College Basketball, Previewing Miami (OH) and Missouri State

It’s that wonderful time of year when college basketball begins. I’ve taken a look at the area teams (and one not in the area) and will give you what you should watch for this year with each one. This post looks at the Redhawks of Miami (Ohio, in case you were wondering) and the out-of-town team, Missouri State. That’s the American dream, right? Someone who tells you what to think about?

Miami Redhawks (16-18, 8-10 MAC), Head Coach – Jack Owens

The good news for Miami is that they return their leading scorer from a year ago. Nike Sibande averaged just over 15 points a game taking a little over 12 shots a game. The next closest shooter took five-less shots, per game. So the offense will probably run through him again this season. Defensively is where the question comes in. The Redhawks lost their leaders in steals and blocks, in Darrian Ringo and Logan McLane, as Sibande was the only other Miami player to average at least a steal a game. Miami could employ an interesting zone, as their frontcourt will likely be out-sized this year, with no one taller than 6’ 9”. Owen’s second year at the helm of the Redhawks will see some new challenges with a younger team.

Predicting the team MVP – Dalonte Brown. Sibande will lead the team in scoring, but Brown will be second in scoring and first in everything else. In 21 minutes per contest, last season, Brown led the team in rebounds as he was the only Redhawk to pull down at least four defensive rebounds a game.

Best game to watch – Miami plays every team in the tri-state, except Dayton and Cincinnati. Their most intriguing game, from my perspective, will be against Xavier on November 28th. Miami will have gone through the gauntlet of the Bahamas Showcase and may put their development in a hyperbaric chamber, because of it.

Predicting what we will be looking back on, next April – This may be bold, or maybe not, but Miami will win the MAC. They have their scorer (Sibande) and their do-everything guy (Brown) and will have a stellar year two under Owens.

Missouri State Bears (18-15, 7-11 Missouri Valley), Head Coach – Dana Ford

One of these is not like the others, oh, and it’s this one! What is a Missouri team doing in a college basketball blog post about Cincinnati sports, you ask? Well, it’s my blog and I can post about who I want to. Also, one of my favorite coaches, a guy I got to know a tiny little bit while I interned at Tennessee State, was hired as Missouri State’s head coach, back in March. Dana Ford is an awesome coach and human being. As well as growing young basketball players into young men, Ford also helped found the Rebound Foundation. The Rebound’s goal is to end domestic violence. So yeah, he’s a cool dude.

Starting out at Missouri State is going to feel a little like Ford started at Tennessee State. Just three players who accumulated some sort of statistics return from last year’s team. There’s the Bears third-leading scorer in Jarred Dixon, the team-lead in blocks Obediah Church, and a kid who played in 13 games in Ross Owens. The rest of the roster is made up of transfers, a redshirt-freshman, and the Wojcik twins (who are freshmen). This team will be an interesting story and follow, outside of seeing Coach Ford rebuild another school, in that they have zero identity. It will all be on Coach Ford to instill his mentality of physical defense and rebounding in the most major mid-major conference in the country. Oh, and they have a transfer on their team by the name of Jared Ridder, who transferred from Xavier. Just a little nugget for the Xavier fans out there.

Predicting the team MVP – Jarred Dixon. If the scrimmage with Evangel is any indication, he is Coach Ford’s Jay Harris. Harris was the holdover at TSU whenever Ford began there that Ford leaned on to make baskets and drive the offense. Dixon shot 6-of-7 from the field for 15 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. He played 30 minutes in the exhibition, the only player to go over 25. He will be the guy for the Bears.

Best game to watch – January 23, 2019, they host Sister Mary-Margaret and Loyolla-Chicago.

Predicting what we will be looking back on, next April – Coach Ford leads the youngsters and the brand new Bears to a 9-9 MVC record.

Check out more area college basketball previews:

The Gem City Previews

The Blue Grass Previews

The Queen City Previews

Follow @jefffcarr and @sportsinnati on Twitter


Monday Musings

It’s Monday morning (at time of writing) and my mind is in a bit of an entanglement.

