Downtown Cincinnati had a dreary feel to it by the time the sun set over the Ohio River on Saturday night. So much so, that I heard several fans at the football game jokingly ask when basketball season was supposed to start.
They obviously didn't attend the "Basketball at the Banks" tip-off event held earlier that day where the University of Cincinnati laid down an impressive court literally in the middle of the street. Sandwiched between restaurants, bars, and sidewalks, the men's and women's basketball teams huddled to stay warm as former Bearcat and current analyst, Terry Nelson, introduced each member of both programs.
No real practicing or scrimmaging took place on the chilly outdoor court, but fans gathered to watch former Bearcat players - dubbed the "Legends" - participate in a series of fan-related shootouts and competitions. Oh - and head coach Mick Cronin addressed the crowd:
"Who knows where the Final Four's at this year?"
Cronin hypes the crowd while simultaneously playing the disrespect card - something he's done with his actual players extremely well in the past. He goes on:
"Despite what you read and hear on ESPN, you can believe in this team."
Don't get me wrong, he's obviously in full sales mode as he's the head coach and season tickets have to be sold. But there's something about his address that makes me believe. Maybe I'm struggling to cling to something - anything - after Saturday's football performance.
But as I told the guys sitting behind me at the football game - it's almost basketball time in Cincinnati.