Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Random Stuff

Today's edition of Friday Random Stuff is about the big Floyd Mayweather v. Shane Mosley fight this weekend. Mayweather is considered to be the best, or second best fighter in the world with Manny Pacquiao. Shane Mosley is one of the best welterweights in the world. Both have beaten Oscar De La Hoya, Mosley twice. Mayweather is undefeated. Mosley has lost 5 times, to 3 fighters, the late Vernon Forest twice, Winky Wright twice and Miguel Cotto. Mosley's last fight however, was a destruction of then welterweight champion Antonio Margarito. Mayweather retired for a year and a half, before returning in September and destroying the great, if not undersized for welterweight, Juan Manuel Marquez. I'm a huge boxing fan, and I can not wait for this fight. Big fights like this happen once in a decade. Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer has predicted this fight will not only break the PPV buy record, but smash it. He's predicted 4 million buys. The record is the De La Hoya-Mayweather fight at 2.15 mill. It's going to be an epic encounter. If you are a casual fan, or just interested, I suggest you check out the great Queensbury Rules blog. Tim Starks and company do a great job. I comment over there, so feel free to jump in. You can watch the fight at selected movie theaters. Check out this site, which has a full listing.

My prediction is Mayweather by decision. I don't think Mosley is going to be able to touch him. Shane struggled against good defensive fighters, and Mayweather is the best around on defense. Marquez barely touched him. In fact, it was a compubox low. Mayweather and Mosley have both said they want the KO, but Floyd isn't known for his KOs. He stopped Ricky Hatton, and that's his last big one. I hope you check it out. Here's a great hype video by HBO.

Enjoy your weekend everybody.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Memorable Bearcats: Cheryl Cook

In this late edition of Memorable Bearcats, sorry real life got in the way, we tackle an unknown subject to most. I'm just going ahead and guessing that this person is an unknown, even though we've all seen their accomplishments. I'll stop with the mystery, and tell you who this person is. It's Cincinnati Hall of Famer Cheryl Cook. She has one of the 4 retired numbers at 5/3 Arena. I knew that she was great, but have never known anything about her besides she could ball. I am banking on the fact that none of you have googled her and you all are curious to know about her exploits like this guy is. Let's take a look at the career of Cheryl Cook.

Cheryl Cook started lighting people up in high school. She's an Indiana high school legend at Indianapolis Washington High. In her award winning senior season, she put in 29.7 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists. She was Miss Indiana Basketball. Literally 4 days ago she was inducted in the Indiana State Basketball Hall of Fame. That's quite the accomplishment for anyone. Congrats to her on that. Cook came to Cincinnati in 1981. She wasted no time in dropping points on women's faces. She was known for her great passing. She continued her high school rebounding prowess as well. We'll get into her UC career down low, but let's talk about her after non-UC life. She was a member of the 1983 Pan Am Gold medal team, and the 1983 World Champions. She had an injury that caused her to not make the 1984 Olympic team. After she left UC, she would play in Spain and Italy. In Spain, He averaged 38.9 points a game. I'll say that again, 38.9! It doesn't matter if women can't play basketball, that's a ton. In Italy, she put up 25.7. She was a machine.

Cookie Monster as her friends, and I, call her scored an amazing 2,367 points in her Cincinnati career. That ranks first all time for the UC women, and at the time, it was good for 7th all time in women's NCAA. Cook was a rebounding machine. She is 7th all time at UC in that category with 688. Cook also set the record for assists, with 360. She's currently 5th place in that stat.

Let's break down more of her spectacular stats. First in her career, and then we'll look at season stats. She's played the 4th most minutes in UC history, is 2nd in points a game with 20.8 (Linda Norwell averaged 21.2 in the 70s), first by far in field goals made with 962 (2nd has 731), first in field goals attempted with 2,158 (2nd is 1,707), second in free throws made and attempted, and fourth in steals. Cook was a 2 time Metro Conference Player of the Year, 2 time All Conference and 3 time All Tournament Team. She was a 2nd team All American American in 1985 and Honorable Mention in 1984.

Cook holds the top 2 ladies scoring seasons, going for 771 and 767 in 84-85 and 83-84 respectively. She averaged 27.5 and 27.4 a game in those seasons, which is second and third behind Norwell's 28. Cook made 315 field goals in both seasons. She is 3rd and 5th in free throws made in a season, and 3rd and 6th in attempted. She had 131 assists in 82-83, which ranks 9th now, but was 2nd then. Cook also is tied for 10th with 69 steals in a season.

In single games, Cook is tied for second in points in a game, scoring 41 twice. She made 19 shots in a game which is first, 16 which is tied for 2nd, and 15 twice which is tied for 4th. She took 35 shots in a game, a game that was not any of the ones listed, and that's the UC high. She also holds second with 33 (the 19 shots game and one of her 41 point games), third with 32 and fourth with 30 twice. One of the 30 shot games was her other 41 point game. Cook is tied for 2nd in free throws made in a game with 14. Her 12-12 performance is the most without a miss in UC history. Cook also has a 20 rebound game to her credit.

As you can see, Cheryl Cook was sensational. She more than earned her spot in the rafters. We see her name and number every game, and now we can all recognize what she did for UC women's basketball. Cheryl Cook was awesome.

(Note: I used the history from Go Bearcats, so if it's really wrong, blame them for faulty info.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Memorable Bearcat Games: Cincinnati 30 Rutgers 11

Today's memorable Bearcat game is the November 18, 2006 victory against Rutgers. I think it's safe to say that this was Mark Dantonio's finest hour as Cincinnati coach. He would springboard to Michigan State just one game after this, so this victory was pretty huge. It was also pretty huge because at the time, Rutgers was ranked in the top 10, and undefeated. The Scarlet Knights were coming off an epic victory over undefeated Louisville, while the Bearcats were coming off a loss at West Virginia. Starting QB Dustin Grutza was injured, giving way to first time starter Nick Davila. The stage was set for success.

The first snap Nick Davila took, he fumbled. Rutgers couldn't capitalize. Jeremy Ito, who beat Louisville with a last second FG, missed from 31 yards. The Bearcats went on an 11 play drive that resulted in a field goal of their own, as Kevin Lovell was true from 32. The Scarlet Knights high powered rushing attack was held in check, and QB Mike Teel was pretty bad early. That resulted in quick possession. UC took over at their 20. 10 plays later, led by the sharp Davila, UC would score a touchdown. Davila took it in himself from 1 yard out. Nippert Stadium was in a frenzy. The big play on that drive was a 38 yard pass from Davila to Derrick Stewart to take the ball down to the 2.

Rutgers quickly bounced back on their first drive of the second quarter. Ray Rice started breaking out for some yards. Teel hit James Townsend to with a pass to get the ball to the UC 29. After a couple 4 yard runs by Rice, DeAngelo Smith did this
Adam Hoppel got pressure on Teel, wrapped him up, causing Teel to throw a desperation pass. Don't believe me?

That made the score 17-0. The lead would be short lived however. The Bearcats forced a 3 and out. On the punt, Antoine Horton fumbled the kick, allowing Rutgers to get the ball at the UC 25. The defense held firm, allowing a 34 yard FG by Ito to make it 17-3. The teams traded 3 and outs. UC took over with 2 minutes to go in the half, and were content to run the clock out. After a first down, it looked like they would. But, Doug Jones coughed the ball up trying to make something happen at the UC 21. Rutgers had 12 seconds. Teel went for the end zone, and was intercepted by Mike Mickens to close out the half and leave things at 17-3.

Rutgers made a big comeback the week before against Louisville, so there was cause for concern in this match up. The Bearcats punted to start the half, and Rutgers marched down the field. With the ball near mid field, Teel took a shot deep. Once again, it was Mickens who picked him off at the UC 10. Davila converted a 3rd and 6 by hitting Dominick Goodman for 19 yards. The next play, he hit Butler Benton for 62 to get the ball to the Rutgers 4. The Bearcats were stoned at the goal line, but another Lovell FG (20) made it 20-3.

Rutgers got good field position on the kick return, but couldn't get the ball past their 44. The punt went to the 17. UC took over and iced it with this:

Fans smelled the upset. Overrated chants flew from the crowd. The good times for UC continued the very next Rutgers drive. After moving the ball to the UC 41, Teel was picked for the 4th time, this time by Anthony Williams. Cincinnati picked apart the demoralized Rutgers defense for a 7:30 drive that went 16 plays 47 yards. It ended with a 27 yard Lovell FG to make it 30-3.

