Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Since the now infamous Cincinnati-Xavier brawl of Dec. 10, the two programs have been headed in opposite directions.
Despite playing without Yancy Gates, Octavius Ellis and Cheikh Mbodj, the Bearcats are a perfect 4-0 since the brawl and are averaging nearly 94 points per game. In two of those wins, they topped the century mark.
Cincinnati is actually playing better without the 6-foot-9 Gates and the 6-10 Mbodj.
Sophomore wing Sean Kilpatrick of White Plains, N.Y., whose smack-talking about Xavier guard Tu Holloway helped stir up bad feelings before the brawl, is averaging 17.3 points in the four games since the fight, and has two 20+ outings in that span.
It will be interesting to see how the Bearcats (9-3) — notorious for their soft non-conference schedule — respond when Gates and Mbodj do come back Jan. 4 against Notre Dame.
First the Bearcats have Oklahoma Thursday before opening Big East play on New Year’s Day at Pitt.
Xavier, meantime, lost its first three games after the brawl before beating Southern Illinois, 87-77, on Christmas for its first post-fight win.
Holloway went for his second straight 20+-point outing in the game (26 in a loss to Hawaii and 21 vs. Southern Illinois) and Monmouth transfer Travis Taylor scored a career-high 13.
Even though Holloway, the team’s star, only missed one game because of the fight and junior Mark Lyons two, the Musketeers have still struggled.
They host Gonzaga on New Year’s Eve Day before opening A-10 play at La Salle Jan. 4.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.