Sunday, January 31, 1999

UC NOTEBOOK


Thursday-Saturday blahs strike again

BY TOM GROESCHEN
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        This makes two straight weeks where UC has had a big Thursday night win and a lethargic Saturday follow-up victory, a trend which does not necessarily disturb UC coach Bob Huggins.

        UC struggled to beat UAB Saturday, after the emotional win over Xavier on Thursday night. Last week, it was a big Thursday win over Louisville and then the Saturday blahs vs. Saint Louis.

        Huggins noted that UC might have to play the Thursday-Saturday swing in the NCAA Tournament, but said there is a big difference between the regular season and postseason where that's concerned.

        “In the NCAAs, you're not having to get up and go to class on Friday and then try to play again on Saturday,” Huggins said.

        Still, UC's Melvin Levett said UC must shake its up-down syndrome.

        “We've got to get better at playing games close together like this,” he said.

Another vote
        Add UAB coach Murry Bartow to the bandwagon of opposing coaches who laud the superior talent of the No. 5 Bearcats.

        Bartow has coached against all of UC's great Huggins teams. This is his third season as UAB head coach, after spending seven years as an assistant to his father, Gene.

        “It's a typical Cincinnati team but maybe the deepest, best team that I've seen him have in quite some time, if not ever,” Bartow said. “They're awfully good.”

Fast start
        UC's 20-1 record is the program's earliest 20th victory ever, next to Feb. 17, 1993 when the Bearcats reached that milestone.

        Also:

        • The 20-1 mark is UC's best start since the 1962-63 team began 26-1.

        • UC joined Duke as the second Division I team to win 20 games this season.

Home is sweet
        UC now has a 29-game home win streak, fifth longest in Division I right now. The Bearcats last lost at home on Nov. 21, 1997 to Arizona State in the preseason NIT.

Fletch lives
        UC junior Ryan Fletcher has made the most of his reserve role, which he assumed five games ago. Fletcher had 12 points Saturday, and is now averaging 11 per game as a reserve. As a starter, he averaged just under four points per game.

Up next
        The Bearcats play host to Tulane (9-9, 3-6 C-USA after losing Saturday to DePaul 87-79) on Wednesday at 8:05 p.m. It is the lone home game for which tickets still remain.

UC looks for more from Martin Tim Sullivan column
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