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The Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout

2018-19 Edition


-The Beercat

After the UC Bearcats (8-1) downed the NKU Norse (8-2) 78-65 on Tuesday night in 5/3 all sights have been set on the game. The one the 513 circles their calendars for each year.  The promotional basketballs are sold at Skyline, the coaches are asked repeatedly about what will be the difference maker this year, local media hypes it, school kids wear their team’s colors the day before, twitter trolls are out in full force, students are camping out protecting the Big O, and that big, ugly ass blue blog thing is out eating unexpecting children in your neighborhood. The cold front has just moved into the tri-state and relatives who are reppin the wrong mascot get the cold shoulder. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s all the same old stuff just with new faces all of the hype.

New faces in the Shootout. This year’s Shootout will look a little different from a couple of different angles.

First, from the UC side, the Bearcats only return two starters. Justin Jenifer and Jarron Cumberland. Of course, 9 games into the season we know that Cumberland is option #1 on the offensive end and Cronin’s go to when the team needs a bucket. The problem thus far for Cumberland has been his consistency. Cronin has criticized him for “turning it on and off” whenever he wants. He’ll need to have a strong game come Saturday. The other starters we’ll see for the Bearcats is Keith Williams, Tre Scott, and Nysier Brooks. The three of them combined for 26 minutes of playing time and 4 points in last year’s Crosstown Shootout. Experience isn’t on the side of the Bearcats this year. Williams has played strong in the past couple of games for the Bearcats and Scott is coming off of a career game on Tuesday scoring 22 and grabbing 10 rebounds as he had himself a night.

Secondly, Xavier. Their Voldemort looking leader on the bench flew the coup for a team that was one inch away form the complete death penalty. Makes total sense. Being Xavier they couldn’t pull a “national” name like UConn did with Dan Hurley so they went the 100th next best choice in promoting from within and landing on Travis Steele a 10 year vet on the bench.

Finally, the boys across town have some new faces too. The guy to watch is Naji Marshall. The Bearcats have to find him and not let him become the unexpected hero of the game. He has the potential. You’ll recognize some familiar faces on the Musketeers as well. Juniors Quentin Goodin and Tyrique Jones will be there to anchor the team. I’d expect Goodin to command a lot of attention from the Bearcats defense. He’ll be ready to torch us.  I’d have to admit the whole team is really lacking that “most punchable face guy” like they’ve had in the recent past with JP Showshisbutt. OH WAIT! You’ve probably seen this floating around twitter. Let me introduce you to the next most punchable face in college basketball.

I’m not even going to comment.

Same old rivalry. With so many new faces and players entering the rivalry or taking on a new role in it my hope is that the intensity and natural disdain for each other isn’t lost. We don’t need another Punchout but the heated press conferences and chirping makes rivalries great and bragging rights that much more coveted.

Breakout player of the game. Each year in a rivalry game like this you’re looking for rising star, a dark horse hero if you will. My bet on this year’s unexpected hero has to be either LoJo or Nsoseme. Johnson is a human ball of energy off of the bench and can play some awesome Bearcats defense. Nsoseme had a strong game last year in the Shootout with 4 blocks in 8 minutes. I look for him to build on that this year’s installment.

Keys to the game. For the Bearcats to win this one, here is what they’ll need to do:

  1. Show up early. The Bearcats have a tendency to sleepwalk into big games. Be ready at tip. This includes that Bearcats brand of defense.
  2. Single digit turnovers. Ideally 7 or less. UNLV tested the Bearcats ability to protect the ball. The Bearcats have to better on Saturday.
  3. Make shots. Usually an oblivious key to any game but the Bearcats have to make the open ones.
  4. Rebound. Limit Xavier’s second change opportunities and create them on the other end.

Prediction 

Bearcats 75

Musketeers 66


Go Bearcats and see you Saturday in section 207.

 

Exploration Brewery: Listerman Brewing

Listermann Brewing


-The Beercat

I’ve drank a lot of beer from listermann. I usually seek them out when I’m buying beer because I know they probably have something new and different. As it turns out, I’m drinking their Operation Flinklock as I write this, a delicious coffee stout brewed with vanilla and chocolate. What took me so long to drive to Norwood to check them out, I don’t know, but I’m glad that I finally did.

