Monday, February 23, 2009

Weekend Musings

After a rare weekend off it's time to get back after it. It was good to see a big crowd at fifth third arena again. Over 12-thousand, with a decent amount of Louisville fans. In my case there were 2 Louisville fans too many. (the two sitting directly behind me) My jawed dropped at the way U.C. was buried on the boards. I feel they have to beat West. Va. here and win at Syracuse to have a shot at the NCAA. Can that happen? yes. Will it happen? I don't think so.

It was no surprise to see Xavier back on track. That's been the recipe lately. Energized and careful with the basketball at home, Sloth-like and careless on the road. We'll see Thursday if Xavier is back to playing the way it was earlier in the season. X has suffered 3 straight losses on the road, but the St. Joseph's team Xavier will see in Philly Thursday night is reeling. Four straight losses for the Hawks, but they've all been close. A 2 point loss against Temple, 7 point loss at La Salle (disturbing), 2 points to St. Louis and a 1 point loss at home to UMass. So while the Hawks are reeling, they are dangerous and due for something positive. It should be fun to watch. Note for Xavier fans: After what seemed like a decade of Pat Calathes, he is finally gone from St. Joseph's. I double-checked the roster and it's true, he's gone. Finally. But Ahmad Nivens is still around and as good as ever. The 6-9 senior averages over 19 points and 11 rebounds a game. Wow!

If you are a U.C. football fan you have to be stoked about the two Lakota West players committing to the Bearcats over the weekend. Tight end Alex Smith and offensive lineman Kevin Scholemer gave the 'Cats their word at the basketball game on Saturday. U.C. is finally, finally getting a lot of the great homegrown talent to stick around. Credit the move to the Big East for getting U.C. on the radar of the big-time local talent. I think of the move to the Big East as the kickoff. Then someone has to field that kickoff, execute the blocking, follow the blocking, and take the ball back to the house. That's where this unbelievable coaching staff comes in. I saw Brian Kelly at the basketball game Saturday walking through the stands shaking hands. I think he even kissed a baby or two. I saw Kerry Coombs at the St. Xavier H.S. Hall of Fame banquet wearing a tie that appeared to be almost Bomber blue. (Sorry Colerain fans, it was the first time I didn't see him wearing red so I had to mention it) This coaching staff sells the program 24/7, and it shows. It's great to have at least one football team in town that matters on a national scale.

The Reds spring training games begin Wednesday. You can talk about added speed, defense, solid pitching, whatever. But the best sign for me is hearing about Joey Votto leading by example. Grab leadership by the throat Joey, and grab a few teammates by the throats too if that's what it takes.

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