New-Look Cincy Comes to Town
The Cincy-Xavier brawl back on Dec. 10 has been labeled one of college basketball's ugliest incidents in years. Yancy Gates' right hook to Kenny Frease's face certainly is an ugly lasting image of the whole situation. At 6-9, 260 pounds (at least), Gates is lucky he didn't cause further harm to Frease than just the nasty gash under his left eye.
“It was crazy," Jeremy Lamb recalled. "It was a competitive game and stuff got out of hand. I watched it a couple of times.”
Added Andre Drummond: “I heard one thing led to another and bad things happened. It’s a good thing they cleared that whole thing up.”
Oddly, both players were asked if they believed a similar incident could erupt tomorrow night.
“No, I don’t expect to see us fighting, no," a perplexed Lamb responded.
“We’re just going to go out and play basketball," added Drummond. "We’re not looking to fight anybody. We’re just trying to win the basketball game.”
Gates and numerous others were suspended (rightly so, some perhaps not as long as they should have been). It was an ugly incident that has no place in the game of college basketball.
But here's a question I really would appreciate some help on: Why do we get all up in arms about college basketball kids doing something that happens in NHL games every single night. Every. Single. Night.
In all seriousness, if anyone can answer this one, I'd appreciate it. I honestly can't understand why fighting in hockey is encouraged so much, but I could very well be missing something here.
Anyway, on to UConn:
*** Jim Calhoun wasn't overly happy with practice today, cursing and raising his voice at times. He was happier with Monday's practice, however.
*** Cincy has taken the negative of the Xavier brawl and turned it into a positive. With Gates suspended for six games, the Bearcats converted into a pressing, 3-point gunning team, with very positive results.
“They’re an open team now, they put four outside," said Calhoun. "They were forced into it, and by doing so, when you’re forced into a situation, it turns out to be good for you.”
The Bearcats are 14-4 overall and 4-1 in the Big East, their best start in conference play since joining the league in 2005. Cincinnati has won nine of its last 10 games overall and nine of its last 11 Big East regular season games.
Perhaps most impressively, the Bearcats have won six straight and eight of their last nine Big East road games.
Cincy has won five of its last seven regular-season games against ranked foes.
*** Calhoun on the Big East: "It's a league that makes no sense from 2 to 16 ... There’s a one, far and away, and no clear two as I can see it.”
*** DeAndre Daniels turned his ankle during practice and limped off the floor. After about 10 minutes, he rejoined the action and seemed fine. However, he was helped off the court by trainer James Doran and a teammate afterwards.
Also, Tyler Olander still isn't 100-percent but is better than he was Saturday, when he was limited to six minutes against Notre Dame. Calhoun fully expects him to play tomorrow night.
*** No word on Ryan Boatright, but it appears he won't be playing tomorrow. If Shabazz Napier and/or Jeremy Lamb get into foul trouble, would Calhoun have faith in walk-on Brendan Allen, who hasn't played in a month?
“I do have faith in him," the coach said, "he just hasn’t had the experience yet, so he’s hard to throw in the midst of a game. But if need be, we certainly will.”
*** Former UConn guard Tony Robertson played on the "Green Team" in practice today. He's on campus taking some classes in order to graduate.
Robertson looked pretty smooth burying some 3-pointers (though his defensive intensity was, shall we say, less than stellar).
*** Tomorrow night will be UConn's first game at Gampel since a Dec. 8 bout with Harvard. That's a span of some 41 days and eight games.