Second Thoughts: Let the hype begin for UD-VCU heavyweight bout

Dayton's Xeyrius Williams, Charles Cooke and Kendall Pollard share a laugh during a game against Virginia Commonwealth on Jan. 27, 2017, at the Siegel Center in Richmond, Va.
Dayton's Xeyrius Williams, Charles Cooke and Kendall Pollard share a laugh during a game against Virginia Commonwealth on Jan. 27, 2017, at the Siegel Center in Richmond, Va.

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

The Reds provided a preview of the 2017 season in their exhibition opener Friday, blowing a late 4-2 lead and losing to the Giants on a walk-off home run in Scottsdale. The good news: Most of Cincinnati’s regulars stayed behind in Goodyear. I think that’s good news.

UD and VCU. The cream of the Atlantic 10 crop (not a bumper one this season) square off Wednesday night at UD Arena. This is huge; it's OK to get excited. I checked ticket prices on Stub Hub and there isn't much available. The best seats on the website are in Section 203, near the pep band. Asking price is $299 each. Wonder if that includes Tylenol.

The Flyers veterans will be especially pumped and the crowd no doubt will be festive on Senior Night. The ovations for Scoochie Smith, Kendall Pollard, Kyle Davis and Charles Cooke will be heartfelt and LOWD. I predict Pollard will be so amped that he’ll roar down the court shortly after tipoff and plow over Mo Alie-Cox and get called for a charging foul.

Pollard and his pals will settle down and earn a clutch victory that could keep the Flyers off the 8-9 line on Selection Sunday. Not the place to be because a No. 1 seed will be waiting in the second round.

I watched only a few minutes of the NBA All-Star Game, which proved to be a great decision. The game is a bigger joke every year. When both teams are flirting with the 200-point mark it's a sure sign the "game" is nothing more than a shootaround/dunk contest (without judges).

I read that the crowd chanted “defense” at one point in the fourth quarter. That is hilarious. There apparently is a limit to the number of dunks a human can watch in a three-hour span.

The Academy Awards are tonight and Hollywood will pat itself on the back. I think I'll skip that and celebrate the movies by watching The Outlaw Josey Wales. Clint Eastwood's back-and-forth with Ten Bears should've been enough to win some kind of Oscar.

This is a sports column, so perhaps we should stick with that genre. I suggest Slap Shot. Or because baseball is around the corner, Eight Men Out or Bull Durham. Still basketball season, you say? The obvious choice is Hoosiers, but two sleepers that celebrate underdogs are The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh and Semi-Pro.

Ohio State recorded its best win of a dreary season Thursday, knocking out slumping Wisconsin 83-73 at Value City Arena. Official attendance was 11,505. Capacity is 19,500, meaning 59 percent of the seats were filled. It's safe to say many Buckeyes fans have given up on Thad Matta's crew. No doubt a poetry reading by Urban Meyer would draw a bigger crowd.

Trending up: Bearcats, Jaaron Simmons, Magic Johnson. Cincinnati is 25-3, 14-1 in the American Athletic Conference. The Bearcats have won 25 straight home games. Mick Cronin has done a tremendous job building a national contender outside the Power 5. It can be done in college basketball. More momentum: Fifth Third Arena is undergoing an $87 million renovation.

Trending down: Hugh Freeze, LaVar Ball, Mitch Kupchak. The Ole Miss football program has been slapped with 21 NCAA violations. You'd have to be clueless to believe that a ton of college football players don't receive cash envelopes now and then, but the folks at Ole Miss might have taken it to a new level. This will end up costing Freeze his job and the university millions of dollars.

Knucklehead of the Week

No way Shawn Stefani ever gets past the gate at Augusta National, even if he qualifies for the Masters. Stefani’s antics Friday at the Honda Classic did make him a household name in a lagging sport. He’ll probably be on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Stefani hit his golf ball into shallow water on the sixth hole. He decided to wade in and hack away. Before he did, he stripped down to his Calvin Klein briefs. Dude, just take off your socks and roll up your pants. Some people simply do not belong. Hey, maybe I’ll go with Caddyshack tonight!

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