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by Brian Dill 03.02.2012
Posted In: College, Basketball at 02:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Queen City Hoops: Selection Sunday Nears

Bearcats a lock, Muskies not so much

The regular season is drawing to a close as Cincinnati and Xavier each have one game left before conference tournament time. Cincinnati will hear their name called on "Selection Sunday" — as for Xavier, only time will tell.

ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi has Xavier as one of his first four out, and I tend to agree — although I disagree with the pointless bickering in the comments section regarding the brawl that happened — wait for it — almost three months ago. The Bearcats are listed as a 10 seed, a much better prospect than having an 8 or 9 seed and having to play Kentucky or Syracuse if they can make it past the first round. With the current mock up, the ‘Cats would play San Diego State in the first round — a winnable game — and North Carolina in the second — maybe, with a hope and a prayer.

Not to say that crazier things haven’t happened: VMI, Butler (twice) and George Mason have all knocked off No. 1 seeds in the tournament. UC has more talent than any of those teams, and if they can continue playing like they did against Marquette this past Wednesday the Sweet 16 or even Elite 8 isn’t out of the question.

The Bearcats played stifling defense against Marquette, forcing 17 turnovers. They dominated the paint, outscoring the Golden Eagles 42-24, and JaQuon Parker was a revelation. Parker used his size and strength to drive to the hoop at will and went 2-for-4 from behind the arc, including a halftime buzzer-beater that put UC up 16 at the half. Parker finished the game with a career-best 28 points.

The Bearcats didn’t look back. Yancy Gates finished the game with 13 boards despite being limited to less than four minutes of first half play because of foul trouble. The 72-61 final wasn’t as close as the score indicated, as UC coasted to victory. With the emergence of Parker the 'Cats now have a steady combo of inside and outside threats that will make them a difficult team to face both in New York and in the NCAA tournament.

Xavier, on the other hand, isn’t a lock for a ticket to March Madness. Winning the A10 tourney would put all doubt to rest. The Muskies host Charlotte tomorrow; with a loss the NIT will certainly be beckoning. A win leaves a glimmer of hope, but in all likelihood, Chris Mack and his team will be on the outside looking in next Sunday.

by Danny Cross 09.28.2009
Posted In: football at 01:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Nice Win, Bengals...

The conclusion of Sunday’s Bengals win over Pittsburgh was both exciting and strange. It’s not very often you get to witness a last-second come-from-behind victory over a hated rival. Seeing it occur in your own stadium is even better. See you in Week 10 if you still matter, Stiller fans!

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by Brian Dill 04.04.2012
Posted In: baseball at 09:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Opening Day on the Horizon: A Reds Preview

With Opening Day fast approaching, you now have 225 million reasons to go watch the Reds this year. Bob Castellini opened up the checkbook and Walt Jocketty busted out his best persuasive vocabulary and Joey Votto accepted; to the tune of a 10-year, $225 million contract extension — the fourth largest in major league history.

Reds ownership — unlike our dear friend, Mike Brown — has embraced the recent successes of their young nucleus of talented players and has spared no expense to keep the "Little Big Red Machine" well-oiled. Votto joins fellow all-star Jay Bruce, who signed a six-year, $51 million deal after the 2010 season. It’s nice to see a professional sports owner in Cincinnati who actually loves the sport and is in it for the right reasons.

The Reds will have plenty of offensive talent this year, something that really has not been a problem over the past couple of seasons. Any lingering doubt has to relate to the recent injuries that have plagued the bullpen. Ryan Madson is out for the year after Tommy John surgery while Nick Masset will start the season on the DL with shoulder cuff inflammation. This means that Aroldis Chapman will start in the bullpen even though most Reds fans — and manager, Dusty Baker — know his services would be better used as a starter. Sean Marshall will step in to the closer role until the Reds have more depth in the bullpen; he isn’t a bad option and has consistently kept a low ERA in a relief role.

One thing hasn’t changed, the Reds still play in Great American Ballpark and they have an abundance of young, strong bats in the lineup. Between Votto, Bruce, Todd Frazier and Chris Heisey, expect the Reds to be amongst the league-leaders in home runs. Drew Stubbs will hit some too, but if he could take a little constructive criticism to heart: Please, learn to bunt. This will be a key in the Reds venture for success this year.

If Stubbs can get on base, he is going to steal — there are very few players in the majors that have his kind of speed. If the bats behind Stubbs perform up to expectations, the Reds will score more than enough runs to support the pitching staff. And the single most important key to success this year is battling through injuries; if the young guys can step in and compete there is no reason the Reds won’t win the division — after all, we do have the best first baseman, if not player, in the National League.

