Restaurateur Jeff Ruby promised NKU's 15,000+ students a free steak dinner if the Norse upset the 'Cats late tonight.
BHG countered by promising steak dinners to every UK student and faculty member if the 'Cats go on to claim banner number 9.
Something's got to give, and it absolutely will tonight, as the schools collide in a Commonwealth Clash, transplanted northwest to Indianapolis for a ~9:40 EST tip on CBS.
If I were a coach, I wouldn't refer to this contest as a "tune up." But I'm not, so I will. As such, here are just a few of the simpler things I'm looking for tonight that would encourage me going forward:
1) Malik Monk netting 15+ points efficiently and from wire to wire, or at least until the walk-ons see the floor. 30 would be nice, too.
2) 20+ assists and fewer than 10 turnovers.
3) The Dominique Hawkins-Derek Willis-Mychal Mulder senior triumvirate continuing their significant contributions and momentum.
Based on my mostly cursory NKU research, here's what could plausibly make the game closer than we're comfortable with:
The only Round of 64 UK opponents arguably weaker than the Norse that I can recall in my time as a UK fan were the 20-13 IUPUI Jags in 2003 (who were then coached by now-famous Georgia State head man Ron Hunter) and sub-.500 Hampton Pirates in 2015.
With all due respect to our fellow Kentuckians (and an ardent congratulations to them for the NCAAT berth), NKU never had to face the Horizon's two best teams in its conference tournament (Valpo and Oakland) because both were knocked out early in 2 and 1 point upsets, respectively.
They recently classified from Division II and actually had a NAIA school (12-17 Brescia, who the Norse only beat by 24) and DIII school (?-? Earlham; but hey, at least they beat them by 40) on their schedule.
I also checked 8 different team measures and they were outside the top 100 in all of them, including #154 in points allowed and #187 in adjD according to KenPom. Don't be surprised if the 'Cats meet the century mark in points for the first time since the TAMU game in early January.
Now, let's all be jealous of All-Star commenter/well-written NBA article link provider extraordinaire BCCatFan and all others in the Pacific Standard Time zone, who get to watch this game at the perfect time of 6:45 or so.