Rutgers took 3:29 to march down the field and score, as Ray Rice poked it in from 1 yard. Rice became the single season rushing leader for Rutgers in this game, even though he only had 54 yards. Teel hit Taquan Underwood for the 2 point conversion. UC didn't do anything on their drive, and only took a minute off the clock. The last ditch effort by Rutgers failed, as Teel, 21-42 238 0 TDs 4 INTs, was off target. UC worked the clock leading to this.

Davila was 11-15, 277, 1 TD, 1 rushing TD. Greg Moore had 16-56 to lead UC on the ground, while Brent Celek led UC in yard with 83. UC's defense was the story though. Despite 3 turnovers, UC forced 4. They held Rutgers to 288 total yards. The third best rushing attack in the nation had but 50. It was a spectacular win for Cincinnati, and was one of the victories that has led the springboard to success. That's why this is a memorable Bearcat game.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Bearcats Bowl IV and NFL Draft Recap

It was a busy time for the Cincinnati Bearcats football program. Saturday especially. The Bearcats had 3 players drafted, and many more signed free agent contracts, and some others were invited to rookie mini-camps this weekend. Also, Bearcats Bowl IV took place Saturday night. I'm not going to do a full recap of the game, but mainly a recap of what, and who, looked good and what did not fare so well. Let's start with the draft.

If you visited the blog over the weekend, you already know that Mardy Gilyard was drafted in the 4th round by the St Louis Rams, and Tony Pike was drafted in the 6th round by the Carolina Panthers. The third man drafted was DT Ricardo Matthews, who went to Indianapolis in the 7th. Many congratulations Ricardo, sorry there wasn't a post about about you.

After the draft, the rush of free agents signings occurred. Aaron Webster signed with the Houston Texans. Jeff Lickenbach signed with Indianapolis. Long snapper Mike Windt signed with the hometown Bengals. And Alex Daniels signed with the Oakland Raiders. Attending mini-camps this weekend, are Brad Jones, who is going to Cleveland, and Craig Carey, who is going to Chicago.

Congratulations to all of those men. They busted their asses to make their dreams reality, and now they have a foot in the door. I have no doubt they will bust it down and earn a spot in the NFL. Bearcats Blog is proud of you guys.

The other big event of the weekend was the Bearcats Bowl. It is a little pointless of doing a full recap of every drive. Especially in the second half, when the rain started, the clock rolled continuously, and Coach Butch Jones looked ready to go. We'll roll out positives, and negatives. Ready for bullet points? I know you are.


  • DJ Woods was making things happen against the second team D after every catch. He took short passes, and wrecked havoc in the open field. He busted one for 26 yards on the first drive. He and Zach Collaros worked very well together. DJ had 6 catches for 88 yards and a TD. 
  • DJ also showed off the cannon on his right arm. On a fan called reverse pass, DJ threw a bomb to Vidal Hazelton, who was wide open, for 60 yards. Battle made a nice tackle saving the TD. The fan made the right call on the fan picked play, and DJ made a hell of a pass. 
  • Zach Collaros was great. He was nearly perfect passing. He possibly could have had some runs, but the QB being tagged kept him in the pocket. He did scramble on one play and hit Darrin Williams for a 20 yard gain deep in UC territory. He got all 3 starting receivers, Woods, Hazelton, and Kenbrell Thompkins, involved to varying degrees of success. He also looked for the tight end well. He threw a couple of TDs to Woods, and Thompkins. He mainly threw short, but aired one out to OJ Woodard. 
  • Payne played very well. He caught a long touchdown, and almost caught another on that drive that was ruled incomplete. 
  • Darrin Williams ran effectively. He didn't break any huge runs, despite an 11 yard TD, but he was very solid. I don't know if he has what it takes to be the lead back just yet, but for a game or two, I think he can handle it. He had a couple of receptions, including the aforementioned 20 yarder, and could be a weapon in that aspect. Plus, he dyed the tips of his hair red and it looked awesome. 
  • Hines ran pretty decent. He had a 26 yarder as his long, but he ran tough. He got thrown into action, and he got better as the game went on. 
  • The defense played very well against the second team offense. They were able to get pressure against Chazz, limit the running game, and snuff them out. They forced a couple 3 and outs. Giordano had a sack. I kept bad records of the sacks, mainly because I don't remember if they said who got them. It's the spring game, I'll get better. 
  • The defense had a big stop in the red zone. With the ball at the 4, they drew a holding penalty, got a sack, forced an incompletion, and got another sack. A 41 yard FG was missed. 
  • The defensive highlight would have to be the one handed interception of a screen pass by McClellan. It was a very athletic grab, and he managed to take it inside the 10. 
  • Bruce Horner blocked an extra point
  • Artrell Hawkins was the sideline reporter. He did a pretty good job. Who knew?

  • UC had 10 men on the field for the blocked extra point. I'm sure in a real game there would have been a timeout, but that kind of stuff can't fly.
  • Chazz Anderson looked pretty bad. He was very inaccurate. He made a couple nice plays, one a scramble to set up a FG, and a long pass to Payne for a TD. He was high with the ball. He held the ball too long. He seemed rushed all night. It was surprising to see that from him. He looked nervous or something. He played better in the second half. 
  • The second team offensive line was unimpressive. They had Chazz under fire, and didn't really run block well. They sprung the 26 yard run by Hines, but overall, not great.
  • The secondary, at least against Collaros, brought back visions of Florida. Receivers were running wide open, there were a couple of big long passes, and they got scored on nearly every time when Collaros was at QB. Granted, they were playing vanilla, but still. It brought back memories of that disaster, and that's a negative. 
  • Milligan's attempt from 41 yards was so bad that it looked like they had a fan try and kick. Milligan could have used a Mulligan. Am I right?!?!?
  • The fan who called the screen pass. You have 8 plays to call, including the reverse pass, and you choose a screen? Really? You call reverse pass every time. You suck guy who picked this play. 
  • Rain. I didn't go to the game because the person I was going to go with didn't want to sit in the rain. Watching on tv was probably better, but I didn't have my chance to meet the Bearcat. Or call the reverse pass. Or ask to run the fumble rooski. It also forced the game to end early. 
Overall, it was a nice game. The white team beat the black team 57-55. The black team was the defense, they didn't go segregation. The offense looked Patriot like. If DJ Woods is going to play a Wes Welker type role, then I'm all for it. He was doing damage. The guys played hard, and were mostly successful. Thus wraps up the big weekend for UC football. Check back tomorrow, when we look back at another football game from the past.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tony Pike drafted by Carolina

Tony Pike was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the 6th round. He joins Jimmy Clausen as QBs taken by the Panthers. It'll be interesting to see where Pike fits in with Jimmy and Matt Moore. Congrats to Tony Pike on getting drafted. I'm proud of him and I believe he'll make a difference.

Mardy Gilyard drafted by St Louis

Mardy Gilyard was the first pick of the 4th round by the St Louis Rams. He joins top pick Sam Bradford. Congratulations to Mardy for getting drafted. He will work hard and earn a spot on the Rams. I'm excited for him.

Friday, April 23, 2010

UC Notes and Bearcats Bowl Preview

There are quite a lot of bits of this and that flying around surrounding the Bearcats today. We're going to hit some quick notes, and then a preview of what's going down at the Bearcats Bowl. Like the events and what have you, not exactly a straight up preview of what to expect on the field. I'll mention some things I want to see, but I'm not going to get too in depth about the battle to be the back up SAM linebacker.

  • The biggest news of the week was Isaiah Pead getting injured yesterday. Pead had a knee collision with a teammate, left the field under his own power, and is waiting an MRI to find out if there is major cause for concern. He's on crutches now. It's just a knee bruise. Isaiah will be ready to go for when things get serious. He's not going to play tomorrow.  Darrin Williams is going to get a lot of the touches from reports.
  • The NFL draft is going down tonight at 6pm for rounds 2 and 3. Mardy Gilyard has been projected to be a late second-third round pick. It could be Mardy's big night, and we here at Bearcats Blog wish him the best. Hopefully, he stays in Cincinnati. He has seemed to want to, and I would like him to. 
  • Tony Pike has also been talked about as a third round pick. 2 quarterbacks were taken in the first round, Sam Bradford and Tim Tebow, and I'm not quite sure how things are going to shake down. Tony is grouped on the, I guess third level, of QBs, after the previously mentioned first rounders, and Colt McCoy and Jimmy Claussen. I have no doubt Tony Pike will get drafted. I hope it's tonight. We also wish Tony Pike the best in his future NFL success. Hope you don't go to Cleveland.
  • There will be posts up when the players get drafted. In case you have a life tonight, Bearcats Blog has you covered. 
  • The following bits are a couple weeks old, sorry, but I haven't covered them in much detail, so they'll go here. Offensive lineman CJ Cobb had ankle surgery a couple weeks back. Everything went swimmingly for CJ. He got injured the first Saturday spring practice. He will return when fall practice starts, much to the delight of the Cincinnati offensive line. 
  • Demetrius Jones, former Notre Dame QB, and linebacker, has left the program. There is no news on where he is heading. It could be a Division II school, or whatever they are calling it these days. It would be his third team. Too bad things didn't work out for him. Here's hoping he finds success and happiness on his next stop. 
  • The following notes are from the hoops world. As you recruiting gurus have heard, Marquis Teague has spurned Cincinnati, Indiana, Louisville and Purdue, and is going to attend evil Kentucky. Teague said he almost chose Louisville a couple times, but waited. This would have been a huge get for UC, but they were never really in the race it seemed. Teague was going to play his ball in Kentucky, and now it's at Kentucky.
  • The NCAA Tournament is expanding, but to 68 teams. Rush the Court has some great blurbs from other great writers about the expansion. The Tournament will be on CBS and Turner Sports. The weird part is that in 2016, the finals will be on TBS. They have playoff baseball now yes, but that's just fucking weird. The pregame show will follow Saved by the Bell reruns at 5:05. 