The Place

As I was reminded on twitter, by Craft Beer Joe, you can find Listermann Brewing, really really close to Xavier University. Maybe that’s what took me so long to get down there, but colligate alliances aside…

You can find Listermann at 1621 Dana Ave Cincinnati, OH 45207. I would describe Norwood as a sleepy little place that was a little more quiet than I had imagined. I’ll go ahead and declare Listermann as the flagship watering hole in the neighborhood. They have a small but very cozy bar area in the taproom that expands out to a larger seating area if you’re not trying to sit that close to the bar. On my visit I sat at the bar to sit closer to the beer. At Listermann you can also find all of your homebrewing needs as well on the other side of the building. They have a swag wall full of anything you might need with the Listermann logo on it including stickers, shirts, and hats. If you’re looking for beer to go they also have a fridge stocked with their latest options. They also have a kitchen offering up a nice menu of foods and snacks.

The Beer

Like I said before, I’ve had a lot of Listermann beer so I wasn’t sure if I could find something new to try while in the taproom. Of course, I was wrong. They had a full line up of new beers for me to try, so I got a flight. First up was Pinkies out, a pale ale at 5.8% that was delicious. I would drink it all day. Next up was Losanitville Pre Prohibition Lager. It’s a solid lager and one I’d drink again. Next, I had The King of Them All, a NEIPA that checks in at 6%. It’s a full bodied beer, like most NEIPAs are, but this one of the better one’s I’ve tried lately.

Finally, I had to try the Imperial Nutcase. Listermann has a porter called Nutcase that I’ve had in bottles before, it was good, peanut butter and chocolate. They took that already delicious beer and made it bigger and better. This new version checks in at a solid 10.2% so I wouldn’t advise drinking a lot of these and still plan on functioning afterwards. I’d advise visting the taproom just to try this beer. Good luck though, I’m sure it went fast.

Overall

Next time I’m in Norwood it’s because I’m back at Listermann. The beers are always on point and if you don’t like what you’re drinking, I guarantee they have something completely different on tap for you to try next. The taproom is open daily and you can find more information on their website or social media pages below.

Listermann

@listermann on twitter and IG

Exploration Brewery: Sonder Brewing

Sonder Brewing


-The Beercat

sonder (n) – the realization that every person has a unique story.

The Place

I recently visited the newest brewery to the greater Cincinnati area, Sonder Brewing in Mason, OH. They’re located at 8584 Duke Boulevard, Mason, Ohio 45040. Mason is almost always buzzing and is a very happening place. Sonder, however, is a nice break from all of that. It’s tucked back off of Mason-Montgomery Rd. The lot it sits on is very nice and allows for plenty of expansion in the future as well as any outdoor activities they might want to plan for once the grass starts growing again.

The whole facility is really impressive. They started operations with a 30 bbl system and over 2500 sq ft of taproom space. A patio and outdoor lawn space is available now, it’s quite impressive on its own.  I stopped in one early afternoon during the week and the place was packed. They have a huge parking lot which is always nice. Still, that day I had a little trouble finding a spot, which I took for a good sign. The taproom still had that new beer smell but it was packed. Thirsty craft beer consumers were already taking in Sonder’s line up and I was eager to try something myself. I found an open spot at the bar and took a seat. A friendly server promptly asked me what I’d be having, I ordered a flight, as you can see above. I didn’t have the chance to talk a good look around but I loved the layout from what I could see from the bar. They have windows separating the taproom from the brew space so you can watch the magic happen while you’re drinking which is something I’m always interested in seeing and learning more about. I talked to a couple different servers and one of the brewers while I was there. All were super friendly and ready to give a recommendation or specs on a beer.

Sonder also has a kitchen, BrewRiver, serving up a unique menu for almost anything you’re in the mood for while you’re there. Burgers, Mac n Cheese, Gumbo, and beer infused ice cream.

