I know for my generation and certainly those younger than myself seeing this date doesn't mean much, but for those who remember the D-Day invasion at Normandy back in 1944 this day will never be forgotten. Still unbelievable to think about the enormity and courage of that attack. One of the last -- let's hope -- of that type of massive face-to-face attack in our history.
Worth reflecting on for a moment today.
Great photo posted by my guy Todd Jones of the Columbus Dispatch here. Crazy to imagine what you had to be thinking in that second.
But you didn't come here to see my thoughts on world history, time for Bearcats.
Let's eat ...
--- Big news of yesterday was UC officially announcing a matchup against Pittsburgh in the Jimmy V Classic. They will be the opening game of the annual doubleheader at Madison Square Garden at 7 p.m. Dec. 17. They'll be followed by Florida-Memphis.
Three main points to this news:
1) The Jimmy V Classic is among the grandest stages in the college basketball non-conference schedule. Being a part of it means officially being recognized among the big boys in the sport. UC established itself as such making the tournament and winning three games there the last three years. But in this sport where perception matters immeasurably to the stability of the program, this should fly like a proud flag in the front yard.
2) A great move for the NY pipeline inside the UC program right now. With so many NY/NJ area players (Sean Kilpatrick, Shaq Thomas, Jermaine Sanders, Jermaine Lawrence) building the core of the roster it's a reward for them to return to MSG despite the conference tournament being moved away from there. It also continues to strengthen that NY recruiting foothold which has been among the most important developments in the reconstruction of the program.
3) This reinforces the same point I've been saying since the day the Big East basketball schools broke off. Games like this on major stages in the non-conference will easily offset the loss of the conference schedule depth. Right now we know a trip to New Mexico, neutral site against Xavier and Pittsburgh are on the books. More games will be released and I'm willing to bet the number of top-tier teams played will compare favorably to last year.
Chris Mack of Xavier talked with Andy Katz about the same balance, only from the reverse side in his morning blog. Scheduling is a tough business these days, but bottom line is to face a certain number of top-tier opponents to be prepared for The Dance and impress the committee. There are multiple ways to make that happen.
--- Kelvin Gaines is transferring to North Texas. Because he graduated in three years, he'll be able to play immediately with the Mean Green with two years of eligibility. Mick Cronin spoke at length with Bill Koch about the move here.
Gaines suffered an injury and would have been limited this year and a space needed to be cleared with the late addition of Jermaine Lawrence. Bottom line, Gaines wasn't going to play as much here and needed a chance to show what he can do.
He took a major step forward last year. He has stretches during games where he was a savior with Cheikh Mbodj and Dave Nyarsuk either struggling or in foul trouble.
Will be fun to see his development when he's playing every day and I'll be sad I can no longer track a statistic made famous by former UC SID Jeremy Martin for most blocks by a body part other than his hand. Gaines went three straight games with an elbow block two years back, one of the more impressive streaks I've seen.
--- Congrats to Josh Dangel who took home All-American status in the pole vault. He finished tied for seventh at the nationals in Eugene, Ore., yesterday. He cleared 17-8.5 on his final vault. Being the seventh best in the country at what you do isn't half bad.
--- Today is the day for Terence Somerville. I spoke with him last week about his chance at redemption at Nationals in the 110 hurdles last week. Here's that story.
His semifinal heat will be tonight at 8:20. Keep it locked to GoBearcats.com for the results. If Somerville qualifies for the finals it will be run Saturday at 6:16 p.m.
Have to be excited for Somerville who will attempt to go out on top during his final collegiate race.
--- Is there anything JK Schaffer hasn't done in this city. He led UC in tackles for three years, made the Bengals and leaves behind legendary status at LaSalle HS. Well, he added hitting a home run at GABP to his list of city accomplishments yesterday.
Talked to him after the Bengals took BP before the game and he was pretty darn proud, as he should be. The Reds staff even tracked down the home run ball for him. He was one of three players on the team to hit one out of the park (TJ Johnson, Bryce Davis).
Guessing all those days spent golfing didn't hurt his ability to turn on the ball.
--- Referee Mike Kitts announces he's moving out of on-court ref business.. Our guy Chuck Machock must be letting out a sigh of relief. Kitts can't get him again after famously tossing him out of the NCAA tourney game against Gonzaga. The odds of The Streak living on longer just increased significantly.
Dan Hoard has probably talked about this as many times as there are games in the streak, but will happily talk about it again if you ever meet him. Just ask David Letterman.
--- Rutgers. Yikes. Think somewhere in the B1G offices there's a group of executives looking for a way out of that agreement?
--- Signs continue to point toward Memphis as the host of the AAC hoops tourney. The only question is if it will be permanent or a rotation.
--- Randomness ...
--- Spending $300 on headphones doesn't make sense to me, even as cool as these look. I bought a special pair of headphones this week and my $20 Sony's were right on the shelf next to the $300 Dre Beats. I feel pretty good about my decision.
--- I'm a sucker for shin-kicking videos.
--- So many questions raised in this headline and subhead.
--- Great fake story: NBA revamps logo to add image of LeBron flopping.
--- Shoot any comments, questions and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org and hit me up on Twitter @pauldehnerjr. And I know I don't always play to the country demographic but in honor of today's weather and a delightfully catchy song, here's Luke Bryan. Have a great day everybody.