The discussion of the Big East and UC football swung in a few different directions I didn't necessarily anticipate, but couldn't have come from a more knowledgeable source, Katz literally wrote the book on the program's rise and always offers insightful thought.
I think it provided very real, truthful analysis of the state of affairs. You can judge for yourself by taking a listen here. There's about 15 good minutes of the UC football state of affairs starting at the 27-minute mark.
One final thanks to Josh for joining.
--- Tonight is the 90s at 9 event with all things 90s pop culture and music the theme of the night. Looking forward to hearing some Tubthumping (File that under sentences I never want to admit I wrote).
As for top five 90s Big Heads I'm hoping to see in the house tonight?
1. Dwayne Wayne from A Different World
2. John Stamos (Even better, entire Tanner family, including Comet the dog)
3. LaZelle Durden
5. Linda Tripp
I'm sure all of you will come up with some great ideas yourself, but if you don't have one, please make these five happen. There will be a series of high-5s coming your way if I see them.
Plus, I'm hoping with this being 90s night it means a one-night reprieve from Party Rock Anthem! Really, this alone makes the entire promotion worthwhile.
--- Speaking of promotions, I look forward to meeting Justin Post tonight, who was the first winner of UC's Social Seats promotion. He'll be hanging around with us media heathens before and after the game. Looking forward to meeting you, Justin. Congrats to him and don't sit in my seat. Just kidding, but seriously, don't.
Justin will be tweeting about the experience all night. Follow him here.
--- As for the game, nothing is more overused in sports than must-win, but this game falls into that category more than any this season. At a point where UC can't afford another bad loss, Providence rolls in at 2-11 in Big East play and 13-13 overall.
They won't be pushovers. Vincent Council is as good a point guard as there is in the league and Bryce Cotton is burying 41 percent from 3-point range.
In a season when quality guard play has given UC problems, the Friars bring just that.
For Mick Cronin, the issue for Providence has been depth and finishing. Which are mutually exclusive.
"They have played really well," he said. "They just don't have substitutes at the guard position so they wear down. They are up 17 at Villanova. They are up 17 at West Virginia. Games that they have lost in overtime or at the buzzer. You are watching the game on film and you are wondering how do they lose? You are watching them play from an offensive standpoint with the talent they have from an offensive end wondering how do they have the record they have? The answer is they play in the Big East and their bench. They don't have the subs at the guard position so they get worn down at times and it effects their defense and it affects their play in the last 10 minutes of the game."
--- In the last seven games, Providence went 1-6. Five losses came by singles digits, three by one possession and one in OT.
They own the best 3-point percentage in the league during conference play and fourth-most efficient offense.
--- To Mick's point about the bench, only nine teams in the country play their bench less minutes than Providence. Cotton has played a higher percentage of his teams minutes (96.1) than ANY OTHER PLAYER IN THE COUNTRY. I'm exhausted just thinking about that.
--- In theory, UC's advantage would come from their depth at guard and bench contribution. That should make the difference.
"I would hope so," Cronin said. "We'll see."
The cautious optimism comes from weeks of wondering how good this bench can really be.
"To me, we have to be a 9-10 deep team to really be able to never play a guy that's fatigued to where I'd like to get us defensively," Cronin said. "Obviously, we are nowhere near that after what happened Saturday."
--- What is the state of the bench entering one of the games they will be most counted on?
Here is the rundown of bench points through conference play:
Opp W/L Bench Pts
Pitt W 0
ND W 19
STJ L 22
GT W 8
Nova W 11
UConn W 16
WVU L 17
Cuse L 3
Rutgers L 7
DePaul W 16
STJ W 21
Marq L 16
--- Of late, the bench contribution increased, much of that is due to the offensive resurgence of Justin Jackson. He's scored 27 points in the last three games.
--- Cheikh Mbodj enjoyed some of his best moments with this team off the bench the last few games. He blocked seven shots the last two games.
--- Cronin gave Ge'Lawn Guyn a combined 28 minutes the last two games, but he's looking for more production out of the freshman. He gave only nine points, two assists and one turnover in that time.
--- If the bench points don't trip double digits tonight, UC could be in trouble. They can't experience a falloff when the starters come out for a break -- because Cronin will be giving them extended breaks to make sure they are at full strength as Providence wears down in the final 10 minutes.
--- Dan Hoard wrote about Cronin's snap recollection of movie quotes. He uses them to help motivate his players.
Here is a list of a few lines I'd really like to hear him break some out in the middle of a dispute with a referee.
Top six choices:
1. "What are looking at, butthead?" -- Back to the Future
2. "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." -- Gone with the Wind
3. "You talkin' to me?" -- Taxi Driver
4. "What we've got here is a failure to communicate." -- Cool Hand Luke
5. "You can't handle the truth!" -- A Few Good Men
6. "Go ahead, make my day." -- Sudden Impact
Without doubt, though, you have to open with Peter Finch from Network.
--- Todd McShay and Mel Kiper were in the NFL Draft Lab breaking down running backs and Todd McShay called Isaiah Pead his sleeper of the class and thinks he can be a third-round steal for somebody.
--- UC Pro Day will be March 2. For now they are the only program holding their pro day on the 2nd, so it should leave the schedules open for scouts who want to come take a look at the Cats prospects. My guess would be Pead, Derek Wolfe and John Hughes won't be doing much after going through the combine.
The man of the hour will be JK Schaffer. He'll be the top prospect going through the drills.
--- Bill Koch caught up with Whit Babcock yesterday on the topics of the split of WVU's $20 million departing gift to the conference, the questions surrounding the 2012 football schedule and possible Nippert/Fifth Third renovation plans.
Exciting to hear Babcock talk about moving forward in analyzing renovation options. Finding a way to grow the facilities still remains one of the most difficult hurdles the department faces.
--- Tommy G sat down with assistant coach Larry Davis for a great look at the work the most ripped assistant in the country.
I was just talking about LD with Chad Brendel from BearcatLair the other day. He was talking about how great of a recruiter Davis is because he just seems to know everybody, everywhere. No matter the region or how obscure a player seems to be, Davis knows somebody connected with him.
When I asked Chad what area Davis primarily recruits, he could only say, "everywhere."
--- Linsanity. Hard to believe what we are watching anymore.
--- Kid Rock doing what Kid Rock does. This reminds me of when I saw the slogan for the new Red Stag bourbon when it was first released. It said, "Taste what Kid Rock is singing about." I guess there could have been a more disturbing slogan, but I can't imagine one.
I assumed Red Stag was made of old cologne, acid reflux and dandruff.
--- I support making Bad Santa 2.
--- If anybody is headed to Japan, I would love a pair of these Super Mario Bros. Converse shoes. Black leather, please.
--- Here is the final 90s jam in anticipation of tonight's 90s at 9 game. You knew I couldn't go into a run of 90s songs without Pearl Jam. Just impossible. How about the one that started it all. See you tonight, enjoy the game.