The Beer

During my visit Sonder had 9 beers on tap. I had a flight with 4 of them. (I’ll be back to try the others.) First up was Lore, a pale ale coming in at an ABV of 5.3%. It’s smooth, easy drinking. Next up, I had Record Hop, an IPA. It’s a very approachable IPA with an ABV of 6.8%.Sonder also has their version of the haze craze (is anyone else tired of that phrase yet?) with You Betcha!, probably as in “Do you have a NEIPA?” It’s a hazy IPA with heavy notes of tropical fruit that was brewed with Galaxy and Citra hops. It’s got that hazy mouthfeel and leaves the palate with a soft texture. Very well done for those hop heads who don’t know they’re hop heads yet.
Finally, the last beer I had at Sonder was Otto. A tiramisu stout checking in at an ABV of 8.1%. This was my favorite beer that I had that day. I picked up notes of coffee, vanilla, and hints of chocolate. A very good beer to sip on now that we’re solidly into 30º weather.

Overall

The atmosphere, amazing staff, and list of impressive beers will have me coming back again soon. The fact that the brewery is just a couple minutes away from my house is a big plus too. They are opened daily with the kitchen closing 1 hour before the taproom each day. You can find out more about Sonder Brewing on their website and their social media accounts.

Upcoming Events

On Black Friday take a break from the Purge (aka black Friday shopping) and stop into Sonder as they release their Frosted Mango Milkeshake IPA. Doors open at 9am with 50% off of pints as well until 11am.

http://sonderbrewing.com/welcome/

You can find them on all social media platforms @Sonderbrewing

*Update*

I went back to Sonder on Black Friday, well after the madness was over to try their new beer, Frosted, a Mango Milkshake IPA. Mango at first sip with the milkshake IPA mouthfeel that makes style so unique. All of the milkshake IPAs that I’ve had so far are very sweet, also most too sweet. This one wasn’t packed with the over sweetness, it was delicious and worth the trip over.

They were also very festive, I was hoping they had a beer called Fragile, but didn’t see one.

Bearcats, Knights, Gameday

All That Glitters is Championship Gold


Dark horse, noun, is a little-known person or team that emerges to prominence, especially in a competition of some sort or a contestant that seems unlikely to succeed.


The Cincinnati football Bearcats are in a unique position come this Saturday. For the first time the Bearcats are the feature game on ESPN’s College Gameday. From 9am to noon on Saturday the UCF Knights and the UC Bearcats will be the featured talking points for Corso and the boys. Of course the crew isn’t in Clifton, they’re in Orlando to focus on the UCF Knights.

The Gameday crew isn’t there to watch one of the most improved teams in college football, the Cincinnati Bearcats. They’re setting up shop in Orlando to see the UCF Knights try to extend the nations longest winning streak, which currently sits at 22 games in a row. The crew is there to watch the reigning national champions take on their first ranked opponent of the season. The spotlight is there to shine on the team from the sunshine state.

Most people outside of Cincinnati wonder why we’re even making the trip down there. We’re just going to be their 23rd victim.

Outside of the city, people don’t know the Bearcats are made for this role. The Bearcats have never been the Cinderella, the sweetheart, the darling team the masses fall in love with.

We’ve embraced this persona. The all black uniforms, the grit, the Cincinnati brand, not only of football, but basketball too. The Bearcats are used to living in the shadows, emerging victorious when no one else believes it can be done.

Its personified with Mike Warren II. His style of play, the relentlessness of his game is the perfect example.

Do you not believe me? Just check out the hype video after the UCLA win in week one. Desmond Howard said we didn’t stand a chance.  WE WERE AN UNDERDOG TO THE MIAMI (OH) REDHAWKS!


Cincinnati at UCLA
David Pollack: UCLA
Desmond Howard: UCLA — “I got UCLA big with Wilton Speight at quarterback for Chip Kelly.”
Lee Corso: UCLA
Kirk Herbstreit: UCLA — “I don’t think it’ll be easy. But UCLA, end of the day, too many athletes.”


Is this the only example? No but it illustrates my point. Just look at the CFP rankings if you need another example. We’re ranked 24th, that’s awesome, but we’re ranked behind 2 teams with 4 losses and behind 8 teams with 3 losses.

Here’s a drinking game for you to play from 9 to noon tomorrow. For every time they say something to the affect “The Bearcats have their hands full tonight” take a drink. For everyone who picks against UC take a drink. When Corso comes out in a full suit of armor, picking the Knights, chug a beer. What happens if he picks the Bearcats? He’s not going to do it. (If he does, chug 2 beers)

If I had to guess if someone was going to pick the Bearcats I’d pick Herbstreit. He was teammates with Fickell and knows his well, but still, highly unlikely.

