Having not missed a senior day celebration in ten years, this season brings about a weird feeling for the rabid fan in me. Not because I won't be there - I'll most assuredly be in our seats come 11:30am on Sunday morning - but because this is the first year in as many that I can remember where I don't have an overwhelming attachment to the outgoing senior class.
- Game: Sunday, March 8 @ 12:00pm ET
- Location: Fifth Third Arena; Cincinnati, OH
- TV/Radio: CBS, 700 WLW
Jermaine Sanders has been a key cog in Cronin's rebuild. But, maybe it's his personality or his lack of contribution this year, but he doesn't have the same cache that previous seniors have had. Four and a half points on 25% 3-point shooting isn't much to write home about - and it's quite the drop off from last season's output.
The smooth, left-handed jump shooter has made the NCAA tournament all four years he's been in Clifton. And he's come up with big buckets against the likes of SMU, Temple, and SDSU. Plus, he's stayed out of trouble all four years in a Bearcat uniform. So it's not like there's nothing to celebrate.
The other reason this year's senior day has less of a build-up is because we don't get to say goodbye to Ge'Lawn Guyn. After the guard was granted his release a couple weeks ago, it appears he won't be making an appearance during Sunday's festivities. And, honestly, that kind of stinks.
You could make a lot of the same underwhelming contribution arguments for Guyn, but he was a hard-nosed kid that stayed out of trouble. I feel bad that he won't be able to receive a standing ovation from the Fifth Third faithful.
Then again, they'll likely only be a thousand or so fans in the stands for the Senior Day accolades, so maybe it saves everyone the embarrassment.
On to the game...
The Memphis Tigers come into town being locked into the 5 seed in the American conference tournament. If the Bearcats win, they'll jump into the 3 seed and play the winner of UConn/USF. A loss on Sunday and the Bearcats grab the 4 seed and play Memphis. Again. For the third time this year.
The Tigers have lost two of their last three - although those two losses were to the #1 and #2 teams in the AAC. Their victory? Over UConn in Hartford. Overall, they're playing fairly well - and, well, we know what they did to UC in Memphis earlier this season (a 13 point drubbing).
Oh - and it's a ring of red game, so make sure you wear red if you're heading to the game.
What the 'Cats have to do to win:
- Get easy buckets. Memphis has a respectable defense. Whether it's feeding the paint or turning steals into layups, the Bearcats need to capitalize on baskets near the rim.
- Keep Ellis out of foul trouble. He's playing his hometown team, and opponents have keyed in on his hot-headedness. Let's hope Octavius Ellis keeps his emotions in check and doesn't grab an unnecessary technical foul.
This should be a fun one. The only concern is whether or not the NCAA Tournament clinching road win at Tulsa lends itself to an easy letdown just a few days later. But because Memphis has already beaten UC once this year - and because it's senior day - you'll see a hungry Cincinnati squad. Bearcats win 61-55.