Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Who'll win tonight?

Normally, I'll have a pretty good opinion on who'll win any given athletic encounter. It might not always be the correct opinion (more often than not, it isn't), but it'll be a reasonably informed opinion, anyway.

For instance, I think the Giants might pull off the big upset and beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Or at least beat the 12 1/2-point spread.

But I must admit I have virtually no idea who'll win tonight's UConn-Cincinnati game at Fifth Third Arena. After covering the Huskies for the past three months, I still can't say I have my finger on the pulse of this team. Who does? Not even coach Jim Calhoun, who shrugged, "I guess this is what they're going to do to me. Go figure," after UConn romped over 13th-ranked Marquette two days after a disturbing loss at home to Providence.

Cincinnati is equally flabbergasting, though at least there's one strong positive in their favor -- the Bearcats are 3-0 at home in conference play, with wins over two Top 25 teams (Villanova and Pittsburgh) and Syracuse. But the Bearcats have also lost to St. John's (granted, on the road) -- the same St. John's team that the Huskies ran roughshod over a couple of weeks ago.

UConn has played well on the road this year, with wins over Seton Hall and Central Florida and near-wins over No. 7 Georgetown and a good Notre Dame team. Even on neutral courts, the Huskies have given a good battle to No. 1 Memphis and very nearly beat Gonzaga.

I'm not convinced Cincy is as good as its 4-2 Big East record (it's also beaten Louisville on the road). The Bearcats have a terrific player in guard Deonta Vaughn (16.7 ppg) and a bunch of tough, physical, veteran players who can win ugly.

So who'll win tonight? Tough one. Can't even use the Diane Chambers logic ("A Bear could easily beat a Dolphin") because, well, what exactly is a Bearcat, anyway, and how would it fare against a Husky?

I could take the easy way out and say that the team with the initials "UC" will win. Instead, I'll narrow it down: UConn wins tonight. The Huskies maintain their momentum from the marquee Marquette win, Jerome Dyson and Stanley Robinson break out of their respective slumps and, despite a big night from Vaughn, Cincy's frontcourt is neutralized by Hasheem Thabeet.

So there's my opinon. Like I said, it may not always be the correct opinon ...

** Most of the writers out here are staying after tonight's game and either driving or flying to Bloomington, Ind. for Saturday's UConn-Indiana game. You'd think the Huskies would stay out here, too, and they probably would have -- if the game was on Thursday. Or if classes weren't back in session.

But, since classes began on Tuesday, UConn will charter back home following tonight's game so players can take classes on Thursday. Then they'll fly back out to Indiana on Friday.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home