USA TODAY Sports
Despite the NSD buzz, there is a big basketball game tonight in Providence
Buried under all the news about National Signing Day for football is the fact that the basketball Bearcats take to the hardwood tonight in Rhode Island to battle the Providence Friars. Don't judge this team by their record (11-11, 3-7). They are dangerous as they showed by sweeping Villanova. Yes, they went into Villanova Sunday and completed the season sweep of the Wildcats so they are capable of knocking off anyone who takes them lightly.
If UC cannot stop the dynamic duo of Vincent Council and Bryce Cotton, it will be a long night and somber trip back to Cincinnati. Look for this game to be higher scoring than a typical UC game as the Friars can score, but they play awful defense.
Things to watch for: UC getting out of the gate faster than normal. It hasn't killed them in the past, but if the Friars jump on the Bearcats it could be rough to catch up. Justin Jackson needs to continue to "bring it" with his energy and effort. Both have been (as Mick would say) "off the charts" lately. Providence plays terrible defense, so the Bearcats might be able to work the zone and get some point-blank shots. Will UC be patient with the zone and work it or will they chuck from the cheap seats as they are prone to at times?
Don't make the mistake of chalking this one up in the "W" column just yet. This is going to be much more difficult than you think. I, for one, am more scared of this one than I was Saturday at Seton Hall. It could also be a trap game as the team looks forward to its showdown with Pitt on Saturday night back at Fifth Third Arena.
If you want, use this post as an in-game thread. I'll hopefully be back to check in from time to time. Hopefully we can have some positive things to discuss as the game progresses. Go Bearcats!!