The Bearcats Bowl is tomorrow night. It's going to be televised by FSN Ohio for those of you who can't make it to Nippert. There is plenty of motivation to do so though. If you have kids 8th grade or younger, show up around 2 and register for the on field kids' clinic. It's free. Some UC players will be there to teach the youngsters a thing or twelve, as will the UC coaching staff. After that's over, the players will sign autographs from around 4:30-5. Starting at 5, the Family Zone opens up. It's what you normally get for pregame Bearcats entertainment. You only have to worry about that for half an hour, because the Nippert gates open at 5:30. The first 5K fans get a poster. The more important thing is to try and get behind the bench, because Coach Butch Jones will let a few fans call plays. I recommend a fumble rooski. The game starts at 7.

Here are a few things that are worth taking a look at. The defense is going to be rebuilt. It's going to be very interesting to see what they have in store for the, what should be, high powered offense. Zach Collaros and Chazz Anderson are competing for the starting job, more like 'competing' am I right, and that should be interesting to watch as well. Like mentioned up top, Darrin Williams is going to see quite a bit of the ball, as he is the last running back left standing it appears. The new look Butch Jones offense has me very excited. All in all, it should be an exciting day. It's our first look at the new Bearcats. It's our introduction to Coach Butch Jones. It's football.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Exclusive Bearcats Bowl IV Preview with Darrin Williams and DJ Woods

You all know what they say about the hits, they just keep on comin'. Well, here at Bearcats Blog, we have not one, but two exclusive previews about Saturday night's Bearcat Bowl IV. There will be a full run down of what to expect Saturday night tomorrow. This is a preview that is what to expect on the field. Here are the exclusives with first running back, and probable kick returner, Darrin Williams, followed by wide receiver extraordinaire DJ Woods. Thanks to both student athletes.

(Not the best picture. Sorry Darrin)

Bearcats Blog: How forward are you looking forward to game on Saturday? It should be pretty awesome. 
Darrin Williams :Looking forward to it.. been waiting on this since the beginning of spring ball... Isaiah Pead and I will put on a nice show.

Who is looking forward to it now? I am. I believe the running back are going to be a huge strength to the team, and I'm looking forward to seeing them in action.

Bearcats Blog: Are you looking forward to Bearcats Bowl next week?

DJ Woods: Ya it gonna be good to watch. Hope you're ready.

I am ready. And like DJ, I hope you are as well. It should be something. It's getting to be about that time peeps, let's get pumped. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Memorable Bearcats: D'Juan Baker

The second installment of Memorable Bearcats focuses on a basketball player. His heroics have been overshadowed, but this man was clutch. This Bearcat is D'Juan Baker.

D'Juan Baker was a 2 year player at Cincinnati, but he was a solid one. As you can see, he was the captain of the 1997-98 Bearcats. That team won 27 games, and was a #2 seed in the NCAA tournament. His career numbers are kind of underwhelming because he didn't play a whole lot his junior year. He averaged 8.6 on 45% shooting, 37.8% from 3 and 83.6% at the line. He grabbed 1.8 boards a game. His junior year he had 4.2 and 1.1 rebounds. He put buckets on people's faces when he got in the line up, mainly in blowouts. He had 14 in a 40 point win over Rutgers, 15 in a 44 point win over Howard, and 19 in a 29 point win over DePaul. He had one of his highest rebounding games of his career against Rutgers, with 6.

Baker took off his senior year. He started 27 of the 30 games. He had 13.4 points a game, which was third on the team. He hit 37% of threes, and 86.7% of his free throws. He also pulled down 2.6 rebounds per game. When Baker sucked, UC lost. In 4 of his 5 games of 3 points or less, UC went down. They lost 6 times that season. Baker had some big time games to counter the bad ones. He had a career high 34 in a win over Alcorn State. He had 33 in a win over Morehead State. Baker scored 26 with 5 threes in a win over UAB. He also had 26 in a loss to Arizona State, and a win over Wright State. He scored 25 in the loss to West Virginia, and 20 in a win over Tulane. Baker matched his career high 6 rebounds in the Arizona State game, and the Morehead win. He had 5 assists in a dominating win over DePaul.

Baker's heroics that season came when it mattered most, the NCAA Tournament. Cincinnati rolled into the Tournament having won 9 games in a row. They got a 2 seed as mentioned, and travelled all the way out to Boise, Idaho. Their first round match up was with Northern Arizona. The Bearcats admittedly took NAU lightly, allowing the Lumberjacks to shoot 50% in the first half. They were Lumberjacks, and they were ok. They pushed the Bearcats all the way down to the wire. NAU lead by 6 with 9 minutes left, and 3 with 6 minutes left. Baker helped the UC deficit. He forced up a terrible shot, and had a silly turnover late. The Bearcats had a 2 point lead however, with 24 seconds left. Bobby Brannen missed 1 of 2 free throws, allowing Michael McNair to drill a 24 footer with 8 seconds left to tie. Cincinnati didn't panic. They had been in a couple late game close ones a couple weeks back. In the game that gave UC the outright Conference USA championship, D'Juan Baker drilled a shot from the corner to give UC a 2 point lead over St Louis. The Bearcats won that game by 3. Fast forward to this one. Shawn Myrick couldn't get the ball inside to Bobby Brannen. Baker came off a Kenyon Martin screen, and did this.

Of course, that shot went down. An NAU prayer actually hit rim, but luckily for all of us, UC avoided the dreaded 15 over 2 upset. Baker had 13 in that game.

Baker's heroics weren't done with his game winner over NAU. Cincinnati ended up playing West Virginia in the next round. The teams went back and forth. UC had a 55-51 lead late, but turned the ball over on 4 of the next 6 possessions, half by Daniel Horton. WVU turned that into a 4 point lead of their own with 1:27 left. That's when D'Juan Baker took over. Baker drilled a 3 pointer to cut the lead to 1. Punk ass Jarrod West bricked a shot, leading into UC's next possession. The Bearcats worked the clock down to 7 seconds. They ran the same play that they did against NAU. Just like that game, Baker did this.

Those are great pictures, you can see the score and time and everything. Of course, West would race down and hit a freak bank 3 to break our hearts. Baker had 25 on 8-14 shooting, including 5-8 from 3. He did all he could.

D'Juan Baker didn't have the greatest career at Cincinnati. He was one of my favorites though, mainly because he wore #5. Baker came through when it mattered most for the Bearcats. Had the team advanced to the Sweet 16, D'Juan Baker would have taken on a 'legend' status. Unfortunately, that wasn't meant to be. That's why we have this though.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Memorable Bearcat Games: Cincinnati 35 Utah State 19

Bearcats Blog is caught up in a Rick Minter nostalgia rush. The next entry into the Memorable Bearcat Games is the 1997 Humanitarian Bowl. As Cincinnati fans, we've tasted sweet, sweet BCS bowl berths the last 2 seasons, and have started expecting to go to bowl games. 8 of the 12 UC bowl appearances have come since 2000. Before the Humanitarian Bowl, Cincinnati had not been to a bowl game since 1950. One nine five zero. Believe it or not (believe it), it was the longest streak in Division 1 at the time. The game was the first UC bowl victory since December 3, 1949. That Bearcat team was loaded with NFL talent. They had 6 players drafted, Brad Jackson, Artrell Hawkins, Jason Fabini, Derrick Ransom and Roderick Monroe. They also starred Chad Plummer, who would be drafted the next season. Conference USA recognized as Tinker Keck was named first team and Special Teams Player of the Year. He was joined on the first team by Phillip Curry, Fabini, and Jackson. The second team consisted of Pierre Brilliant (great name), Ransom and Brian Uhl. UC was coming off back to back 6-5 seasons, and this was the breakthrough year. Cincinnati finished 7-4, second place in Conference USA. Quite the accomplishment. For their winning efforts, they made a bowl game. The Humanitarian Bowl.

