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Monday, December 26, 2011
3-point shot: Cincinnati finds itself

By Andy Katz

1. Cincinnati was the worse offender during the on-court fight with Xavier on Dec. 10. Xavier’s postgame news conference performance was worse than the Bearcats'. And since the brawl, the Bearcats clearly have done more with less than the Musketeers. Yes, the competition was tougher for Xavier than Cincinnati, but the Bearcats seemed to have found themselves during the suspensions. Their offense is running smoother and been more productive. Meanwhile, Xavier was dysfunctional during a three-game losing streak (to Oral Roberts, Long Beach State and Hawaii) before it was snapped Sunday with a victory over Southern Illinois in Hawaii.

2. Virginia coach Tony Bennett has the Cavaliers playing their best basketball of the season. The Cavs swept a trip to the Northwest with victories over Oregon and Seattle. But then Bennett came home to two defections in K.T. Harrell and James Johnson. Bennett said the issues were playing time. If that’s it, then it’s another example of players not having any patience. The departures hurt the Cavs’ depth but it shouldn’t stop the momentum. UVa is off to its best start under Bennett at 10-1 and is clearly the third-best team in the ACC so far.

3. The Diamond Head Classic announced its 2012 field Sunday and it has one if not two teams that should be ranked when the tournament opens next year. Arizona and San Diego State are the two headline teams and may be the respective picks to win the Pac-12 and MWC, respectively, in 2012-13. Missouri Valley contender Indiana State, Miami (Fla.), Ole Miss, Texas Tech, San Francisco and Hawaii round out the field. Hawaii will represent the Big West in next year’s field. The Warriors are in the WAC this year, which allowed a Big West team — Long Beach State — to be in the 2011 field. But now Hawaii will be the one Big West rep in the tournament from 2012 forward.