Friday, January 22, 2010

Tough Tests, But How Tough?

You figure UC's game at Louisville Sunday is going to be a tough test. Most road conference game are. But what about Xavier at home against Rhode Island? I can't get a handle on the Rams. They are 15-2, with wins over Oklahoma St. and Boston College. The Rams are 7-1 on the road, but are winless in six tries in Cincinnati against the X-Men. You have to think Xavier will make it 27 straight A-10 wins at the Cintas Center, but I'm curious to see if the Runnin' Rams give them a game. They only lost to Temple by 4.

There's no wondering about how tough it will be for U.C. Sunday at Louisville. The Cardinals are wounded after losing three in a row. They'll have the Freedom Hall crowd, which means energy from the fans to fuel the Pitino press. How will Jaquon Parker and the U.C. guards handle that press? That will go a long way in determining the winner in this one. Mick Cronin said today he feel the offensive execution has been better, that includes shot selection and turnovers. I wasn't so sure about that when I saw them jack five or six three pointers in a row the other night, making only the last one. But if they are open, Mick doesn't seem to have a problem with them jacking threes, as long as they're aren't too early in the possession, and as long as they are uncontested shots. Mick also said Lance Stephenson is day to day, and made it clear enough that he'll try to keep his mentor Pitino guessing on Lance's status for Sunday.

Here's the picks for the NFL Conference championships on Sunday: Minnesota +3 1/2 and Indy -8 or whatever. My Vikings pick is based on one simple theory: Minnesota has the better defense. I think Minnesota will win outright. Personally, I would rather have the Saints win it. But I'm going with Minnesota. The Colts at home just seem to be the pick, and while I don't think it will necessarily be a blowout, I'm looking at 10 points or so. I like the Jets. I like the swagger and honest bluster from head coach Rex Ryan. He even said at the beginning of the playoffs he liked his chances because of defense and running. I think if he had the Colts ourdoors on a chilly day, he would have a chance. But I also know the Jets did the following on their way to the AFC championship game: Beat a Colts team that laid down, destroyed a Bengals team that had nothing to play for, then beat the Bengals again when Shayne Graham's tom-tom went on the fritz, then beat a San Diego team when Nate Kaeding obviously borrowed Graham's tom-tom. Therefore, Vikings and Colts in the Super Bowl. Will ESPN make me hate football forever by over-hyping of the Favre vs Manning matchup? I know this, they'll give it their best shot.

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