN's reluctance to find a premier time slot for the Crosstown Shootout. They are well aware of the history and rivalry. It's been brought up many times. They knew UC and Xavier would be national spotlight teams this year. Yet, all they could come up with was 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Mystifying. Frustrating.

Though, UNC-UK was placed at noon on a Saturday, so maybe I should stop being so sensitive.

That said, we are entering another run of great Crosstown Shootouts much like those from the mid-90s where the rivalry reached previously unseen levels of intensity and popularity.

The rivalry has never gone away for those who swear by Skyline Chili, but it now returns to the national scene. That's thanks mainly to UC's emergence and Xavier's continued March success.

Look back at the last two alone, it's created some of the best memories of the best players to recently run through UC. Lance Stephenson shaking Tu Holloway to the ground before burying a jumper in his most memorable performance as a Bearcat. Of course, Holloway would grab the last laugh leading X to at double-overtime win.

Last year was the game everyone expected every night from Yancy Gates. He played like a monster unleashed and reeled off 22 points and 14 rebounds in the 20-point win. He tied a career high for rebounds and poured in his second-highest point total of the season.

He also buried a shot from the corner and fell into the front row next to Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo. Great scene.

Who will emerge this time?

Does Sean Kilpatrick elevate to superstar status in his sophomore season? Cashmere Wright steal the spotlight from Tu Holloway? The game creates college legends. That's the best part.

Let's eat...

--- No. 8 Xavier manhandled
Butler last night in Hinkle Fieldhouse to move to 7-0 entering the Shootout. Tu Holloway finds a way to will his team to wins even if he shoots 1 of 7 from the field. By drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line (14 of 16) and grabbing six steals he dominated the game. Tough to do when you can't hit a shot.

The Musketeers are more able to do that now with their current depth and talent. No longer to tougher, deeper teams expose them. The Muskies can run with anybody, all game. Coincidentally, UC enters this year with the concerns in the depth department due to injuries and maturation of incoming freshmen.

--- Scott at Bearcats Blog talked with Enquirer XU beat writer Shannon Russell about the matchup. Big Shannon fan, she's good people.

Here was her recap of last night's win to send the Muskies to 7-0.

--- The predominant storyline this year is pretty clear: Can UC replicate their defensive performance on Tu Holloway from last year?

Outside of a late-season win against Charlotte and NCAA tourney loss against Marquette, UC holding Holloway to five points, was his only game in single-digit scoring all season. They allowed him only three free throw shots and turned him over four times.

He'd just dropped 26 each on Gonzaga and Florida in the previous week plus a triple-double vs. Wake Forest, so it couldn't have been considered a rough patch. UC owned some type of secret that night.

Is that a secret anymore? Would it even work anymore?

Those two questions will likely define who wins Saturday.

--- Holloway Enters Saturday averaging 17.7 points, 4.7 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game.

--- For the record Shootout nugget:
In the last 20 years XU leads the series 11-9. The last time UC won back-to-back Shootouts was 1995 and '96.

--- Much more from
the UC-X perspective after we hear from Mick and the players from today's media availability.

--- Mick Cronin talked with Bill Koch about wanting the league to stay put at 16 basketball schools and being optimistic about what realignment means for UC basketball. Butch Jones with his take as well.

--- Andrea Adelson chimes in with expansion news and notes. Including a big question mark surrounding who the other two schools will be join and make it the desired 12-team conference. She questions the future of the league.


--- As Walter from
Big Lebowski would say: "You want a toe? I can get you a toe."

Seriously, somebody needed a toe...for their hand. Science!

--- The Plus-One model is inevitable. Great, then let's do it already. How about this month?

Of course, there could be larger changes on the horizon for college football.

--- This makes me sad
about the human race.

--- Some fans of
The Cure are bitter they were snubbed by the Red Hot Chili Peppers for induction to the Rock & Roll HOF. Odd of those fans to take a position of bitter, picked on and misunderstood.

Don't get me wrong, I like The Cure just fine, but I find the situation fitting considering that's been a constant theme of their image and fan base.

--- This is also a great time to show love to RHCP. Always been a huge fan. Seen them live a few times and it's hard to explain just how much energy they give off from the stage. Here's a glimpse.

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