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Bearclaw reads

I still laugh when I think about the exchange in this Octonion.

Have you guys heard that the Louisville players were stripped of their practice clothes after the Notre Dame loss?

McGee figures the atmosphere in Fifth Third Arena will mimic the environment the Cards stumbled into at Notre Dame.

"Beating us would be a big key win for them to push them into not just a bubble team but a team at large," he said. "They're going to be fired up. We have to match their intensity."

McGee, like Samuels, said that even if the Cards win they should stay with the bland practice clothes. He said they have adopted a "blue-collar approach" since their regular gear was taken away.

Asked if the players ever try to talk Pitino out of a decision he makes in practice, McGee replied: "This is Rick Pitino, man. What he says goes. That's Rick the Ruler. Whatever he decides to do, we've all got to roll with that. He doesn't do anything 'just because.' Everything is for a reason."

"Children's Story" is still a beat.

John Erardi of the Cincy Enquirer says that the key to UC's recent success is guard play.

You've heard of the twin towers? How about the twin shooting guards, sophomore Larry Davis and freshman Dion Dixon?

"They're playing well, both scoring, both giving us some offense," UC coach Mick Cronin said. "Dion's a little bit better rebounder, and he can play some point guard. Lately, Larry's really shooting well - 51 percent in our last five games. He's been giving us scoring punch; he's a little more of a veteran player."

There's a line in one of Davis' favorite movies, "Rush Hour," in which Chris Tucker, playing the role of a detective, says: "If I'm gonna handle the situation for you, I'm gonna have to work alone.

Those are words you'll never hear come out of Davis' mouth, because if there's one thing Davis never does on the basketball court, it's work alone.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Davis is averaging 6.7 points per game, but his teammates have been getting him the ball a lot. In the last four games, he has totaled 50 points, third-most on the team. That stretch includes UC's come-from-behind victory at Georgetown Feb. 7, when he scored all 11 of his points in the second half, nine of them on 3-pointers. Davis also had a career-high 21-point game on Feb. 4 in a win over Notre Dame.

The powers that be in the UC athletic department have deemed today's tilt a "Ring of Red" game, and are asking all the Bearcat fans attending to wear red. Louisville will wear it's home white uniforms, which is fine with me after what took place in the Joyce Center. 

I really, really like Mick Cronin, which makes it sort of hard to hate Cincinnati anymore.

There is talk that Fifth Third Arena will be nearly -- wow! -- full for the second time in 16 home games. You know, the way it was during the days when Bob Huggins raged along the sidelines.

"For more than two years, I've been looking forward to the day when you would call and ask me about my team and our program and this game instead of just talking about my relationship with coach (Rick) Pitino," Cronin said with a laugh.

"I figured that when you wanted to talk about the game, we'd really made some progress."

Have you guys heard that the Louisville players were stripped of their practice clothes after the Notre Dame loss?

"He explained to us that when you lose, this is what happens," Andre McGee said. "No one is on your bandwagon. You can't afford great, name-brand wear. When you lose you become generic and this is all you can afford."

McGee and company will have to win on Saturday against surprising Cincinnati (17-9, 7-6) to reclaim their goodies.

The irony is, the Cardinals (20-5, 11-2 Big East) say they don't even care anymore. McGee, for one, said they don't need to get their practice stuff back.

"I think, since we've been wearing the (practice) jerseys, guys have been coming in, different approach and attitude and work hard," McGee said. "It doesn't really make a difference to me. We could be out there in shirts and skins, and I would go out there and lace them up and go as hard as I can."

Game notes!

I think most folks are pretty nervous about facing a desperate opponent on the road who just happens to be a pretty big rival, but Tom Heiser is confident and justifies his security.

Have you guys heard that the Louisville players were stripped of their practice clothes after the Notre Dame loss?