So, let's do this. A couple news nuggets I want to hit on.
First, on yesterday's Crosstown revelation and joint announcement. If you want more people to weigh in on it, you'll need every college basketball outlet to hire more writers. Because everyone with a steady Internet connection (and I'm guessing Motley Sports doesn't even have that) has offered their opinion of the neutral site move.
If interested, you can read this from Rob Dauster, this from Yahoo! and this from Matt Norlander. This may be the most polarizing topic in the sport right now. Everyone has an opinion. And an adamant one.
And, as sure as the sun rising these days, is knee-jerk overreaction on Twitter. UC and XU offered a joint statement about the event in which they basically say, we have some unique plans about how this event will go down, so reserve judgment until you hear what we have to say.
That's how I put it. Here's how they did.
"The University of Cincinnati and Xavier University were both surprised to see today's announcement concerning the future of the Crosstown Shootout. While both schools are committed to the future of the Crosstown rivalry, specific discussions are ongoing and no details have been finalized. We look forward to sharing our plans with the community at an appropriate time in the coming weeks."
--- As they ask for all of us to reserve judgment on this event, let's do so. Hear them out. If you still aren't satisfied with the move, so be it. Just know it is reportedly a two-year agreement and if it doesn't work out in any fashion, it can easily be changed.
--- Moving on, big news coming from Eammon Brennan at ESPN regarding UC's non-conference schedule, in particular, the work Mick Cronin has done to upgrade it. First off, he is once again fighting for a premier SEC opponent in the Challenge.
Actually, all he's asking is for a like opponent. In events like this conferences rank their teams when deciding who they should play to create like matchups. The Big East hasn't done that. It's why St. John's ended up playing UK last year and UC had to travel to lower-tier UGA.
The Challenge is in the process of checking on sites, dates and other availability options of the matchups, so we won't know the matchup for a week or two. Only that UC will be hosting someone. Obviously, someone in the top five of the SEC would be considered an appropriate opponent for next year as that's about where UC should be ranked in the BE.
Here's Mick to Brennan:
"I don't know why we wouldn't rank our teams, too," Cronin said. "I'm asking the league to get us a like opponent. If we're being picked high then we want the same thing (from the SEC)."
--- The biggest news of Brennan's piece, however, is that UC appears to have secured a home-and-home with Mountain West school New Mexico.
For those unfamiliar with the conference, remember, the MWC sent four teams to The Dance last year (New Mex 5, San Diego State 6, UNLV 6, Colo St. 11). It's no joke.
The Lobos were 10-4 in that conference last season and won the conference tourney. They beat Long Beach State in the first round then fell to eventual Final Four team Louisville by just three in their second-round matchup.
Steve Alford has done a remarkable job since taking over as coach there. They finished the season ranked No. 23.
The best part for UC, which will host New Mexico this year and travel West the next season? The Lobos only had three seniors and two juniors on last year's strong team and will assuredly be in the vicinity of the Top 25.
You can't ask for a much better opponent than this considering how tough it is to find one these days. Great get for Mick.
--- So, for those of you dying for the improved non-conference schedule here's what we (think) we know: Xavier @US Bank, Iowa St. and/or UNLV in Vegas, New Mexico, @Marshall, SEC opponent.
Plus, we'll see what other gems come out when the full schedule does.
--- In light of the day, only one song seems fitting right now. Enjoy it, everybody.