Editor’s note: I received this in my in box from Scott this morning with a note that read, “I grew up in Cincinnati and was really tired of hearing all the trash talk this week. So I got some stuff off my chest. If you don’t want to post it let me know.”
Who am I to stand in the way of a good rant.
Dear Bearcat fans,
Did that game feel like a Yancy Gates blindside sucker punch to the face?
All week the Cincinnati Napoleon Complex was out in full force. Lots of trash talk, a number of your adorable Buckeye State shirts where the cute little paw print is over the uc in Buckeye, and, basically, the whole nine yards.
Maybe we aren’t afraid to play you like you think. Maybe we just don’t want to waste our time. It was very clear who the best team on the court was Thursday night. And it wasn’t the one that was obnoxiously dragging out the inevitable in the final three minutes with a ridiculous display of unnecessary fouls.
Yes, you won a couple of big games in the 1960s, and I tip my cap. But this so called “rivalry” now is as much a rivalry as the mouse-trap is rivals with the mouse. Ohio State is superior in academics, reputation, and – in case you missed the fifteen point beat down or anytime we ever play in football (which is more often than you care to admit) – athletics.
I admit that historically your basketball program is right there with ours (and even has one more championship). Of course, if we are talking history, the gap between us in football is so big that the Grand Canyon has an inferiority complex (a complex you may or may not be familiar with). But, at least right now, we have actual rivals to worry about that are somewhat comparable on the fields of play (M*ch*g@n, Penn State, Wisconsin, etc.), so please stop running your mouths.
Even Urban Meyer, who received his undergraduate degree from Cincinnati, gets it. Was his dream job to roam the sidelines of the high-school sized Nippert Stadium at his alma-mater? Of course not. His dream job just happened to be about 100 miles north on 1-71. That must sting a little.
Oh…and as for the game
As for the game on Thursday night, the Bearcats stepped up to the big boy table and were denied. Fittingly so, since a team that lost at home to Presbyterian and Marshall (and to Xavier by 23 points – just wanted to remind you) really doesn’t belong anywhere near the elite eight.
The Buckeyes, led by Jared Sullinger’s 23 points and eleven rebounds, along with Deshaun Thomas’ 26 points, soundly handled the Bearcats 81-66. Thomas put on a show in the first half with his shooting, but it was the second half defense that carried Ohio State to the ultimate victory.
Cincinnati, trailing by twelve at the half, came out of the locker room on fire and even grabbed the lead for a brief time. But the Scarlet and Gray defense, especially that of Aaron Craft (who swiped six steals), buckled down and buried any threat of an upset.
While I am certainly concerned with the way Thad Matta’s bunch came out of the locker room, I am equally – if not more so – impressed by the way the Bucks responded to being punched in the mouth. There may be better players across the country, but I wouldn’t trade Craft’s leadership and defensive prowess for any of them. His effort and enthusiasm has clearly spread to others.
The Buckeyes now have only one game remaining between themselves and the final four in New Orleans. Craft and company will take on Syracuse Saturday evening, and hopefully bring the same intensity as we saw in the final ten minutes Thursday.
As for Cincinnati, enjoy the view of the rest of the tournament from our shadow. It’s always going to be there.