CityBeat Blogs - College http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/blogs-1-1-1-38-185.html <![CDATA[UC Baseball Interview Shenanigans Go Viral]]> The University of Cincinnati baseball team might not have had a winning record last year (24-32, 6-18 Big East), and it is currently without a leader after the school fired longtime head coach Brian Cleary last week. But that doesn’t mean the dudes didn’t have some fun this season — at least after the games ended.

People of the Internet are enjoying a collection of videos and GIFs released by UC showing players doing hilarious stuff in the background of postgame interviews. The clips have been posted at Deadspin and USA Today’s sports blog.

Here's the video:



And GIF form:


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<![CDATA[Queen City Hoops: March Madness Edition]]> It’s a big day for fans here in the Queen City, for those repping the navy and white and the red and black. After the five months of build-up March Madness has finally arrived and after success for other semi-local teams — Ohio State, Kentucky and Louisville — the Bearcats and the Muskies look to continue the trend.

Sixth-seeded Cincinnati will face the eleventh-seeded Texas Longhorns in the second round of the East region. The game is slated to tip at 12:15 p.m. today on CBS.

The Bearcats will need to contain the Longhorn’s one-man show in J’Covan Brown. The junior guard averaged a Big 12 best 20.1 points per game on a team that averaged 73 a game. Production drops off seriously after Brown — Texas only has one other player averaging double figure points. If the Bearcats decide to play man-to-man, a combo of Dion Dixon and JaQuan Parker will look to slow down Brown. Cashmere Wright will have the duty of slowing down freshman point guard Myck Kabongo, a former McDonald’s All-American.

Offensively the ‘Cats will look to use their superior size — Texas has only one player taller than 6-foot-7 — down low with Yancy Gates, Cheikh Mbodj and Justin Jackson. If UC can get the ball down low on a consistent basis then the duo of Wright and Dixon will be able to penetrate and create open outside shots for Parker and leading scorer Sean Kilpatrick. Unlike Texas, UC has a well-balanced offense with four players averaging double digits and a fifth player averaging 9 points per game.

Texas is a young team with six freshmen on the roster and has lost more than one close game during a tough Big 12 schedule despite their lack of experience. The Bearcats also have fought their way through their fair share of adversity this year. If Mick Cronin’s guys play with the defensive tenacity that saw them knock off a nation-leading seven ranked teams during the season, than surely we will see them in round three.

Catch plenty of action and throw back a green beer (or 12) before the 10th-seeded Musketeers face off against seventh-seeded Notre Dame in a battle of Catholic supremacy ... on the hardwood (in terms of religion, they’re all winners).

On paper this looks like a great game and hopefully it plays out that way on the court. As most college hoops fans know, the Muskies are led by the outstanding backcourt duo of Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons. They average 17 points and 15.5 points, respectively.

Notre Dame doesn’t have a go-to scorer after losing their stud, Tim Abromaitis, early in the year. But what the Fighting Irish don’t lack is a core group of players that work their tails off and come up with wins. A big match up in this game will be between big-men Jack Cooley and Kenny Frease. If either one can have a monster game expect that team to win.

I think Xavier will have their hands full but I also think the Musketeers play some of their best ball during tournament time. I think Xavier pulls it out by five or so. Although the Reds look like their going to be damned good this year I’m not ready for the hoops season to end early. Best of luck to both teams!

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<![CDATA[Queen City Hoops: Conference Tournament Edition]]> It’s a big night on the hardwood for the Queen City this evening. UC faces No. 2 Syracuse in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament — a place the Bearcats have never reached since joining the conference in 2005. Xavier has had far more success in their endeavors in the A-10 tournament, although last year Xavier bowed out in the quarterfinals as the No. 1 seed. The opponent that night was the Dayton Flyers, the same team the Muskies face tonight with hopes of cementing an NCAA bid.

Let’s start with Xavier, who is in a far more intriguing position heading into tonight’s game. Joe Lunardi, Jerry Palm and Shaw Siegel — all well-known braketologists — have XU in as either an 11 or 12 seed. Fair enough, although as the 3 seed in the A-10 Tournament I believe the Muskies should have to win at least one game to earn a bid to the big dance. I’m going out on a limb here — win and in, lose and lock up a home game in the NIT.

Xavier split the regular season series with the Flyers with each team winning at home. The Flyers pounded Xavier by 15 points in Dayton and forced the game into overtime at Cintas. If the Flyers can get past Xavier tonight in Atlantic City then my I would place my money (the pun was intended) on Dayton to be the A-10’s third team along with Temple and Saint Louis to be accepted into the NCAA Tournament. Currently the Flyers have one more win than the Muskies, 20-11 compared with 19-11, and will have two wins over Xavier. Let’s be honest here, Xavier doesn’t have the same look it has had in previous years or even three months ago before a couple suspensions and a Kenny Frease black eye.