This was one of the first games that I remember seeing from Boise. The blue turf was wild. It still is. The game started with UC being stopped at the Utah State 6 yard line. Did I mention Cincinnati played Utah State? Now I did. That seems like the weirdest part. Utah State didn't do anything with the ball on their possession. The Bearcats drove down the field for the only score of the first quarter. Chad Plummer connected with Cornelius Bonner on a 14 yard touchdown pass. It looked something like this.

Utah State would go 3 and out. The Bearcats took advantage big time, driving 56 yards for another touchdown drive. Once again, it was Cornelius Bonner who made the catch, but it was freshman Deontey Kenner who completed another 14 yard TD pass. Kenner and Plummer rotated at QB, as UC was trying the Antwaan Randle El thing of putting Plummer at receiver so he would have a shot at the NFL. It worked. Kenner played great, finishing with 10-16 for 124 yards and the TD. Bonner had 4 catches for 48 yards in the game. Cincinnati once again put the clamps down on the high powered Aggie offense. Utah State QB Matt Sauk threw a bomb that was intercepted by Tinker Keck. Keck returned it 59 yards, to the USU 18. The Bearcats pounded the ball in with fullback Landon Smith from 1 yard out. The 21-0 UC lead was all the scoring the first half.

Utah State started the second half the way they ended the first half, with a turnover. Demario Brown, who had 12 carries for 56 yards, coughed up the ball. The Bearcats drive started at the 43. They would cash in 7 plays later. Chad Plummer took the ball around the right end and walked in from 15 yards out to make it 28-0. The Aggies wouldn't be held down. Just a minute later, Sauk hit Steve Smith, apparently every receiver in Utah has to be named Steve Smith, with a 5 yard pass. Smith broke tackles and turned on the jets, going 75 yards to cut the lead to 28-7. Cincinnati took the air out of the ball for the next 5 minutes, driving down the field on the Aggie D. Orlando Smith, who had a team high 82 yards, scored from 7 yards on a screen pass that was ruled a lateral.

The Aggies staged a comeback attempt. In just 1:54, they drove 80 yards for a touchdown, capped by a 3 yard Melvin Blue touchdown run. The extra point was missed however. The start of the 4th quarter saw Cincinnati commit a huge gaff. On a punt attempt, the ball couldn't be handled by Doug Johnson. Brent Passey picked up the ball, ran 10 yards, and cut the lead to 35-19. Cincinnati would not let that stop them. The Bearcats ate the clock, and pounded the ball on the ground. The Bearcats had 265 yards rushing. I mentioned Smith's 82, Robert Cooper chipped in 15-64, and Chad Plummer had 15-53. The Bearcats controlled the ball for 42:17. Utah State had quick strikes, 25 of their 56 TD drives that year were under 2 minutes, but their defense couldn't handle Cincinnati. The Bearcats had 186 yards passing, and held the 280 yard per game Aggies to 253. The last Utah State gasp was after the long Bearcats drive ended. Sauk went back to pass, but this happened.

It was the second interception of the day for Brad Jackson. That secured the victory for Cincinnati. The MVP was this man, Chad Plummer.

Plummer was 5-10 for 61 yards and a TD passing, had 15-53 and a TD rushing, plus, he caught 4 passes for a team high 63 yards. The 179 yard effort was more than enough for him to win the honors. Phillip Curry had 1.5 sacks as well for the Bearcats. Artrell Hawkins had 6 tackes as well for the winners.

This game may not be the most outstanding game. Cincinnati was kinda lucky to be invited. They had to schedule a series with Boise State in basketball to help seal the deal. But, it was a great thing. Cincinnati got some major pub. The football team got started on a winning track for the first time since the 1940s. The Bearcats had pro prospects. And most importantly, the Bearcats went to a bowl game and won. I was so excited for this game. It was on a week day in the middle of the afternoon a couple days after Christmas. I planned a day around it. It was finally exciting to watch a Cincinnati football game. We should remember that as we look forward to Saturday and the Spring Game. Cincinnati has come a long way to be on top of the Big East 2 years running, and this game is where it started.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bearcats Breakdown: Steve Toyloy

The first Bearcats Breakdown centered around one player leaving the program, and so will the second. It also centers around another senior, Steve Toyloy. Toyloy was a junior college transfer. He was also mainly a banger, so his numbers aren't going to be as great as some others. But how do they look? Glad you asked.

Scoring: Steve Toyloy averaged a mere 3.2 points a game this season. That's down from nearly 4 last year. Part of that is to blame on Toyloy's down shooting. He took 91 shots, making 48 for 52%, but that's down from 59% last season. Toyloy had trouble finishing around the rim, much to the frustration of many of us. He also was a horrible, horrible free throw shooter. UC would have been better off having a random fan come down and attempt free throws when it was Toyloy's turn at the line. Toyloy was 18-39 46%. That's beyond awful. You have to try really hard to suck that much at free throws. He shot 53% last season. Toyloy at least had it in him to become 7% worse from the field and the line. While his shots went up, Steve only used 12.6% of UC possessions, while playing 38.5% of the minutes. His offensive rating was 99.3, up from 98.7, but nothing too outstanding. His effective, and true shooting percentages were down to 52.7 and 52, from 58.9 and 58.1.

Steve's biggest offensive performance came against Texas Southern. Toyloy scored 13 on 4-6, and 5-6 from the stripe. He did all that in 15 minutes. Toyloy's bottom 16 games would only produce 13 points. He gave the team a nice boost in the win over South Florida, with 9 points on 4-5. He hit 8 twice, in the St John's loss and the Miami victory. The game he took the most shots in was the loss at West Virginia, where he was 3 of 7. I just got flashbacks of the suck of that game.

Rebounding: Steve Toyloy was brought to Cincinnati to rebound, and this season he was a disappointment. He averaged but 3.3 rebounds per game. He put up 3.7 last year. It wasn't even a minute thing, because Toyloy averaged 15.7 minutes after 15.9 minutes last year. Ok, it might have been a slight minute thing, but that's only because Toyloy was ineffective in some games, and that killed his minutes. Toyloy pulled a total of 117 boards, 3 less than last season, 43 of which were offensive. He averaged 1.22 o boards per contest. That was up from last years 1.21. He pulled down 8.7% of Cincinnati misses. His defensive rebounding was worse. He had 74, down from 81. The 2.1 rebounds he pulled home were 15.3% of Cincinnati's rebounds, which is a disappointing number considering it was 18% last year.

Toyloy's best rebounding game was against Prairie View, when he had 9. That 9 rebound performance tied his career high. Toyloy had 8 rebounds in the win over USF, his best game as a Bearcat, and 8 in the win at UConn. In the 11 games Toyloy had at least 5 rebounds, UC was 9-2. The losses being South Florida, and St John's. Toyloy's worst rebounding game was against Georgetown, when he had a big fat 0 in 13 minutes.

Assists/Blocks/Turnovers/Steals: Steve Toyloy didn't have a lot of any of these, so bunching them together is much easier. Toyloy was a black hole when he touched the ball. He had 12 assists, 4 of which came against Prairie View. That tied his career high. Steve had 7 blocks, 2 against Lipscomb. Toyloy turned the ball over 24 times, down from 36 last season. His high was 4, against Prairie View. That Prairie View game is going in the Steve Toyloy time capsule. Toyloy had 7 steals, 1 in 7 games, none of which were against Prairie View.

Overview: Looking back at it, Steve Toyloy had a disappointing senior season. He wasn't expected to be Dwight Howard, but he was expected to be a solid boost in the middle. Instead, he was just a guy. He might be a classic "He is what he is" guy, but he didn't add anything to what he did last season, and that's not good enough. If he would have just dedicated himself to hitting the glass, he could have put Yancy Gates, or Bishop, or Thomas on the bench. Instead, he didn't do that, and he was the one on the bench as the season went on. Toyloy was a nice player, seemed like a nice guy, but his senior season was a D. He had B- or C expectations, but he failed to deliver. He tried hard I guess, and so we thank him for his effort. It just wasn't enough.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Exclusive Spring Practice Update from DJ Woods

We here at the Bearcats Blog, or UC Bearcats Blog, or whatever you want to call it, have landed and exclusive spring practice update from WR DJ Woods.

Bearcats Blog: Hey DJ, how's practice going?

DJ Woods: Going good working hard.

