Sadly, the tease of "Saturday morning" was not a typo. For some strange reason, the Bearcats take on the Seton Hall Pirates (13-8, 2-6) Saturday at 11:00 A.M. at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Also just as sadly, this isn't an anomaly on the schedule, it's a bad trend and no one seems to know where or why it started.
Anyway, whether they're playing at 11:00 A.M. or 11:00 P.M., the Bearcats are going to have a typical Big East battle on their hands, especially if they continue to limp out of the gate as they have repeatedly this season. Despite the fact the Pirates have lost six of their last seven conference games, they are going to be increasingly motivated to knock off the Bearcats. No team is more dangerous than when they are at rock bottom as the Pirates currently are. You can bet you won't see the same team that got knocked around the gym Wednesday at Georgetown in losing 74-52.
The problem with Seton Hall is they're just not very talented. And that lack of talent has shown on the court especially of late. The two conference wins are over DePaul and South Florida. Wins are wins, but it's not exactly murderer's row. The six losses have been by an average of 13.2 points, so it's not like they have just been unlucky. They're just not very good. You can bet, however, that won't be in any part of Mick Cronin's pregame speech Saturday morning.
All you need to do is look back 48 hours and see Providence and DePaul took Connecticut and St. John's to overtime in hotly contested games. It's typical Big East. Prepare for a war and if you come out slow, your defense better have made the trip. Luckily for UC, the defense has been consistent.
The Pirates have three players averaging double-figures: Aaron Cosby, Gene Teague, and the ever-dangerous Fuquan Edwin. Luckily for you, that's about all of the "scouting report" you'll get from me. I've done it before, and quite frankly it's boring and not many people read it.
However, I will talk about the Bearcats (hooray!!). The straw that stirs the drink like we saw Wednesday night is Justin Jackson. Hopefully whatever funk he was in is long gone and the Bearcats will see the "old" Justin from here forward. I'm sure it would be a welcome sight at 11:00 tomorrow morning. Also, it will be interesting to see how much Kelvin Gaines gets on the floor following his good week of practice. Mick rewarded him Wednesday. We'll see if that increases Saturday.
Something else to watch for is, as always, the return of Sean Kilpatrick, Jermaine Sanders, and Shaq Thomas to the area they came from. Will it motivate them? Or will they be pressing? Obviously we all hope for motivation versus playing tight. It would be awesome to see either Sanders or Thomas grab a hold of the chance and run with it. Neither has played very much of late. In fact, since starting the Marquette game and hitting his first two three-point attempts, Jermaine Sanders has gone into shutdown mode once again. Hopefully Saturday is the start of something consistent from him.
That's all I have for right now. As always, I appreciate any and all comments. Please keep them coming and spread the word that Down The Drive is back up and running. Thanks in advance, and GO BEARCATS!!