On Cincinnati Sports as of Now

The Cincinnati sports scene has been a hodge-podge of ups and downs. The past 20 years have primarily been a downer for our two main professional teams: the Bengals and the Reds. So the fact that the Reds finished strong and the Bengals are off to a good start does help. On the other hand, our memories aren’t short – so many fans are skeptics.

UC Bearcat football is currently on a roll and has captured the hearts of many in the city. Although Ohio State fans exist, Cincinnati is not a Buckeye hotbed. Although the Bearcats are currently getting high accolades, Coach Brian Kelly admits that the Buckeyes are want his team strives to be – and adds that UC is not there yet.

Fans in this area love college basketball. Sure UC and Xavier lead the way, but UK Wildcats are just down the road to they get their share of coverage – but since I hope they lose every game, I’ve already given them too much space here.

UC basketball during the Huggins era was great; then suddenly, it was gone. The team was essentially dismantled and the struggles ever since are well known. On the plus side, they seem to be turning the corner so fans are starting to get some positive vibes.

Meanwhile, a mere 3 miles away on the Xavier campus, Musketeer basketball has been unbelievably successful through various coaching changes. They are simply a hallmark of consistency and another good season is expected this year. Although hardcore UC and XU fans don’t root for the other, many fans have a have a preference, yet pull for the other in all games but one.

Bottom line – it’s all about being in the wait-and-see mode. After all, by the end of November we’ll feel totally different.

On Basketball Tournament Time

Many conferences have their conference tournaments this weekend with the winner getting the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament – the Road to the Final Four. Of course we fans we eagerly anticipate Sunday’s tournament selection show, which means picking those brackets will dominate a lot of time. Meanwhile, here are some random thoughts.

I’m not a big fan of the conference tournaments, but like much of college sports, it’s all about the revenue.

There are currently 347 D1 college basketball teams, yet only 65 (18.7%) will move on. Personally, I think the number of teams should be expanded.

While I’m on opinions, and I know this would create havoc for the bracket polls, instead of set brackets I prefer matching top seeds and lower seeds in every round.

My undergraduate degree is from Bowling Green, a team that hasn’t been to the tournament is 1968. Of the teams that have been D1 since 1968, only 13 other schools have as long (or longer) dry spells than my beloved Falcons. Thanks to the Falcon Blog for this information.

  • Columbia: Last appeared in 1968
  • Tennessee Tech: Last appeared in 1963
  • Yale: Last appeared in 1962
  • Maine: D1 since 1962
  • New Hampshire: D1 since 1962
  • Centenary (La.): D1 since 1960
  • Dartmouth: Last appeared in 1959
  • Harvard: Last appeared in 1946
  • Army: D1 since 1948
  • Citadel: D1 since 1948
  • Northwestern: D1 since 1948
  • St. Francis (N.Y.): D1 since 1948
  • William & Mary: D1 since 1948

BGSU, the top seed in this year’s MAC tournament, lost last night in the conference semi-finals. Oh well – the streak continues. They probably get an NIT bid and play on the road at one of the power-conference schools.

My Cincinnati Bearcats are a mere shell of what once was. Although they laid a large egg down the stretch, they aren’t ready for the dance anyway. I’ll keep my eye in hometown rival Xavier, but they must play better to be a factor.

I lived the UCLA dynasty of the 1960s-70s, and I don’t think I’ll ever see that kind of domination ever again.

Who do I think will win this year? I don’t know as UC’s fall is one reason I don’t know as much about the teams as in the past. North Carolina and Duke seem to be the leading contenders, but this has been a topsy-turvy year. Meanwhile, I’ll watch and hope for a Cinderella.