While the depth will serve them well in the long Big East grind, it is a cause for concern that it was needed against two non-descript opponents. Cincinnati is a talented team--Cashmere Wright and Dixon make up a quality backcourt. Gates must become more consistent, as he can be one of the top players in the conference. Thomas can be a threat down low, not only scoring and rebounding, but disrupting an offense. If you get all these pieces working in rhythm, then add bench contributions from Kilpatrick, Davis and Wilks, and you have the elements for a team that can win a Big East championship. That's a lofty goal, and after tonight we'll find out quickly if Cincinnati can deliver. The next five games include road trips to Villanova, Syracuse, Notre Dame and surprising St. John's. Cincinnati not only has the talent, but they've done a good job in early league games of taking care of the basketball. The time has come to put it all together, and while tonight's game isn't a Big East matchup, it is a big rivalry one that offers a good chance for the Bearcats to show the country what they have.
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Dan Flaherty is the editor of the Sports Notebook Family, published through the Real Clear Sports Blog Network, offering daily commentary in the NFL, coverage of college basketball. and bowl commentary in college football. He is the author of The Last New Year's, a book that revisits the historic high points of college football's New Year's Day bowl games.