The hype in Orlando has already arrived. People are already camping out to be first in line for the Gameday shooting.

Let the hype build. Let the Knight’s team, fanbase, and everyone else get drunk off of the spotlight before the game even starts because once that ball is kicked off it’s time for the dark horse to shine. It’s time for the Bearcats to show that grit, that Cincinnati brand of football, and emerge victorious.

 

Bearcats Basketball is Back

It’s Basketball Time in the Queen City!


-The Beercat

It’s the most wonderful time, of the year! The Cincinnati Bearcats are about to kick off the basketball season on Wednesday. There’s a lot to be excited for this year. We know the newly renovated 5/3rd area is looking amazing. If you went out to the exhibition game on Thursday you already have a head start on me. Odds are you did go because over 10,000 people showed up to a game that didn’t count. If you didn’t make it here are the highlights:

That dunk from LaQuill was NaStY!

The Lineup 

Losing your top 3 scorers is tough but over the years Cronin hasn’t had to rebuild, just reload. That’s what we hope happens this season too. There were some questions with who would start this season for the Bearcats and we got a preview of that this past Thursday. The line up looked like

Jenifer

Broome

Cumberland

Scott

Brooks

Cumberland, Scott, and Brooks isn’t that surprising to me. Cumberland is the #1 scoring option, Scott and Brooks are taking on new roles as starters but got minutes last year behind Washington and Clark. The dual threat of Broome/Jenifer was one that we didn’t get a lot of last season. They usually spit minutes about 50/50. Jenifer being the more defensive minded ball protector and Broome the scorer. I like the idea of starting them both. If they’re both on the floor you’d think they’d look to push the tempo and channel their inner “Showtime.”

In the recent past Cronin hasn’t switched up his starting line ups that much if he could help it (with injuries obviously he would of had to) but with Keith Williams and Trevor Moore seeing time last year some thought they would be in the mix as well. Then you have a new comer like Rashawn Fredericks. A player some thought could come in and start right away. He’s also a guy some who are close to the team say will be a Cincinnati fan favorite because of his style of play (a blue collar, hustle, and grid type of gamer).

In a tweet earlier this week I mentioned the guard combo that Illinois had a while back of Deron Williams and Dee Brown. If you don’t remember them, look it up. That backcourt could score and score quick! I’d love to see Broome and Jenifer light up the scoreboard pushing the tempo.

Game 1

When UC announced that the Buckeyes would be traveling south to Clifton I honestly didn’t believe it. It’s something that hasn’t happened in my lifetime, or my dad’s, or my 94 year old grandpa’s. So opening the newly renovated Shoemaker Center with the Big 10 team up north really got me jazzed up. Kicking off the season with the Buckeyes and having the impressive home schedule that we have this year I thought it wise to buy season tickets.

The last time the Bearcats and bUCkeys met on the hardwood, I was in Panama Beach, FL for spring break. My friends and I took over a small hole in the wall towny bar to watch the Sweet 16 game between the 2 Ohio schools. The year was 2012 and I remember that Justin Jackson was our leading scorer at half with 8 points. At the time, that wasn’t a great sign. OSU won the game 81-66. We continued to drink on the beach, heavily.

The last time OSU played at the home of the Bearcat’s you’d have to go back to 1920. The two teams also met a couple of time in the 1960’s as well, although, I’m sure Buckeye’s fans wouldn’t know anything about that.

You’ll remember that 2012 was the year of the infamous Crosstown Punchout game in Norwood.

The bUCkeyes will be ready to play though. Last season they exceeded most expectations under new coach and former Butler Bulldog Chris Holtmann. The bUCkeyes went 25-9 (15-3). They made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament before getting bounced by Gonzaga. The lowlight of the bUCkeyes season would had to have been losing to Penn State (26-13, 9-9) 3 times last season, twice in the regular season and once in the Big 10 tournament.

Prediction

Bearcats 64                          bUCkeyes 61

Tip off is at 6pm Wednesday night. I hope to see you there. I’ll be in section 207 that night, and every night the Bearcats play in Clifton.