The Reds will open their season against the Miami Marlins at 4:05 p.m. on Thursday following the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade. For more celebration of Opening Day, check out C. Trent Rosecrans' column from this week's CityBeat here.

by Danny Cross 03.09.2012
Posted In: Basketball at 01:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Considering UC’s Possible NCAA Tournament Draws

’Cats could end up with a surprisingly high seed

The Bearcats’ sweet double-overtime victory yesterday over Georgetown was the team’s sixth win in its last seven games, three of which were against teams ranked in the Top 25 at the time. The ’Cats are now 6-3 against the RPI top 50, with tonight’s 7 p.m. Big East semifinal against No. 2 Syracuse offering an opportunity to seriously enhance the team’s seeding come Sunday.

ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi currently has the Bearcats projected as an 8 seed, playing Virginia in the first round with a potential second-round game against No. 1 seed Kansas. This situation would seriously suck. (For Cincinnati or for Kansas? ... Good point.)

Cincinnati is by far the most dangerous team in the 7-10 range, having recently defeated projected 3-seeds Marquette and Georgetown, along with projected 5-seed Louisville. It’s safe to say that no No. 1 or 2 seed wants to see the Bearcats in the second round. And for UC, the road to the Sweet Sixteen actually would look a lot easier from one of the 11 or 12 seeds — fellow Big East squad South Florida is projected as a 12 to face 5-seed UNLV in the first round and potentially 4-seed Florida State in the second. I think UC would gladly take on a tougher first-round matchup for a second round game that’s not against a school that starts four or five future NBA players.

It actually wouldn’t be a huge surprise if UC is one of the several teams that every year gets slotted somewhere far from what the prognosticators expected. The Bearcats’ RPI of 58 might fit in with those of some of the current bubble teams, but only two other teams outside the RPI top 17 have as many wins over the RPI top 50 as UC’s six (Kansas State, RPI 44, and Notre Dame, RPI 37, each also have six).

The Bearcats received votes in the AP Top 25 last week. UC’s five votes had the team around the No. 35 ranking, which falls in line with the 8- to 9-seed projection. But that was before yesterday’s win over Georgetown, which would likely have earned the ’Cats more votes even if the team loses to Syracuse. Louisville, on the other hand, fell from the Top 25 in last week’s ranking, actually sitting two spots out at No. 27, but the Cardinals are currently projected as a 5 seed, which would typically include teams in the 17-20 range.

The selection committee doesn’t strictly follow any single set of rankings when determining seeding, but the guess here is that even with a loss to Syracuse in the Big East semifinals it wouldn’t be a stretch for the committee to consider UC one of the top 28 teams in the country, which would put UC among the 7 seeds. And it’s safe to say that a win over Syracuse would put the Bearcats firmly in the Top 25 by week’s end, meaning a 6 seed would be possible. And if UC were to win the whole Big East tournament, it would be difficult for any selection committee to seed the team very far from the likes of projected 3-seeds Georgetown and Marquette, two teams the Bearcats have beaten in the last 16 days.

Here’s hoping the Bearcats put on a good showing tonight in primetime against the No. 2 team in the country in the Big East semis. Selection committee members will be watching, as will the potential No. 1 and No. 2 seeds which certainly don’t want to see Cincinnati between themselves and the second round.

Photo of Dion Dixon jamming on Louisville's Chane Behanon by Brian Baker/Lacking Focus Photography.

by Danny Cross 10.23.2008
Posted In: baseball at 03:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Good Luck With the Future of the Franchise

Losing Game 1 of a seven-game series is not good. (Yea, yea, losing Game 1 of any series isn’t good, smart ass.) So with the pressure already on the lovable Tampa Bay Rays, I believe we should up the stakes on this somewhat uninteresting World Series.

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by Danny Cross 02.17.2012
Posted In: Rollergirls at 11:04 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cincinnati Rollergirls Kick Off Season This Weekend

Team travels to Grand Rapids, Mich., Saturday; will host tryouts next week

Roller derby fans won’t be able to catch the Cincinnati Rollergirls’ season-opening contest against Grand Rapids this weekend because it’s taking place in Michigan, but the group will host its second tryout of the season next week, leading up to their March 10 home opener against St. Louis.

On Saturday the Cincinnati Rollergirls will get their season started with a bout against the Grand Raggidy Roller Girls. The Rollergirls’ A-team, the Black Sheep, open the season ranked No. 8 in the Women's Flat Track Derby Association's North Central Region. The Grand Raggidies are No. 11, though the Black Sheep have handily defeated them in both previous contests, the most recent of which was two years ago.

Next week the Rollergirls will host their second tryout of the year, scheduled for Feb. 26 at The Skatin’ Place in Colerain Township (3211 Lina Place). Tryouts are open to women who are at least 18 years old and will include this set of minimum skill requirements.

The Rollergirls won’t start their home schedule until March 10 when they host the Arch Rival Rollergirls of St. Louis. During halftime a new roller derby team for girls ages 8-17, the Cincinnati Junior Rollergirls, will debut.