Firstly, AJ Green is hurt. The report says “some games” which is about as vague as the chances I give the Bengals of beating the Saints, without him. Apparently, he hurt it in the last game before the bye, whenever he got up grabbing at his toe. Some reports say that, after the game, AJ mentioned stubbing it and he’ll be fine. Then he was seen at PBS in a walking boot. Now they’re saying multiple games will be missed. It doesn’t take much to connect the dots and see that Tyler Boyd will be Andy Dalton’s number one target for the Saints game, the Ravens game, and maybe beyond that. In a league where the slimmest of margins separate wildcard teams from teams who finish 7-9, losing AJ really blurs that line for Cincinnati.

The Reds are being linked to a number of different free agents, and it’s got me excited. Sure, I looked at season tickets and realized peons like me aren’t meant to afford that regality (plus, different ticket apps make it cheaper and easier to go to the games I want, anyway) and the Opening Day tickets available on websites start at $150, right now, as the “market” preys on overenthusiastic instant-gratification junkies. That being said, I’m all in on Redsfest coming at the end of November and will probably type up a few words on it, too. I’d love to meet Dallas Keuchel, or Patrick Corbin, or even Nathan Eovaldi, but we’ll see. The powers that be for the oldest professional base-ball franchise have said they’ll break the bank. But whether it’s a bigger crack in the piggy bank or a full blown shattered oinker, remains to be seen.

I plan on writing more about this next thought, so I’ll be brief, but college basketball is back, baby, and this fool just got cable. Hope my wife is ready to hear lots squeaking sneakers and swishing nets!

UC football is back ranked in the Top-25 with a pair of games against good Florida football teams (USF and UCF). That being said, they get the lesser of two Florida’s at home, this Saturday, in a game I think they have a much better shot at winning than I did in August. Then comes the monster that is UCF. 21-straight wins (maybe 22 by next week) will face off against the Luke Fickell reclamation project. Coach Fick has built the Cats into bonafide football players in just a year and a half, and may be the next name to be plucked from Clifton to a big time job. Nobody, including me, saw the success he’s had this year as possible, and yet here we are. We could be talking about a 10-win Bearcats football side, come December, and that is magnificent.

I’m still on about Bohemian Rhapsody. What a film. Been listening to Queen all weekend.

Also, playing Red Dead 2 any chance I get. It’s so simple and yet so fantastic. Much like many a good Western flick. One of the latest “missions,” or maybe stories is a better term for them, that I completed was one where your character gets drunk, but has to keep his other drunk friend out of trouble, and then run from Johnny-Law. Rockstar just knows how to make an entertaining video game.

Right, well, back to Monday, I suppose.

Bohemian Rhapsody Rocks

Freddie Mercury is the Freddie Mercury-est Freddie Mercury who ever Freddie Mercury-ed. That being said, Rami Malek did one heck of a job emulating Freddie Mercury.

Let me preface this post about a movie by saying that I do not care about the little details. I am not one who looks for this or that. I go to movies to get away. If a movie can get me to suspend disbelief, bingo, it’s done is job. I go for the feel of it. Did the movie provoke me to feel a certain way.

Bohemian Rhapsody was all over that. It did an awesome job of showing how Queen developed, how Freddie Mercury came up with this idea for that song, or that idea for this song. It talked about his background, but not in a boring, ho-hum way. It really made you feel as though you saw Freddie Mercury. As someone who loves Queen, but was two years old when Freddie Mercury died, this was a glimpse of something brilliant. Also, how they reacted when they first recorded the song that gave the movie its name is pretty much what I imagined.

It also made me think of how much Queen means to sports. Who, when attending a sporting event and the home team is either leading, or getting ready to take the lead, doesn’t get crazy excited when “We Will Rock You” blares through the speakers? At least every other time a Reds pitcher strikes out an opposing batter, I think “Another One Bites the Dust.” And the Lord knows, I cannot wait for the day that I get to scream “We are the Champions” for either the Reds, Bengals, or Bearcats. Queen has interwoven itself into the fabric of sports and sports fans.

Rami Malek, though, was Freddie Mercury. For a little over two hours, Rami provided a performance that made you feel like you knew Freddie Mercury. You saw his rise from a baggage handler at Heathrow Airport to, possibly, the best performer of all time. All the while, you never got a sense that it was being over-played. Like Malek was trying too hard. He had exactly the right look, exactly the right movements, and exactly the right voice to project one of the greatest musicians that ever lived.

I spent $15 on a ticket to see the movie at the Rave-Cinemark in XD. Don’t even care. Movie ticket prices, blah blah blah, it’s worth it if you love the music of, I’ll just say it, the best dang band there ever was, Queen.