You've heard it here first. Or here if you follow DJ and myself on twitter. This has been an exclusive Bearcats Blog Spring Practice update.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Memorable Bearcats: DeJuan Gossett


This was originally going to be a companion piece to the Wisconsin Memorable Games piece, but the answers of the questions that I asked were so good, that they deserve a stand alone post. Since this was a person that I was a big fan of, this was even easier to make it's own post. The first Memorable Bearcat is DeJuan Gossett.
The picture is of DeJuan doing what he did best while at Cincinnati, tackle. When you look at the list of tackles made in a UC career, you'll see his name. In 1999, Gossett had 82 solo tackles. That's good for 9th place all time. In total tackles, he ranks 9th all time in UC history with 327. He's second all time at UC with 222 solo tackles. He was a tackling machine. He was also a free saftey, which makes his accomplishments that much better. Oh, and he did all of that after blowing out his knee his freshman year. He part of a killer secondary. Blue Adams patrolled the same secondary, and he's UC's leader in interceptions. Shawn Ferguson also was a DB back then. He's 6th on UC's all time interception yards list, and first in INTS for TDS with 3. That's probably all because of DeJuan. I'm not the only one who was a big fan of #22. The Conference USA coaches, or whoever voted for All-Team C-USA, voted him second team Conference USA in 1999 and 2000. DeJuan was assigned by the Giants to NFL Europe in 2002. He blew out his knee for the second time, unfortunately, and that ended his playing days. But, that doesn't change the facts that DeJuan Gossett was a great Bearcat. He's a great guy for answering my questions. Let's get on to his answers.

Bearcats Blog:  What was the team's mindset going into the (Wisconsin) game?
DeJuan Gossett: The teams mind set going into that game was pretty loose.  We had just lost a game to Troy State that we thought we should have won minus a couple of big plays.  We may not have had the talent that you see now in all positions but we were kinda mean in certain phases...Our defense flew around and hit in all position so we werent really scared of the running attack or anything  or the speedy reciever.  Our coaches on defense were so good that they instilled in us that we could beat anyone and we kinda carried that swagger.  We knew that Robert Cooper would run well and as long as Deontay controlled the game and we didnt have turnovers we would have a shot.  We didnt get on TV a lot back in those days so that was a big lift also...guys had parents watching for the first time....and the stadium had a good size crowd...It was probably like a bowl game for us after playing in front of 10,000 the week before. 

BB: Tinker Keck has an awesome name. What were you thinking when he had the punt hit his face and Wisconsin recovered?
DG: Yeah..that name has done him well.  When that play happened it was pretty deflating in that we had just had a big stop and it changed momentum but we had made plays all day so we were pretty confident that we could atleast hold them to a field goal.  Its definitely a tough thing that late in the game heading to the gatorade to have to turn around and bow your neck again. 

BB: How good a player was Ron Dayne? Was he the best back you played against in college?
DG: Ron Dayne was good and had surprisingly quick feet to go with his size.  I think the thing that helped him as well was the size of that offensive line...They were huge and he was compact so you couldnt really see him and then all of a sudden you have this big bowling bowl rumbling down the field.  The plan definitely wasnt to give him that many yards but we kept him out of the end zone just enough.  I left that game with respect for him for sure but though that he was a little overrated ...but if they would have won that could have been different.  The best back I played against had to be Edgerrin James the year before.  He isnt as big as Dayne but it took serious gang tackling to get this guy down.  He would twist and spin and had a low base where you took a lot of the impact as the tackler. 

BB: You were guarding Nick Davis on the final play weren't you? Do you remember what you were thinking when the pass went over his head?
DG: I wasnt one on one but we had a bracket coverage where I pretty much had the inside routes with a corner covering the quick stuff and the outside routes.  It was pretty stressful because I had broke on a play I think two plays earlier where I would have had the Int but Isaac Thomas got a hand on it in the air.  Anytime a team that good has a couple chances anything can happen.  We knew they were going to him and we had him covered well....I saw the ball come out pretty high so I was nervous that I had left too much room in the back of the end zone while cutting off the qb's angle for a pass.  When it was overthrown I was kinda in shock for awhile and then there was just mayhem.  That was the first time that I had seen the stadium like that ever and Im glad that it was just a precursor for what the guys are doing now.  I dont think I stopped smiling for atleast 2 days but then it was time to focus for Ohio State.

BB: You were pretty awesome while at UC. You have the 9th best solo tackling season of all time, are 9th all time in tackles, and 2nd in solo tackles, and 2 time 2nd team CUSA. What are a handful of your best memories while at Cincinnati? 
DG: My best memory was being able to play again....Two days before the Conference USA inaugural game I tore my ACL, MCL, PCL, and both meniscus in my left knee.  I was going to start at Nickel back that game as a true freshman with some great players....Sam Garnes, Artrell Hawkins, Chris Hewitt.  I was devastated and the prognosis wasn't good...they said I would be lucky to walk without a limp and that I would be able to play again.  God, Pat Graman, and Mick Marotti had a different thought and I was able to start all 4 years which gave me an opportunity to produce some of those numbers.
I had the opportunity to play with great coaches....Rex Ryan, Mike Tomlin, John Harbaugh, Rick Smith, Greg Hudson, etc...Just learning and seeing the passion that those guys had for the game was special. 
I was kinda the first local guy to pick UC and I took pride and had hoped to make it a special place where others would do the same.  We started building that slowly...we had good years when I was there my Freshman year....going to the first bowl in like 50+ years thanks to Huggins and the basketball team.  and then my senior year even though we lost to Marshall.....We didnt do everything that I had hoped but I thought that we were in a good direction and its just a honor to have played at UC....there is nothing like having the opportunity to represent your hometown community and I know that coach Coombs and the staff will continue to build through Cincinnati and allow others to experience the same. 

BB:  I can't believe I didn't ask you about the Dayne fumble. If you don't mind real quick, do you remember what you were doing as that play unfolded? Was that the moment you knew you guys would win?

DG:  The fumble was crazy.....At the time I lived with Bobby Fuller and Jeff Burrows.  Bobby caused it and Jeff recovered it so it was awesome all around. 

The play started and I remember being close to the line of scrimmage...I think Dayne cut it inside and I thought he had a touchdown for sure.  Would have killed us after being ahead and playing well to have that turnover lead to the touchdown.  I see Bobby go to hit him and honestly I didnt think he was going to win that battle...then boom...the ball is was like a inhaler to a asthma victim because we would have been out of breaths or atleast in a bad spot.  When Jeff jumped on that ball I had a feeling that this might be our day.  The year before we had so many breaks go the other so it was refreshing...we just couldn't do any wrong. 
I need to get that game on video.  Do you have it?

Thank you for the opportunity.  It was good to relive some great Bearcat moments.  I appreciate the exposure that you are giving to the program. 

No DeJuan Gossett, thank you. Thank you for not only answering my questions so vividly, but thanks for being a great Bearcat and a better guy. 

I know I didn't ask him about the Dayne fumble. I stupidly didn't include it when I asked the other questions. I shot him an email asking about it, and if he answers, I'll update this with that. It's updated. If you have a video of the game, shoot an email or comment here, or on twitter. Or, twitter to to DeJuan Gossett himself

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Memorable Bearcat Games: Cincinnati 17 Wisconsin 12

The first edition of Memorable Bearcat games starts with one that is near and dear to my heart. It happened way back in 1999. The opponent? The Wisconsin Badgers. Wisconsin came into this game ranked #9. This Badger team would lose the next week to Michigan, but run the table and won the Rose Bowl. They had Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne. The Bearcats team? They were coming off a loss to Division II Troy. Troy is respectable now, but back then, they were hot garbage. Of course, there is no record of that game at all, besides the score, so I can't tell you more about it. I can put more commas in sentences though. I had a friend who lived in Wisconsin at this time. I sent him emails every day for a week that Cincinnati was going to beat Wisconsin. He laughed it off because the Badgers were really good and the Bearcats were not. But ladies and gentlemen, that's why they play the games.

I was at this game with my dad. We were on the Wisconsin side, because every time you buy tickets at the gate you are always on the visitor side. In fact, I don't remember any time I've been behind the Cincinnati bench. Always visitor side or end zones. I almost caught an extra point once. It wasn't at this game, so I don't know why I brought it up. The game was pretty slow starting. It was dominated by Wisconsin in the first quarter. Cincinnati had the ball to start the second. With the ball at their 49, the Cats handed the ball to this man.
Robert 'Sterling' Cooper. Only Cooper didn't get tackled. He ran 51 yards for a touchdown and a 7-3 Cincinnati lead. Cooper had 143 yards on the day. After a Wisconsin field goal, the Badgers looked like they took the lead, but an 81 yard punt return by Nick Davis was called back. The Bearcats added the lead in the third quarter, when Deontey Kenner ran a QB draw 5 yards for a touchdown. I loved Deontey Kenner. I wonder what happened to him? Apparently, he's a golfer. No joke. He's on the Golf Channel Amateur Tour or something. See?