But if the Musketeers can hold on for a “W” the 11 to 12 seed range looks far more promising than you may believe. Xavier is talented on any given night to beat most of the 5 and 6 seeds. Here’s a mouthwatering thought: Lunardi has Xavier against Louisville in his latest projection. That would be one hell of a game.

Despite the wonders Mick Cronin has worked with the Bearcats, they sit in a far less intriguing but far more troubling position. All projections indicate that UC will fall in as an 8 or 9 seed. The way the 'Cats are playing, the first round is certainly doable but barring any major upset a second round meeting with a 1 seed awaits. Both Lunardi and Palm have UC in the Midwest region with Kansas — I guess that’s the least of the other three evils, North Carolina, Kentucky and Syracuse.

The Bearcats will be more than familiar with Syracuse after tonight’s game and a regular season meeting, but I think the Bearcats match up better with the Jayhawks. If things go according to (my) plan and UC gets Kansas, Yancy Gates is going to have to go into beast mode against player-of-the-year candidate Thomas Robinson. I digress; a win against Syracuse tonight in the mecca of hoops, MSG, might push UC into the realm of a 7 seed. Oh how magical that would be.

Hopefully an abundance of 3-pointers will take the place of a woeful 2-21 performance yesterday. The Bearcats played the Orange tough at home back in January, losing 53-60.

If Gates can put up a performance similar to yesterdays and the defense can limit the opportunities of Dion Waiters and Kris Joseph the ‘Cats have a fighting chance. It would also be nice if those cool new uniforms — 28 percent lighter than the old ones, I hear — could supply and additional 10 points or so just for good measure.

As a UC fan I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a 7 seed. I really would like to see Xavier in and prove that their recent struggles aren’t a true reflection of their potential. Check back Monday for a Selection Sunday analysis.

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<![CDATA[Queen City Hoops: Selection Sunday Nears]]> 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.

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<![CDATA[Queen City Hoops]]> The Cincinnati Bearcats look one step closer to being a lock for their second straight NCAA tournament appearance after a 60-56 win against Big East rivals Louisville in front of a sellout crowd at Fifth Third Arena Thursday night.

UC entered the game as the second-best 3-point shooting team by percentage – 36 percent – and the most 3-pointers made with 203 on the year. This theme continued as the ‘Cats went 11-27 from behind the arc including eight in the first half. Cashmere Wright fueled the 3-point barrage as he nailed a career-best, six long balls. Louisville on the other hand struggled mightily from behind the arc finishing the game 1-14.

UC’s ability to make the long ball made up for an otherwise disappointing night from the field. The Bearcats made only eight 2-point field goals at a miserable 26 percent clip. Louisville didn’t shoot much better; leading scorer Kyle Kuric managed only 4 points, all from the free-throw line.

Big man Gorgui Dieng finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Cardinals. Peyton Siva added 14 points and 4 assists in the Louisville loss. Louisville fell to 9-6 in the Big East while UC improved to 10-5. Both teams have three conference games remaining.

After last night's win over No. 17 Louisville, UC sits in a fourth-place tie with Georgetown and South Florida, who share 10-5 records, and UC holds the tiebreaker against Georgetown. The top four seeds in the conference tournament will received double byes and an automatic bid into the quarterfinals. The Bearcats have games remaining at USF and Villanova — a team they beat once already — and Senior Night when Marquette comes to town. In all likelihood the fourth seed will be a fight between UC and Georgetown. The Hoyas have the tougher schedule as they welcome Villanova and Notre Dame, which has  won nine straight,  while they travel to Marquette to end the schedule.

Only weeks away from Selection Sunday, the Bearcats should guaranteed a spot in the NCAA Tournament with another win in the last three games. Xavier, on the other hand, needs to win out and have some results go their way if they want to make the Big Dance.

The Musketeers lost at Massachusetts on Tuesday night and are three games back of the conference lead with three games remaining. League leaders Temple are not going to lose three games, so Xavier will have to make a push for the conference tournament title or hope the selection committee looks upon them favorably.

A sloppy evening from the Muskies combined with a outstanding performance by Massachusetts’ guard Chaz Williams led to an easy win for the Minutemen. Xavier turned the ball over 20 times and could not compensate for the career-high 29 points from Williams, including six 3-pointers. Xavier had four players score double-digits and Dez Wells led the way with 19 points, but Wells also led Xavier with 6 turnovers.

The Musketeers' remaining schedule includes two sub .500 teams in Charlotte and Richmond and a trip to second-place Saint Louis — which beat Xavier by five at the Cintas Center back on Jan. 25.

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