Football Pergatory

Cautious Optimism


    -The Beercat

After posting a second half prediction of the football Bearcats my hopes and dreams were shot down by the Temple Owls in OT on Saturday. I thought we would bring home a W from Philly. That didn’t happen. Instead, our Bearcats panicked the last couple of minutes of the game. The first 3 minutes of the game is highly forgettable too. (A lost fumble on 3rd down and a botched return added onto a Temple touchdown where the receiver landed out of bounds. If you add in the ref icing our freshmen kicker you have a hell of Saturday afternoon) All of this while Temple was without its RB1 Ryquell Armstead.

Can you blame me for thinking the Bearcats could go 11-1 after starting off 6-0? Yeah beating USF is a stretch but if we would have been undefeated heading into that game in Nippert. What a stage that would have been. A perfect one for College Gameday to finally highlight in Clifton. If we win Saturday in Dallas and Nov 3 against Navy, two games that will be an absolute dog fight the next two games will be highly anticipated by Bearcats fans.

Here’s what I’m currently thinking. 8 weeks ago not many people had the Bearcats at 6-0 going into the bye week. Still not a lot of people had them 6-1 at this point. Moving forward though we’re caught in football fan purgatory. What does that mean? I feel like our fanbase doesn’t know how to feel right now. We’re caught in between preseason expectations and the redrawn expectations after going 6-0. Winning when you feel like you shouldn’t be is certainly much sweeter than expecting it. So you get addicted to that sweetness and expect more of it. That’s what happened before last Saturday’s game.

Sure some fans might have kept “realistic” expectations for this team and still have them. That’s fine, but the feeling you get when your team is winning against the odds makes it harder to keep those realistic expectations you started off with before week 1. It’s not wrong to reset expectations. That’s what I did before week 7. I expected the Cincinnati Football Bearcats to win every game in the second half of the season, except one. (UCF if you couldn’t guess)

If before the season started you told me the Bearcats would be 6-6 and bowl eligible I would have said,

“Hey! We’re getting there! A bowl game will be fun, what’s that even like anyway?”

But now after winning the first 6, losing the last 6 would almost be devastating. No one wants to end a season with 6 straight losses, especially if one is to ECU. Yeah we’re still bowl eligible but we’d have absolutely no momentum going into it.

So what do we do now? We proceed with cautious optimism. Maybe some of you were already doing that? Maybe after the bye week I was living dangerously. Let’s ride this thing out a couple of more games to see where we land this season. We hit #20 in the country, that was fun but maybe a bit too much too soon.

Beat SMU this week and get us back into Historic Nippert on Nov 3rd.

I hope to see all of you at The Den’s watch party at Taft’s Brewpourium on Saturday at 3:30pm! I’ll be the guy drinking delicious beer dressed in red and black!

Predicting the Last Half of the Season

Can the Bearcats Go Undefeated?


The Cincinnati Bearcats are 6-0 and are bowl eligible for the first time in 3 years. You know that already though.  The Bearcats are ranked #20 in the country and are coming off of a bye week with Temple waiting in Philly on Saturday.

So far the Bearcats have looked good beating

UCLA 26-17

Miami 21-0

Alabama A&M 63-7

Ohio U 34-30

UConn 49-7

Tulane 37-21

What lies ahead is a gauntlet of a schedule for an AAC team.

Temple looked soft in the early weeks of the season, losing to  Villanova and Buffalo in back to back weeks. Since then though they’ve come storming back beating Maryland, Tulsa, ECU, and Navy.

This one will be a close one for the Bearcats in the city of brotherly love but I think the Bearcats head home with a W. 7-0.

Next up, SMU. The Mustangs have struggled at times, like against North Texas when they lost 46-23. They went on to lose to TCU, Michigan, and UCF which isn’t a bad loss sheet (minus N Texas) They beat Navy in OT and UConn (who hasn’t) so the verdict is out on SMU although we’ll have a better idea after there game this weekend at Tulane. As it stands the Bearcats should leave Texas 8-0.

That takes us to Navy on November 3rd in Nippert. By this time the Bearcats could be in the top 15. Hopefully this is a night game, I’ll be there, you should too! The Midshipmen ran all over us last year. I mean Forest Gump level of running on us. They broke a record on us with their triple option offense. Our D is so much improved this year. Even with the record day of rushing Navy only beat us by 10 (42-32) in Annapolis. Navy has their share of bad losses this season too, losing to Air Force and Hawaii. They’ve managed to beat Memphis though. Assuming this is a night game in Historic Nippert Stadium the Bearcats should role a depleted Navy team. Dare I say 9-0 for the Bearcats.

