by Nick Swartsell
Posted In: News
at 10:01 AM | Permalink
NCAA tournament is Ohio against the world; VA head McDonald: speed up services to homeless veterans; NKY Rep. wants to cut fed funding for transit projects
Hey all, it’s news time on this glorious, if rainy, Friday. Let’s go.It truly is Ohio against the world right now, at least when it comes to March Madness (which, if you’re anything like some of my friends, truly is your entire existence at this moment in time). The University of Cincinnati beat Purdue in a heart-stopper last night, Xavier bested Ole Miss and OSU beat Virginia Commonwealth University. Additionally, the Dayton Flyers pulled one out Wednesday against Boise State to make it into the tournament. They’ll be facing Providence College tonight. That’s great, but big challenges loom ahead: specifically, 8th-seed UC will have to face 1st-seed UK tomorrow. That’s going to be a tough game for the Bearcats. But let’s see what happens, right? While we’re talking basketball, here’s an interesting look at which local programs are making money for their universities, and which are break-even propositions. UC, for instance, spends as much on its basketball program as its team brings in, while Xavier turns a handy profit — the Musketeers’ hoops squad brings in more than $6 million a year. • Veterans Affairs Secretary and former P&G CEO Bob McDonald wants Cincinnati, along with other cities, to speed up the process of identifying and helping homeless veterans. McDonald visited local service agencies helping veterans yesterday and said he was impressed with the work those groups are doing, as well as the progress the city has made on veteran homelessness. But he also called for quicker turnaround when it comes to getting homeless veterans into housing, saying that the longer it takes to find them and get them on the right track, the less likely they will be to receive and utilize that aid at all. Mayor John Cranley, who joined McDonald on his tours of service agencies yesterday, is engaged in a national program to help vets, called the Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. That initiative looks to end veteran homelessness across the country by the end of this year. • The Cincinnati Zoo recently made a national list of top places to travel if you want to see cool animals. Family Fun magazine publishes its annual rankings on the best places to travel in a number of specific categories, and Cincinnati’s Zoo ranked number eight in the animal attractions category. It ranked just below Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which is pretty impressive. It’s one more accolade for the zoo, which is widely recognized as one of the best in the nation. • U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, who represents Northern Kentucky, has a GREAT idea for fixing the nation’s highway funding dilemma: strip funding for all other transit projects from the National Highway Trust Fund. Massie says the federal government’s grants for streetcars and other alternate forms of transit cost billions that could go toward building and repairing highways and bridges. Hm. Right. Except each of those projects keeps cars off the road, lessens America’s dependence on oil, may create economic development in the communities they’re built in and provide ways to work and recreation for the millions of Americans who don’t own cars. Which, as of yesterday, includes me. It’s also worth noting that only a small percentage of the Highway Trust Fund goes to transit projects, so cutting that funding would be a drop in the bucket. An alternative measure would be to increase the nation’s gas tax, which hasn’t been raised since grunge rock was cool the first time (that’s 1993).