 That's incredibly weird to find out. He had a little write up in Sports Illustrated after the Ohio State game. It's here. Try to shake off that crazy turn and let's get back to the game.

After the Bearcats drove to make it 14-6, Wisconsin went on a 96 yard, layin the smack down, drive for a score. Ron Dayne, who had 28 carries for 231, ran in from 18 yards out. Believe it or not, Dayne was injured with a sprained ankle and didn't play the whole game. And he had 28 carries for 231 yards. Pro Ron Dayne was a bust, but college Ron Dayne was special. In this game, he passed Archie Griffin for most yards by a Big 10 back. Wisconsin ended up going for 2, but the pass was broken up by Tinker Keck!!! Another blast from the past there. Tinker Keck would have another big play in the fourth quarter.

With 8 minutes left, Wisconsin punted. Captain Tinker Keck, known for his near recklessness, was set to return. The kick went back to the 10, as did Keck. The ball bounced off his facemask. Wisconsin recovered. The Badgers gave the ball to Dayne on the second play. It looked like he was going to score. Bobby Fuller had other ideas, and popped the ball out. Jeff Burrow recovered, and Cincinnati avoided a big one. I remember sitting there and seeing the ball come flying out of Dayne's hands and jumping up and down like a spaz when UC recovered. The Bearcats wouldn't convert a first down, but on their punt, Davis muffed it, was blown up by LaVar Glover, allowing Carlton Sykes to recover. When Davis dropped the ball, the whole side of the stadium across from me jumped up at once. It was really cool to see. I still remember it, that should show how cool it is. UC would go 3 and out, but Jonathan Ruffin showed why his number is retired by drilling a 41 yard field goal with 5 minutes left.

The Badgers drove down the field for their game winning drive. They stalled late and had to make a play on 4th down. For a second, it looked like they did. Scott Kavanaugh threw to the end zone, and found a familiar name, Lee Evans. The touchdown was wiped out by an illegal motion penalty as Nippert gave a sigh of relief. With 6 seconds left, Kavanaugh went back to pass again. This time, he threw too high for Nick Davis. The Bearcats did this:
the crowd did this in like 2 seconds:
and also this:
I was one of the people who stormed the field. I even shook Rick Minter's hand. It was pretty awesome. It was all pretty awesome. The win over Wisconsin was the first win over a top 10 team in Cincinnati history. I was happy to be there for it. That and the sheer awesomeness of the whole thing is why Cincinnati 17 Wisconsin 12 is a memorable Bearcat game.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bearcats Breakdown: Deonta Vaughn

The first entry in the series of breaking down the Bearcat players from this past season starts with Deonta Vaughn. All in all, this was a pretty disappointing season for one of the best Bearcats of all time. Deonta did, however, become the Bearcats career leader in 3 pointers made, and assists. He became the first Bearcat ever(?) or in a long time to lead the team in assists all 4 seasons. Deonta only made the post season once, but never the NCAA tournament, which will probably tarnish his legacy. He is one of the reasons that Cincinnati basketball was able to turn things around and make the NIT though, so he deserves many, many props. I bought his jersey at the Dayton game, and that's really all the levels of respect that a man needs.

Scoring: Deonta Vaughn averaged 11.7 points a game this season. That's down from 15.3, 17.3 and 14.5. He shot 37.8%, down from 38.8%, 43.6%, but up from his freshman year of 37.3%. His effective fg% was 48.9, same as last season, but down from 55.5. It was up from his freshman year at 45. Vaughn shot 33.8% from 3, same as last year. It was down from his spectacular sophomore year, 39.8, but up from 29.2 as a freshman. Vaughn shot a career best 82% at the free throw line, up from 80%, 79%, and 75%. Vaughn's offensive rating ended up being 108.5, his second best for his career. Deonta took 325 shots, which is significantly down from his past years. From freshman to junior, he took 407, 408 and 399. It's not like he made it up from the free throw line, he had 110 attempts. That's down from 128 soph and 120 junior.

Vaughn's best shooting days came in the Big East. He was 7-10 for 17 against Pittsburgh, 6-11 for 17 against UConn, and 7-13 against Seton Hall. Deonta had only 9 games shooting 50% or better. I listed the only 3 where he took double digit shots. Vaughn's top scoring game was the NIT loss to Dayton where he had 28, the 20 against Seton Hall, 20 against South Florida (the win), and 18 against Villanova. He had 17 three times, the two mentioned up top and he had 17 at Rutgers. Vaughn averaged 9.8 points non conference, and 11.8 during Big East play. It was a dramatic let down at the scoring end for Deonta Vaughn. Vaughn's worst game was the stinker against Miami where he didn't score.

Assists: Deonta lead UC in assists, but only had 3.514, which was his third best effort while at UC. His best was 4.7 last year, followed by 4.2 and 3.5 even. His best assist game was 9, against Toledo. He had 7 against Lipscomb, Marquette and Weber State. He dropped 6 in the losses to Gonzaga and Notre Dame. Vaughn had 22.5% of Cincinnati's assists on the season. That's a career low. He had 24.9%, 30.8% and 27.2%. That speaks to the team's improved passing, as well as Vaughn's decreased role in the offense.

Rebounding: Vaughn put up a second best in rebounding, gathering 3.5. Last season, he had 4. Vaughn pulled down 9 against Xavier, and 7 in the win against Notre Dame and Gonzaga loss. Vaughn pulled a rebound in every game, except Providence.

Other things: Vaughn continued to be a thief with 1.2 steals a game. His high was 4, and he hit that 3 times, against Dayton, St John's and Toledo. Vaughn blocked 2 shots, good for second best in his career. Interesting side note, in the 6 games Vaughn played the least, Cincinnati won them all. 4 were non conference blowouts, the other 2 were Vanderbilt and DePaul. Cincinnati didn't win a game the times he played the most minutes, Xavier, Villanova, Louisville, Gonzaga and Dayton. That's rather odd. In the games he played 30 minutes or more, UC was 8-11. That means UC was 11-5 in the games he played under 30 minutes. Those include wins over UConn and Louisville. That probably doesn't mean much.

Conclusion: Deonta Vaughn didn't have a great senior season. On the letter scale, his career would go B, A+, B, and C. He wasn't obviously horrible, but he wasn't great either. He never seemed to find his place. He couldn't adjust to being the off guard again, and he never wanted to take over the point guard position. He deferred to Lance Stephenson a lot, but also to the other guards who played with him. Vaughn was shut out in the Big East awards, which is something that didn't happen at all his first 3 years. In many ways, Vaughn's season was like UC's season. Higher expectations, but a failure to deliver what everyone wanted. It wasn't awful by any means, but we wanted and needed more. None the less, Deonta Vaughn had a magnificent career at Cincinnati. He'll be missed.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Random Stuff

We here at Bearcats Blog, the only Bearcats Blog named Bearcats Blog on the internet!!!!, promise to deliver the basketball season breakdowns starting on Monday. Things are going to go like this. Monday, player breakdowns. Tuesday, memorable games. Wednesday, Bearcat blasts from the past. Thursday, questions and answers. Friday, random stuff. Now that we have all of that clear, let's get to the Friday random stuff. It can be a thing, a rant, a list, a youtube video, a plea for hottie hottie hot hot ladies to go out with me, or anything else that I see fit. Because after all, I'm the one writing this.

The first edition of Friday Random Stuff is undeniably nerdy and dorky on my behalf. It's a post about Shawn Michaels. Now, I am a wrestling nerd. Shawn Michaels has been my favorite wrestler, or one of my favorites, since I was a little kid. I loved the Rockers. I remember when Shawn superkicked Marty Jannetty and threw him through the Barber Shop window. By the way, you don't see things like that anymore in wrestling. There are no Piper's Pits, Barber Shops, Funeral Parlors, or any of that. I think it's because in the mid 90s, everyone at the top was charisma-less, and they had no one to step up and take the reigns on such a premise. Anyway, back to HBK. I remember watching Wrestlemania 10 and the ladder match over and over and over. It was one of the greatest, most innovated matches ever. It was the beginning of Shawn Michaels becoming Mr. Wrestlemania. That would be solidified at WM 12 when he and Bret Hart went for over an hour. HBK won his first title, the 'boyhood dream had come true' as Vince McMahon said. Shawn's attitude problems kept him out of WM 13, but he returned to fight in another innovative match, Hell in a Cell. HBK would go on to injure his back at the Royal Rumble. It would be a career threatening injury. We all thought his match at WM 14 against Stone Cold Steve Austin was his last. It was a hell of a performance for someone would could barely stand.