The very next Saturday the Bearcats host the Bulls of USF. A team currently ranked in the top 25. They’re good and undefeated up to this point and the games up next up until they come to Clifton include UConn, Houston, and Tulane. There’s a strong possibility they roll into town undefeated setting up the biggest game in Nippert Stadium in 10 years. Legends will be made this day. Bearcats emerge victorious. Book it. 10-0

As a reward for beating the Bulls, the Bearcats will get to travel to Orlando, FL to take on the UCF Knights who will be undefeated and will beat us serving up the Bearcats their first loss of the season. We’re not there yet. 10-1

Finally, the Bearcats will finish their season at home against ECU. The Pirates torched us last year. It got ugly quick, which might be payback for the two nail biters the Bearcats pulled out the previous years. This season the Pirates are on about the same level as the UConn Huskies. It would take a monumental meltdown from the Bearcats to lose this one at home.  11-1.

In Fickell We Trust.

Barrels and Bearcats: We’re Still Undefeated

5-0


-The Beercat

The Cincinnati Bearcats (5-0, 1-0) took a business trip Saturday. They got the job done in a massacre of the UCONN Huskies (1-4, 0-2). The game started out reminiscent of last week’s game at Nippert against Ohio. The Huskies marched right down the field in a hardly contested drive right into the endzone to take an early 7-0 lead. The Bearcats responded though with 49 unanswered points. UCONN’s defense was as bas as promised and their offense wasn’t on par with the Bearcats.

Playmakers

After this game the playmakers have emerged on this team. When you need a big play you go to one of these guys. They’ll carry you to where you need to go.

Des Ridder: He went 20-for-26  with 270 yards passing and two touchdowns, with no interceptions. Ridder also ran for 47 yards and a touchdown. In other words. Ridder is the man. He rarely puts the ball in jeopardy and has super quick speed to get separation. My only critique so far is his need to get better at getting rid of the ball after being flushed from the pocket. I’ll live with it for now though.

Mike Warren II: The man is a truck. Against the Huskies Warren rushed for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns. He averaged a little over 8 yards per carry. He has an AAC best 10 rushing touchdowns this season. That’s also good for one of the best in the country. The UC record for a season is 17. At this rate Warren should shatter that record.

Josiah Deguara: I have to admit before the season Deguara was not even on my radar as far as offensive playmakers go but so far through 5 weeks the tight end is one of the most valuable players on that side of the ball. He’s a wellrounded TE that can block when he needs to, catch short passes in the flats or run a route and catch a pass for major yardage. We saw all of that against the Huskies. He has Ridder’s trust, look for him to continue to put up T. Kelce numbers this season.

The Defense: It’s hard to pick out just a couple of stars on this defense. Last week they got caught off guard and it looked like we’d have that again for the second week in a row after a long drive for the Huskies to start the game and resulted in a TD. But no. Not the Black Cats. They held QB Pindell in check the rest of the game. The Bearcats D ranks second in the country for points allowed at 12.2 per game, only behind Washington.

Room for Improvement 

The 2018 Bearcats are better than expected. I for one didn’t have them undefeated going into week 6. (I had them at 5-1). The Cats are just 1 of 14 teams that remain undefeated through 5 weeks. There is still room for improvement though. The Bearcats have to buck the trend of starting out slow on defense to start the game. Ohio and UCONN are one thing. USF and UCF are a whole other beast. Additionally, the Bearcats wideouts need to focus or refocus or something. Going into the season WR1 was thought to senior Kahlil Lewis in Harford though he dropped 2 touchdown passes that were uncontested. If we can clear those two things up along with Ridder being just a little better with decision making after being kicked out of the pocket the Bearcats will be just fine.

Respect

People are starting to take notice of the Bearcats. One AP voter currently has them at 21.

Up Next

In week 6 the Bearcats go for bowl eligibility against Tulane in Nippert Stadium for Homecoming. The Bearcats squeaked one out in New Orleans last year after the Green Wave missed a game winning field goal in the final seconds of the game. Similar to the win against the Huskies last year. If this past week’s game was any indication of how the Tulane game will go we’re in for an big time Homecoming game and another week of being undefeated.

