Spent much of the day down at UC yesterday and certainly no shortage of buzz in the building. I like to think everyone was talking about the massive NCAA tournament blowout podcast I put together. In a related note, I also like to think people are watching my flashy typing skills on press row during home basketball games.
Regardless, thanks to Dan Hoard, Tommy G, Rob Dauster and Darren Savino for taking the time to chat with me in what turned into an hour full of comedic stylings and all you could possibly need to know about the Bearcats in the NCAA tournament this weekend. Plus, the latest, greatest photoshop creation from VideoShane. Disappointed my face didn't get the all-white suit ensemble, though.
You can listen to the podcast here, or subscribe to it on iTunes here. Of course, you can always open your podcasting application on your phone and subscribe to it there as well -- I highly recommend that, perfect listening for your drive to Philadelphia.
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions shoot them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter @pauldehnerjr.
As has been the case all, week here's another One Shining Moment.
Let's eat ...
--- Before I jump into more NCAA tournament talk, we have to start on one of the biggest moves to happen at UC in years. Now, this might not spike the radio talk show ratings or grab the headlines of a tournament win or the hiring of Tommy Tuberville, but make no mistake, Whit Babcock's decision to make all 19 sports operate at full scholarship allotment by the NCAA is as big a game-changing move as he's made at UC.
The decision to eliminate many scholarships to programs such as golf, baseball, swimming and track came down in 2009 and this essentially repeals that decision.
In a time when schools are chopping sports and cutting corners for money, Babcock and his staff are dedicating themselves to playing every sport at the highest level possible.
As Whit was telling me yesterday, if you say you want to be bigtime and not take a back seat to anybody, you have to back that up. This is him backing it up in the biggest way possible.
It will amount to 35-45 more schollys for Olympic sports that will gradually be added over the course of the next few years with probably an extra 15-25 next year. Few will be affected more than baseball and Brian Cleary, who has won over 400 games at UC, made evident with this statement:
"This is quite possibly the most significant development affecting the UC baseball program during my time at UC," he said. "The plan removes the largest obstacle we have faced and will allow us to pursue players in the same fashion as those schools with which we compete."
--- Here is Whit talking with Mo Egger yesterday on ESPN1530.
--- Kevin Goheen at Fox Sports Ohio wrote about how this unveils Babcock's mission and vision. As Gogo also rightly points out, this only solidifies UC's position in the grand scheme of conference realignment.
Speaking of ...
--- Details have been released about the TV deal for the current Big East with ESPN. As Brett McMurphy points out if two schools leave, the contract can be voided. While not a secret but important for UC fans, ESPN's McMurphy -- the absolute expert on all Big East realignment news -- also quotes sources as saying UC and UConn are "next in line" to move to the ACC if and when the conference gets plucked again.
Sing it, Axl.
-- OK, enough of the business side, back to the games.
--- The beginning of One Shining Moment and really every game on CBS in The Dance starts with the shot of a player dancing in the middle of the pregame huddle. As promised yesterday, I got to the bottom of who will be the UC huddle dancer on Friday. SK says they will decide on Friday, but it's pretty much down to him, Parker and Rubles. He's determined to get Cashmere Wright in the middle, but Cash informed me he only can do two steps and isn't interested in embarrassing his team on national TV. And hurting his knee trying to drop down and get his eagle on might not be greatest look.
It should be noted director of basketball operations Drew Seidenberger has been known to hop into the middle of a pregame dance huddle and sources tell me his moves have improved exponentially this year.
What is for sure is that they will be doing what's called the South Dallas Swag. Which according to this tutorial from "WhiteBoy Chris" in a high school parking lot on YouTube it is, indeed, very swaggy. No confirmation on if I will do the South Dallas Swag before beginning my story on the game.
--- My guy Dan Hoard, feeling fresh off his podcast appearance, with a fantastic piece about Mick Cronin setting a new goal for this tournament. He wants his team to have more fun than anyone else. Love this philosophy. Loose and free the only way to be with your season on the line.
--- Cashmere Wright told me really ever since the USF game when Mick started telling the team they were in the tournament, the atmosphere and attitude of the team changed dramatically. That all started with the coach loosening everything up. That was evident during Tuesday's practice open to fans -- which drew a pretty impressive number for 18 hours notice on a Tuesday afternoon.
The guys were joking, laughing and really enjoying the moment. This all feeds back into more of what Cronin said Sunday about this being one of the most conscientious, worrisome groups he's ever coached. He doesn't need to drop the hammer to keep them focused and going, he needs to relieve their self-imposed pressure.
--- As Bill Koch wrote about here, Corie Blount and Terry Nelson came down to practice to hang out and talk to the team. Mick didn't ask them specifically to come, but welcomed them. Says the door is always open to past players. Part of what makes the program great. Who better to discuss the possibilities of March?
--- The team flew out this morning for Philadelphia. They will take part in practices and media availability tomorrow. Look for all your coverage from Dan, Chuck, Tommy and the video team from the city of brotherly love all week here at GoBearcats.com. And obviously, keep it locked to the blog.
--- Randomness ...
--- You need to be voting in Mo Egger's All-Time Reds March Madness Bracket. And you need to be voting for Noodles Hahn. If a name like Noodles Hahn can't be embraced by a fan base, what chance does anyone have?
--- Cool idea and execution by The Dagger talking about the defenders who had iconic March shots drained in their faces.
--- Is the next 60 Minutes special going to be on PGA Tour Drones?
--- NBC set a number of season finale dates for shows, including Community, which has disappointed me this season. Parks and Rec, on the other hand, has not.
--- Usher showed up and performed with the Afghan Whigs at SXSW. Not shockingly, he just wanted to take it nice and slow. See what I did there? (Video: Usher arrived at 16-minute mark)
--- Spiders are eating bats now? Well, crap.
--- Cereal bracket where my Frosted Mini-Wheats and Lucky Charms are set to meet in an epic Sweet 16 battle.
--- Because I'm feeling like keeping a mood of relaxation will be important today, have to go with Instrumental SpottieOttie. Have a great day everybody.