• Former (and perhaps future) Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum was once again in the Greater Cincinnati area Thursday, fueling more speculation about his ambitions for the GOP presidential nomination. The former Pennsylvania senator stopped by a fundraiser in Montgomery hosted by the Northeast Hamilton County Republican Club. He avoided saying crazy stuff about religion (at least on the record) but did have some eyebrow-raising thoughts on the economy. Santorum is known to be a hardcore conservative when it comes to social issues, but there are signs he’s tacking moderate on the economy, a combination last tried by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee when he sought the GOP nomination in 2008. Santorum talked about how Republicans could capture the hearts and minds of America’s workers, backing policies that step away from the hardcore trickle down theories (tax cuts for the wealthy, decreased regulations) most recently advanced by the GOP. He revealed his presidential platform, should he run, would include supporting a small minimum wage increase — something few other Republicans seem willing to touch. He also committed something close to sacrilege for conservatives, saying the party needed to move on from Ronald Regan’s economic legacy and message. Santorum’s continued courting of the buckeye state (he was here visiting folks in Butler County a couple weeks ago for a religious freedom conference) comes ahead of his party’s national convention in Cleveland next year and is further evidence that the presidential race may be tightly focused on Ohio.• While we’re talking presidential hopefuls, let’s cross the spectrum for a minute and talk about Democrats, specifically their frontrunner for the presidential nomination, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She’s been dominating the field on the Dem side, even though she hasn’t officially announced her candidacy. But that could be changing, according to a new poll from news organization Reuters. That poll shows Clinton’s support among Democrats has dipped by 15 points since mid-February, and that now about 45 percent of those identifying with the party say they’re sure they’ll vote for her. That’s still a bigger margin than any other potential candidate, of which there are very few, but the drop is alarming. Some of the dip may be explained by the recent high-profile flap over Clinton’s e-mail usage while secretary of state. After the New York Times reported earlier this month that Clinton used a personal account to conduct State Department business, she has been on the defensive explaining that move. Clinton has turned over tens of thousands of work related e-mails sent from her personal account, but also had other e-mails she claims were personal deleted. That’s led some to suggest she may be hiding information. Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail account appears to have fallen within State Department rules, which were changed after her tenure to require the Secretary of State to use a government account for accountability purposes. And I’m out. Tweet me (@nswartsell), e-mail me (email@example.com) or comment below. What do you think? Do you hold out any hope for UC against UK? Do you think we should raise the gas tax? Should I buy a car or wait for regional transit in Cincinnati to become so stellar I won’t need one? (I'm not holding my breath on any of these).
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 18, 2015
NOTE: The first round of the NCAA
Tournament is called the second round because of play-in games Tuesday
and Wednesday. It’s weird but that's just how things are now.
Fresh off a deep Big East Tournament run, Xavier seniors look to cement their legacies in the Big Dance
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 18, 2015
On Sunday evening, after the NCAA
Selection Committee revealed the first three tournament regions with no
sign of Xavier’s name, the Musketeers started to sweat.
Cincinnati overcame the midseason loss of Mick Cronin to earn a fifth consecutive NCAA tournament bid. Now Purdue and Kentucky stand in the way of the Sweet 16.
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 18, 2015
There was no telling which way the
University of Cincinnati basketball program would lean after Mick Cronin
announced a leave of absence from the team he has coached for the past
nine years to deal with an unruptured brain aneurysm.
by Danny Cross
Posted In: Basketball
at 08:45 AM | Permalink
Cincinnati, Xavier, Ohio State, Ohio U. all in the Sweet Sixteen
Late Sunday night, as the Cincinnati-Florida State game prepared to determine the
final member of this year’s Sweet Sixteen, the national analysis
dudes all started talking about how the state of Ohio had gone 7-0 up
to that point — Ohio University had just defeated South Florida to
get into the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since the 1960s. Ohio
State and Xavier were both already in.
Cincinnati went on to
win a physical, back-and-forth game against FSU, which finished third
in the Atlantic Coast Conference and won the ACC tournament. It was
the first time in the history of UC’s program that the team beat a
higher-seeded opponent in the NCAA Tournament. The No. 6 seed Bearcats will play No. 2 seed
Ohio State at 9:45 p.m. Thursday in Boston, which means the
state of Ohio will suffer its first loss of the 2012 NCAA Tournament
After a second-round
comeback win over Notre Dame, Xavier found itself in the fortunate
position of facing a team called “Lehigh” rather than one called
“Duke.” Lehigh was one of two 15 seeds to defeat a No. 2 seed in
this year’s second-round of play, and the “Mountain Hawks” made
actually game of against Xavier, which didn’t have the game in hand
until less than five minutes remained. Xavier will now play No. 3
seed Baylor at 7:15 p.m. Friday in Atlanta.