 

A Toast to Nick Van Exel

A Toast to Nick Van Exel


-The Beercat

Earlier this week the University of Cincinnati inducted former basketball stand out Nick Van Exel into the UC Sports Hall of Fame. For you younger UC fans that weren’t around yet Van Exel averaged 15.2 pts and 3.6 ast during his two seasons as a Bearcat from 1991 to 1993. He left his mark at UC while  leading the Bearcats to the 1992 NCAA Final Four as a junior. As a senior he averaged 18.3 pts and 4.5 ast earning third team all-America honors and was named a finalist for the John Wooden Award for the nation’s top player. Van Exel was drafted in the second round (37th overall pick) by my LA Lakers in the 1993 NBA Draft.

Former UC and Lakers alumni Corie Blount captured some of his speech from the ceremony

Nick the Quick was a JUCO transfer out of Trinity Valley Community College in Texas a school he had to go to for poor high school grades. After 2 years in central Texas he was ready to leave. He took 32 credit hours one semester to be eligible and transfer, he would become a Bearcat.

Once he came to UC he lived in the gym over the summer until he was eligible in the fall. I’m not talking about a cliché like how much he practiced or extra hours in the gym. I’m talking about all of his belongings in a bag and literally sleeping in the gym.

He was just the type of player Coach Bob Huggins would recruit and Exel with (see what I did there?). He could ball with the best of them but needed to prove himself in the classroom and the way he carried himself. Admittedly, the later took him a while to figure out.

Van Exel played in the NBA from 93-06. He averaged 14.4 points and 6.6 assists. He did his most damage as a Laker and a Nugget. He also spent time in Dallas, Golden State, and San Antonio.

“A leader, fierce competitor, explosive athlete and the Toast of Kenosha” are just a few ways that people have described his game. He was super quick (hints the nickname), shifty, and would drive, shoot, or pass and you wouldn’t know which way to look until it was too late.  He was a bully on the court and he always got his way.

How good was he? See for yourself.

 

Congratulations Nick! It’s well deserved and long overdue ! Cheers.

Bearcats and Bobcats in an Ohio Showdown

UC & OU in Historic Nippert


On Saturday the Cincinnati Bearcats (3-0) host the Ohio Bobcats (1-1) at Historic Nippert Stadium. The Bearcats are looking to continue their hot start with an in state foe this Saturday.  UC holds the advantage in the series 24-23-4 all time. The last meeting was in 1981, a Bearcats victory.

I for one love a good in state game and this Saturday’s game is sure to deliver on that.  We know that team in the middle of the state likes to shy away from playing in state schools or if they do they put up Murray State in week 1. I’m glad to see UC schedule these games, let’s spread the love around the state to know exactly where everyone stands.

What to look for this week

The Bearcats demolished Alabama A&M in week 3 to the tune of 63-7. The Bearcats put up close to historic numbers and looked good doing it. They seek to continue that look this week. Des Ridder let the pigskin fly early and often. Look for his confidence to grow this week and get Sr. WR Kahlil Lewis involved early as well as freshmen phenom Jayshon Jackson.

In a quote about Joey Votto, Marty Brennaman once said, “That man is a horse, I suggest you ride him to the winner’s circle every chance you get!”

I believe that saying holds true for one Michael Warren, star running back at the University of Cincinnati. I don’t see him being stopped this week.

The special teams and the kicker from down under look to keep their dominating performances going Saturday as well.

Earlier this week Ohio coach Frank Solich talked about the Bearcats in his press conference

“… I think they’ve held those three opponents to eight points a game, which is a little scary. You need to put points on the board to win a game, and they don’t allow you to do that. Something has to give here. They are very physical, very strong, and they play with a lot of energy.

The Black Cats as they call themselves, the Bearcats defense, is gaining a reputation for kicking ass and taking names. They’re a hard-hitting, play making, physical bunch. A good reputation to have for a defense.

The Bobcats are kind of headed in the opposite direction as the Bearcats. They struggled against Howard and got handled by Virginia. They are coming off of a bye week which should help them out but I don’t see how they’ll have the talent or composure to pull off an upset at Historic Nippert.

The Bobcats and Bearcats kickoff at noon on Saturday on ESPNU.

Official Prediction:

Bearcats 42 Bobcats 17