Rollergirls home games take place at the Cincinnati Gardens (2250 Seymour Ave., Norwood). Tickets are $10, parking is free and lots of beer is available, with $1 happy hour specials starting at 6 p.m. (bouts start at 7). Season tickets are now available at www.cincinnatirollergirls.com and single-game tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com. Kids’ tickets are $5 advance/$6 door (kids 6 and younger free) and you can sit right next to the track and have people crash onto you for $15/$17.

Here's a funny commercial the Rollergirls put on the internet.

by PJ O'Keefe 04.05.2010
Posted In: baseball at 09:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Opening Day Weather, Traffic, Preview [WCPO]

Get up-to-the-minute info on today's Opening Day festivities from our media partners at WCPO.com, including the latest weather forecast, traffic conditions, season preview and a poll asking what makes Opening Day so great.

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by Danny Cross 11.26.2008
Posted In: football at 02:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Stay Away From Us Mallory

Word on the internets suggests that our sports team-supporting mayor is going to publicly recognize the UC Bearcat football team outside City Hall today. From his botched opening day pitch (which was so hilariously poor that it landed him on national talk shows) to his recent vote of confidence in the Cincinnati Bengals, Mayor Mallory is way out of it when it comes to sports.

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by Danny Cross 08.29.2013
Posted In: baseball at 09:03 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Brandon Phillips Acts Like a Real Dick to Reporter

Earns SportsCenter coverage for repeatedly calling Enquirer reporter "fat motherfucker"

Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips is typically all smiles when the cameras are on him, but before last night’s game against the Cardinals — and just outside the frame of a video recorded by a St. Louis-area radio station — Phillips let the expletives fly during a tirade against Enquirer reporter C. Trent Rosecrans, who dared to accurately report Phillips’ shitty on-base percentage in response to Phillips asking to bat higher in the lineup.

The incident earned a minute-long segment on SportsCenter and responses from multiple national baseball writers.

Phillips was moved to the second spot in the batting order for that night's game — he has batted fourth most of the year and ranks third in the National League in RBI. In a tweet, Rosecrans pointed out that Phillips' .310 on-base percentage is lower than the .320 of the guy he replaced in the two-spot in the team's lineup.

Phillips reportedly went off on Rosecrans in the clubhouse and then continued the tirade during the media session with Baker. Phillips, who is off camera in the video, interrupts the interview with Baker, calling out “fat motherfucker on the end” and saying to Baker: “Tell him you’ll have me bat eighth if you’re worried about my on-base percentage. Fat motherfucker, make him happy.”

Phillips says to Rosecrans, “I’m tired of you talking that negative bullshit about my team, dog. I found out your Twitter name motherfucker, that’s a wrap.”

Rosecrans responds, “Wow, took you how many years?”

Dusty Baker laughed and then said, “I ain’t in this; it’s between you and him.”

Rosecrans says, “It’s between him and him.”

The Enquirer
posted a blog in response to the incident before the game was over. Enquirer sports editor Angel Rodriguez wrote, “While we are disappointed in Phillips' reaction, we understand it is a pennant race and emotions are high during a crucial series with a heated rival. This isn't the first time a player has lost his temper in response to a reporter's questions and it won't be the last. It is part of covering the team day-in day-out.”

In response to an outpouring of support on Facebook, Rosecrans wrote that this kind of thing isn’t really new to the world of sports coverage but thanked people for the support.

Rosecrans was the Reds beat writer for the Cincinnati Post and has reported for local radio stations and websites, in addition to spending most of 2012 writing a weekly sports column for CityBeat. He is a 10-year member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

The full video can be seen below:

by Brian Dill 05.01.2012
Posted In: baseball at 01:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
frank victores-us presswire

Reds On the Upswing

Clubs sits in second place at 11-11 after slow start

Maybe what Joey Votto said after the Reds' latest victory rings true: “I think a losing record early in the year can be a good thing."

The Reds have reeled off three straight series wins and a fourth is not out of the question as the last-place Cubs come to the Queen City. Votto ended a homerless streak in game three versus the Astros and drove in four runs as the Reds came from behind to clinch a 6-5 win. The Reds have won seven of their last 10 games and face three division foes in their next three series’.

After the Cubs, the Reds travel to Pittsburgh and Milwaukee, the two teams nipping at the Redlegs (pun absolutely intended). Series victories can put some distance between the Reds and their division rivals and with some outside help could even see the Reds jump over the Cardinals for first. Jay Bruce has been paramount in the Reds' recent run, as he has hit a home run in four straight games and leads the Reds in nearly every offensive category.

The hot bat of Bruce along with continued solid performances from Votto, Zack Cozart and a recently more effective Drew Stubbs are a must. Now the tail end of the Reds' starting rotation has to bust out of their slump — Homer Bailey and Mike Leake have a combined record of 1-5. The two can start a positive trend against an inept Cubs offense sans shortstop Starlin Castro (.333).

Look for the Reds to win six out of their next nine and keep in touch with St. Louis before a huge series with a surprisingly good Washington team.