HBK left wrestling for 4 years. He came back to have a great match with HHH at Summerslam 2002. Unbelievably, HBK kept wrestling. He won the World Heavyweight title at Survivor Series. He ended up fighting Chris Jericho at WM 19. He had a classic with Benoit and HHH at WM 20. He put on a clinic with Kurt Angle at WM 21. He beat the shit out of Vince McMahon at WM 22. He brought the goodness against John Cena at WM 23. He ended Ric Flair's WWE career at WM 24. He and the Undertaker put on one of the greatest matches of all time at WM 25. Finally, he and the Undertaker put on another of one of the greatest WM matches ever this year. The stipulation was the Undertaker's undefeated streak at WM would end, or HBK's career would end. The next night, HBK gave this speech.

A fitting way to end a legendary career. I just mentioned the WM moments, but there were many more great matches. HBK had classics with Mankind, Randy Orton, Cena, HHH, hell, everyone on the roster. He also did this awesome move to Shelton Benjamin.
I just watched that 10 times. Anyway, the point of this whole thing was that Shawn Michaels was one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. In fact, I would say the greatest wrestler in the history of the WWE. This may be a Bearcats Blog, but we still send out love to those who deserve it. Anyone who is the best in the world deserves it. Shawn Michaels more than deserves it. Have a nice retirement HBK.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Questions and Answers

So much has been going down with Cincinnati athletics that it's time to bust out some questions and answers. Is this just a lazy writing device so that I can throw up a post on this Thursday? Maybe. Let's jump into it.

Where does UC stand without Lance Stephenson and Deonta Vaughn?
Great question. I have no idea who is the 'man' on next season's Bearcats. Obviously the answer is Yancy Gates, wait put down the shotgun you just put in your mouth. Yancy is the best player coming back. Sean Kilpatrick was redshirted for this reason. The Bearcats are going to need progress from Cash, My best buddy Dion Dixon and Jaquan Parker. They also need Larry Davis to snap out of whatever funk he was in last season. I don't know if his dog died, his girlfriend and him had a rocky relationship where they fought all season, made up before his good games, and broke up before every other game, if he sucked in school or what. He has a nice shot, last year excluded, and I think he can bounce back.

What recruits does UC have coming in so far?
They have power forward, Rivals 140, and ESPN Top 100, Justin Jackson coming. They also have center Kelvin Gaines. They played together at Arlington County Day School in Florida. Jackson was the 24th rated PF, while Gaines was 17 at center. According to the ESPN recruiting site, 4 power forwards are considering Cincinnati. Apparently, Marquis Teague has dropped Cincinnati off his list. I think his list is now Louisville, Indiana and Purdue, but I could be wrong.

What player do you think is going to step up next season?
I think it's going to be Jaquan Parker. If it were me running the team, my lineup would be Gates, Thomas, Kilpatrick, Parker and Cash. Maybe Jackson, maybe Bishop (if he returns). I think UC should definitely try to run more next season. Kilpatrick is a scorer, Cash can create, Parker can spot up, Ibby can run the floor. Darnell Wilks is promising. Yancy Gates is going to have to dedicate himself this offseason. He's going to have to be a monster next year. If not, put him on the bench and start Jackson with Thomas.

Do you agree with Anthony Buford that Yancy Gates should go?
Anthony didn't say it like that. The interview is here. He basically said what I just said, that Gates needs to be a monster or he should be on the bench. He also said Rashad Bishop was second to go, which he didn't elaborate on, but obviously I agree with. Anthony knows a hell of a lot more than me, even if he sounds like a moron on commentary, sorry AB, you suck. Wear it. I still like you though. Buford was a good player, and if he thinks someone is jaking and a coach killer, then by all means he should call them out. Why he did in that interview and doesn't do it on air, I don't know.

Is there anything better than rumors about how teams fell apart?
I assume you mean this rumor. Apparently, the rumor going around Flip-flip-Flipadelphia is that Corey Fisher knocked up Scottie Reynolds' girlfriend, and that's why they were suspended and that's why their season fell apart. I don't believe it, but it's fun stuff to speculate about I guess.

Mike Rosario is leaving Rutgers, now Fred Hill looks like he's going. Thoughts?
First off, Fred Hill is an idiot. If you don't know, he unleashed a profanity laced tirade at a Pitt-Rutgers baseball game after a close play at first base. Pitt's AD took offense, and now Hill could be fired as early as today. Moron. As for Rosario, it's interesting he's thinking about transferring instead of going pro. He put up nearly 17 last year. He must know he wouldn't get drafted, and has no plans to play in Europe or Russia or the Dominican right now. Good for him continuing his education. Come to Cincinnati Mike.

Who are the new coaches in the Big East?
Well, you really haven't been paying attention. Seton Hall hired Kevin Willard, formerly a Louisville assistant who helped recruit the Final Four team in 05 with Mick Cronin, and coached Iona. St John's hired former UCLA coach and ESPN talking head Steve Lavin. Rutgers is rumored to be after another ESPN talking head, Fran Fraschilla.

What awesome UC player asked you when Lance Stephenson turned pro, but you didn't check twitter to answer him in a timely manner?
Your boy Reuben Johnson. Sorry for not answering faster Reuben.

Lastly, we are going to close things out with an awesome thing. Former Bearcat legend Kenyon Martin had an April Fool's Day prank pulled on him. JR Smith's driver filled K Mart's car with buttered popcorn. Kenyon didn't take this lightly. Despite the lips tattoo, he unleashed his rage on his teammates. The audio, courtesy of TMZ, is here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lance Stephenson Turns Pro

Lance Stephenson announced that he was throwing his name into the NBA draft today. It's not really surprising to anyone. Yeah I know that Lance said during the Big East Tournament that he was staying in school, but that was before he had a great Big East Tournament. Lance said this about turning pro.
“After reviewing my options, it is now clear to me that the need to emotionally and financially support my family, especially my young daughter, along with my long-standing and burning passion to play in the NBA, outweighs my desire to return to the University of Cincinnati,"
That's from SNY and Bill Koch. I'll admit it, I bought into Lance staying. Him leaving is not surprising, but it's disappointing. We shouldn't have believed him saying that he was coming back, because by that quote he never intended to, but we always look for the best. I wish Lance well and hope that he gets drafted. I've seen second round projections for him, but who knows how that is going to turn out. He doesn't have a jump shot, but he led the team in scoring. Lance was also second in rebounds and assists. I hope that he knows what he is doing and makes an NBA roster next season. Next season's Cincinnati Bearcats are going to be interesting to watch. Expectations are probably going to be low, especially if Bishop doesn't come back. Maybe Bishop is coming back, and that's part of the reason that Lance turned pro. Good luck to Lance Stephenson. We'll always have this.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Butler vs Duke NCAA Championship Game Live Blog

Welcome to the second ever live blog here at Bearcats Blog. The first was not a success for Cincinnati, but it was for the readers. This one will be a success for everyone because in this game, everyone wins. Except one of Butler or Duke. I am rooting like hell for Butler. That doesn't mean I'm biased. It kinda does. The game starts at 9:21, so make some popcorn. Get a soda. Let's do this.

9:08- Mack and Howard will play. Matt Howard's mustache is so red neck/hillbilly. I love it. Matt Howard can play on my team any day.

9:11- Coach K is a prick. Sorry Duke fans, you know it too.

9:19- Hayward looks really excited. Howard like a pedophile.

9:20- Nice hearty boos for Duke. Always puts a pep in your step.

9:21- Kyle Singler grows facial hair as poorly as Howard.

9:24- Here we go. The time is going to switch to minutes.

20- Butler wins the tip. Howard fouled 16 seconds in. Can we end the game after Howard sinks these?

19:18- Smith scores. I have to admit, I love Nolan Smith.

17:35- Smith around Howard for a lay up. It's 6-1. I'm extremely nervous. Butler misses another good look. Sigh.

16:42- Mack nails a 3. Lance Thomas has 2 fouls.

16:16- Veasley went up casual for a lay up on a break away, and Scheyer knocked it away. Should have called a foul anyway.

15:47- It's 6-4 Duke. Howard has missed at least 3 shots, but he's getting position. Butler looks feisty. And nervous. 0 Duke three attempts so far.

15:08- Hayward misses his first shot. Xavier player Jason Lover tweeted this "Ain't watchn this gme 2nite, FUCK Butler, first n las time I'll evr root 4 Duke, "Coack K, he's a fuckn magician" (in my Sean Miller voice)" Just another reason to hate X, their players are rooting for Duke.

