-The pre-game handshake at midcourt was a nice gesture. Last years brawl was obviously a big story coming into this game, and having that show of sportsmanship before the game was a nice way to start.
-Cincinnati clearly had the athletic advantage. That was evident from the get-go. UC's pressure defense was something to be fawned over.
-Sean Kilpatrick is not afraid to shoot. After struggling from the field the last few games, Kilpatrick came out gunning from the beginning. He has a short memory, which is usually a good thing for your best player.
-Turnovers were a big story at the beginning of the game. Both teams were sloppy with the ball and needed to make crisper passes.
-Cashmere Wright needed the drive the ball against Brad Redford. He was clearly the quicker player but he was settling for step back jumpers far too often early on.
-The Bearcats could not finish around the rim to save their lives. Two times in the first half they had multiple offensive rebound and put back attempts and could not finish. Easy baskets like that have to be converted, especially in a game as intense as this one.
-UC was settling for far too many deep twos and threes in the first half. Considering they weren't going in, I would've liked to see them attack the basket and get to the line more often.
-It was a truly awful offensive first half, with both teams shooting the ball poorly, especially Cincinnati, who made a living missing three-pointers.
-Frankly, UC was lucky to be down only two. They couldn't hit a shot to save their life and were far too reckless with the ball. However, their rebounding numbers were impressive and played some great defense of their own to keep the score within reach.
-Xavier had a tough time figuring out UC's pressure defense. They were forcing the guards into the corners, trying to trap the ball handlers and forcing turnovers. Xavier's ball handlers had trouble with the pressure and were not adjusting.
-The Bearcats came out of the half attacking the basket. It took 20 minutes of playing, but they finally realized settling for long jumpers were not paying off. The new found aggressiveness led to a quick start in the second half.
-Cincinnati's backcourt press was a killer all game. Their athletes overwhelmed Xavier's smaller guards and the Musketeer's struggled to break the constant pressure. Great game planning by Mick Cronin.
-That put back dunk by Titus Rubles tells you everything you need to know about the swingman. He's an athletic freak and needs to attack the basket whenever possible. His jump shot still needs some work, but the potential is there to make an impact off the bench.
-While it came in a losing effort, Xavier's Dee Davis deserves some props his play tonight. He was clearly nursing some sort of hamstring injury, but he continued to stay on the court and play through the pain. He's a tough kid.
-Kilpatrick absolutely took over the game in the second half. While still settling for too many jumpers, he was able to use his strength to muscle to the basket more often, getting a few layups and, more importantly, getting to the line more frequently.
-Titus Rubles shot selection continues to baffle me. He took a myriad of bad threes and deep jumpers that he just doesn't have in his arsenal. He's a terrific athlete, but he needs to fall out of love with the jump shot and attack the basket.
-This game was fantastic for the rivalry. The brawl really cast a dark cloud over this game, and to have a performance like this, one seen on national television, with both teams leaving everything they had on the floor, was just what this rivalry needed. It was a shot in the arm for the crosstown shootout.