Ohio University upset
4-seeded Michigan in the second round and then ousted No. 13 seed
South Florida in the third. The Bobcats will play No. 1 seed North
Carolina at 7:47 p.m. Friday in St. Louis.
Ohio State beat Loyola
(Md.) and Gonzaga to earn its spot in the Sweet Sixteen. OSU and
Cincinnati last faced each other in the NCAA Tournament in the 1962
National Championship game, which UC won 71–59. (UC also defeated
OSU in the 1961 title game, 70-65.) The Ohio State-Cincinnati winner
will face the winner of Syracuse-Wisconsin, setting up a potential
rematch of the Big East Tournament semifinal game when Cincinnati
MORE SWEET NEARBY TEAMS:
The Ohio Valley’s
hoops success easily spreads beyond just the Ohio teams — three
more schools within 100 miles are in the Sweet Sixteen: Kentucky,
Louisville and Indiana. Kentucky and Indiana are actually matched up
in the South Region (9:45 p.m. Friday in Atlanta), while Louisville
faces Michigan State in the West (7:47 p.m. Thursday in Phoenix).
BIG EAST REPRESENT:
The Big East again
this year sent more teams to the NCAA Tournament than any other
conference, and four of its nine are still standing: Syracuse,
Marquette, Cincinnati and Louisville. Each of these schools is in a
separate region, so it’s still technically possible for an all-Big
East Final Four.
SWEET SIXTEEN SCHEDULE:
Thursday, March 22
Wisconsin vs. Syracuse
(Boston): 7:15 p.m. on CBS
Louisville vs. Michigan
State (Phoenix): 7:47 p.m. on TBS
Cincinnati vs. Ohio
State (Boston): 9:45 p.m. on CBS
Florida vs. Marquette
(Phoenix): 10:17 p.m. on TBS
Friday, March 23
Baylor vs. Xavier
(Atlanta): 7:15 p.m. on CBS
North Carolina vs. Ohio
(St. Louis): 7:47 p.m. on TBS
Kentucky vs. Indiana
(Atlanta): 9:45 p.m. on CBS
Kansas vs. N.C. State
(St. Louis): 10:17 p.m. on TBS
by Danny Cross
Posted In: Basketball
at 01:06 PM | Permalink
’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.
1 Comment · Wednesday, May 27, 2009
A month ago, the Xavier University baseball team didn't conjure a first thought, let alone a second. A lot of baseball happens in Cincinnati. College baseball happens very quietly. But around noon on May 25 Xavier reached quite a unique distinction when it was officially announced as a qualifier for the NCAA baseball tournament, and the Muskies will play Friday at 3 p.m. against Kansas State at the Houston Regional. Over the past month, XU put together a splendid run, winning 17 of 20 games with prodigious batsmanship and a knack for winning close contests when they didn't bludgeon opponents to death.
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 25, 2009
George W. Bush made some pretty important decisions in office: how to respond to 9/11, when to invade Iraq, how often to let Scooter Libby watch 'Ally McBeal' on TV. But we're about to learn a lot more about GW's thought process through his new book, 'Decision Points.' But those close to Bush say the publisher has cut out all the parts where he made decisions based on whether a TV commercial was for a sex hotline or a flavored alcoholic beverage, which leaves out most of 2002.
0 Comments · Tuesday, March 24, 2009
We made such a fuss a few weeks ago when Xavier lost three straight on the road in the Atlantic-10 Conference. We started wondering if the same team that could lose to tournament rejects on the road could beat tournament teams on neutral sites. What got into us? What made us forget that the regular season is such a colossal waste of time?
0 Comments · Tuesday, March 17, 2009
It wasn't Billy Packer's job to make you feel good, warm your innards with a sweet story, make you smile with a well-turned phrase or confer the dignity of royalty on persons within the game. Too many broadcasters think that's their job and, worse, they're usually bad at it. Packer unfortunately won't be part of the CBS coverage of the NCAA Tournament, having left quietly last July for reasons that have never been fully disclosed.