14:01- Mack hits another 3. It's 8-7. Zoubek draws a charge on Howard. That could have been called a double foul. It was very awkward.

13:41- Singler draws a foul on Vanzant. The crowd viciously boos every foul. Singler makes both.

13- Hayward gets his first 2 on a follow up lay in. He's a stud. On the other end, Zoubek picks up a foul after it looks like he traveled. He made 1 of 2. He's got 3-3. 

12:25- Butler takes the lead and brings the crowd to it's feet. Hahn hit a 3 for the first time since 2002. 

11:47- Scheyer and Norad trade 2s before Singler rains home a 3. This is intense early. 

11:05- Norad picks up number 2. Butler is fouling alot. 16-14 Duke

10- Both teams are making shots. Both like to play at a slow pace. The difference is going to be that Duke is really efficient and Butler is not. Let's see if they hang. Mack can, and ties it with a jumper. He's got 7.

8:55- The crowd is going nuts after every Butler rebound and score. Like that Veasley put back on the third shot. Howard just picked up number 2. He lasted 11:27. Not bad. 

7:54- Butler leads 20-18. Only 5 more media timeouts to go!

7:33- Hahn looks like a high school freshman who sucks. I wonder what he actually looked like in high school. Duke just got a steal on a no call. The crowd was not happy. 

6:22- Duke is getting every call when they drive to the rim. Scheyer makes 1 of 2. 

5:52- Scheyer drills his first 3. Duke leads by 4 and their fans get loud. By fans, I mean preppy assholes. 

5:27- I have a feeling this is where it starts to slip away from Butler

5:08- Singler takes about 4 or 5 steps for a lay up. Duke is getting every single call. They are up 6 as the student manager head coach calls timeout.

4:37- Jukes with a lay up that breaks up a 4 minute drought for Butler. Hayward grabs a rebound and drives on Singler for a turnaround j. He's smooth. 2 point game. Butler is so poised.

3:40- Jukes 3! 7-0 run. How can you not root for them? Unless you have no soul? Smith hits a runner for the Duke lead as I type that. 

2:40- Duke timeout. They lead by 1, 28-27. Butler can't let this get to 8 before the half. 

1:52- Media break after a tie up. Hayward grabbed a Mack miss, maybe traveled, and got tied up on his way up. I believe it's Butler's ball, but CBS was so pumped to throw to commercial, they didn't say. We need ESPN to take over. I bet this doesn't happen in the women's tournament. 

1:52- I should point out that Hayward totally committed an offensive foul on the rebound as well after rewinding it. Hayward is getting NBA treatment. Kinda like everyone on Duke. 

1:33- Jukes blew a dunk on a nice pass from Hahn, but makes the lay up. The dunk would have been better.

1- Smith hits a transition 3. Butler has only given up 3 of them.

0:19- Jukes answers with a 3. He's got 10. A season high. Unbelievable. 

0:03- Smith is reached in on. Misses the front end of a 1-1. Last ditch shot misses. 

HALFTIME: Duke 33 Butler 32

Halftime stats: Butler is 13-38 34.2%, 5-13 from 3, and 1-4 at the stripe. They have 22 rebounds, 10 offensive. 4 turnovers. Jukes has 10, Mack 8, Hayward 4-7, Nored 2, Veasley 2, Vanzant 2and Howard 1. Duke is 13-26 50%, 3-10 from deep, and 4-9 at the stripe. They have 17 rebounds, only 3 offensive. They also had 4 turnovers. Smith had 9, Singler 9-5, Scheyer 8-3 assists, Zoubek 5-5, and Thomas 2. That's right, their starters have all their points. 

Vegas Watch on twitter, read his great blog and follow him, posts that Duke's win percentage is 72. 

During the halftime interview on CBS, Da'Sean Butler said that he apologized to Bob Huggins as he was laying on the floor for not leading them to the national title. Wow. You can tell that they have a deep bond. It's hard to not feel for Da'Sean. He'll bounce back.

19:34- Hayward gets away with a foul, and makes 2 free throws for the lead on the other end. Singler hits a 3 to give the lead right back to Duke. 

17:31- Howard scores his first field goal to tie it. It's getting physical. It was already, but even more so now. Howard just got 3. 

16:12- There is shoving under the basket, pushing off, and everything. Mack drives for a lay up for the Butler lead. Their last 2 baskets have been lay ups. 

15:30- Smith ties it on a tough runner. Love Smith. 

15:14- 40-40, Duke ball as Norad loses it off his knee. This is fun.

The Freaks and Geeks theme song in the commercials make me want to see Kick Ass. That, and it's called Kick Ass. 

14:40- Butler's d has locked down. Duke has 1 shot clock violation, and now they have 1 second on the shot clock. They get a bucket on a  Scheyer goaltend on a Plumlee miss. 

14:10- Matt Howard gets called for an over the back. That's 4. Is this danger time for Butler? Maybe. 

13:30- Butler gets a 3 to take the lead. It caused a fist pump. Also, I've been popping gummy lifesavers that are shaped like Easter things. They are made of crack. I'll be sick in an hour. Jukes just got number 3. Off the inbound, Singler hits a step back 3. He's got 15. Timeout Duke. 

Jon Scheyer's dad is really called Big Ed? Really?

12:37- Jukes gets to the line after a block on Zoubek. That's 3 on Zoubek, all this half. Jukes misses both. Another nickel dimer on Butler. 

12:25- Zoubek with a lay up on an inbound. That's 3 big shots this half off inbounds for Duke. 

12:02- Hayward is called on a bullshit charge because Scheyer was under the basket and undercut him. 

11:21- Zoubek just picked up #4 going for a block after Hayward probably travelled. This is getting really good. 47-43 Duke. 

11:21- Hayward makes both. Horrible foul shooting tonight. Butler is 5-10, Duke 4-9. Thomas scores inside. Other end, Hayward draws another foul. He's getting superstar calls. 

10:27- Duke scores again off an inbound. 3 times on under the basket inbounds plays. 

9:30- Mack cuts it in half with a tough jumper. He can get a shot wherever. Duke turnover. And a Duke foul.

8:30- Sequence where Hayward fouls Zoubek to no call, and drives looking for a call. Vanzant ends up on Singler and fouls him. Both teams have 6. 

7:58- Scheyer gets a ridiculous and 1 that draws #4 on Jukes. 53-49 Duke. We saw definite Scheyer face on that one. Scheyer made it, Duke's up 5.

7:40- Howard gets fouled and makes both. Looks like Butler is going offense defense as Jukes re-entered. 

7- Singler just blocked a Mack lay up. Duke has 7 blocks. They are up 5. Smith misses a runner. He's dribbling too much. Butler misses a lay up when Nored threw it too hard off glass.

5:42- Butler calls a timeout after Zoubek throws an offensive rebound into the backcourt. Duke is up 5. 

5:07- Hayward is hammered on a lay up attempt by Thomas, after a Duke throwaway and a nice outlet. It wasn't intentional. If it is, the fix is in. It's Thomas' 4th. Hayward has hit 8 free throws this half. Duke leads by 1. Timeout Duke at 5:02. 

4:47- Singler drains a long jumper. He's been ice. In the good way. Timeout Butler. Odd timeout there. 

3:16- Duke is shooting 2. They lead by 3, 58-55. Butler needs to score on their next possession. 

3:05- Another tie up. Butler hasn't gotten a field goal in 6 minutes. Smith made both foul shots. 

2:32- Mack misses a runner from the right baseline. This possession is huge. Singler gets called for travelling. Butler needs points. 

2:00- Howard gets a lay up with 1:40. It's 60-57

1:00- Mack missed a pull up 3, but Butler got the rebound. Howard lay up with 54.8!!!

049- Duke ball. 30 on the shot clock. Singler threw up an airball. Off Zoubek!!!!!! BUTLER BALL!!! 33 LEFT

033- Mack's pass deflected out of bounds. 

13.6- Timeout Butler. I'm so fucking nervous and excited. Come on baby, make one. One time. Heyward couldn't get it in. Timeout again. That's their last.

13.6- Hayward had a great look, but it was long. Zoubek rebounds and is fouled. 3.6

3.6- Zoubek shooting 2. Makes the first. Zoubek intentionally misses the second. Hayward grabs the rebound, throws up a shot from half court, IT BANKED AND HIT OFF THE RIM!! Holy shit that was dead on. Hayward had 2 great looks. That would have been the greatest shot ever if it went in. Damn. Congrats Duke. More importantly, congratulations Butler. You are fucking champions.