PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - The University of Cincinnati Bearcats took the Wells Fargo Center floor at 12:45 p.m. Thursday, a day before they'll make their 27th overall NCAA tournament appearance. It will be their first in this arena.
The ‘Cats spoke to hoards of media types before the practice.
UC coach Mick Cronin came out and quickly said hello to old acquaintances, Reggie Miller and Len Elmore, before starting their 40-minute session.
Players have spoken throughout the week about how Cronin wants them to have fun and enjoy this moment, but when they hit the floor Thursday it was all business during the highly intense workout in front of a few hundred fans.
I'm not sure what Wednesday's closed-door practice at Temple University was like but the Bearcats were serious Thursday. And I do mean serious.
Mick and his coaching staff treated practice like it was Nov. 21, not the first day of spring.
The team was very loud and communicated well the entire session, and not one player left without having built up a nice sweat.
Cincinnati has lived and died by the three-headed monster of JaQuon Parker, Cashmere Wright and Sean Kilpatrick all season so Friday's 2:45 p.m. tipoff with Creighton should be no different.
When Wright was asked if the team goes as he goes, he replied, "I feel like as the team goes, we go. There's no one person on this team that will make us win or lose. It's a team game and everybody gotta do their thing."
UC has probably never faced a team all season that shoots the ball as well as the Creighton Bluejays, which will make for an interesting matchup for the Bearcats, one of the top defensive teams in the country.
We only got to speak to Mick for a couple minutes but he made it clear the team had a few game-time decisions left to make.
"Open shooters are a problem. Whether it's Doug McDermott or any of their other shooters," Cronin said. "This is a game where the 3-point shot is going to be important on both sides. It could be a game where somebody makes double-digit 3's and that will be the winning team."
Cincinnati has to defend the 3-point line and hope that a couple of their veteran guards have solid performances from that same line if they hope to advance in the tournament.
The winner will take on the winner of the Duke-Albany game on Sunday.