Why Is Bearcats Basketball So Fun To Watch?

The game of basketball has changed drastically since its inception in 1891. With advancements in technology, new training methods by athletes, demand from fans, the game has evolved most drastically in recent history. Whether these advancements are positive or negative impacts for the sport is disputed in today’s world. I mean look how many NBA legends claimed their team would’ve smoked the Golden State Warriors due to their style of play during the Warriors’ historic regular season run (here’s to you Big O, saying your 1971 Milwaukee Bucks would’ve totally shut down the Warriors). Watching a basketball game from the 70’s looks completely different from games in today’s age. The game has gotten much faster, with emphasis on 3-point shooting, ball handling, getting into transition, and keeping the defense on its heels by capitalizing early in possessions. And this style of play has proven that offense sells due to the vast increase in fan interest. With almost every basketball team getting with the times and switching to this style of play, why is UC basketball still so popular and fun to watch?

Rewind the clock to the 90’s to the early 2000’s (mid to late 80’s too if you want to dig further). The sport of basketball had arguably never been more popular. The most recognized athletes in the world were basketball players. Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Vince Carter, and Shaquille O’Neal were the athletes people aspired to be and went out of their way to watch. During this time is also when the Bearcats hit their peak in popularity. The game of basketball during this era wasn’t as fast paced as the game we watch now, but it was fast enough to be exciting. See, in the 90’s and early 2000’s, people wanted to see dunks and crippling defense. Backboard shattering slams, will-breaking shot blocks, and high flying alley oops were what the fans craved and the Bearcats would adopt this style of play to become one of the most dominant and popular teams of the time and still play the same as they did in the “Era of Defense”.

That didn’t really answer the question at hand hear, did it? If the style of play is faster and more focused on jump shots, why do the Bearcats continue to still be one of the top teams in the country and have a large, loyal fan base while continuing the same style of play they’ve been using for the past roughly 28 years? I feel it is their stubbornness to get with the times that has kept the Bearcats in the spotlight. Going to games, you see the stands full of alumni, current students, and general fans of UC all of whom are wanting to see a game with a style of play that is foreign to younger fans, yet so familiar to longtime fans.┬áThe Bearcats of today feel like the Bearcats of a time believed to be gone with age. The Bearcats continue to show that this “defense creates offense” style of play can still have success in today’s game; old school, in your face style basketball. The city of Cincinnati has adopted UC as its team (Xavier fans can say what they want, but they don’t have the culture, the championships, nor do they share the name of the city they’re based in to back it up). The Bearcats as a program symbolize the city and the people of Cincinnati perfectly by being perceived as incapable of accomplishing anything, but grinds for every inch it gains and exceeds expectations. Teams of underprivileged men overcoming the odds has been the story of UC basketball since its first time taking the court and this trend continues to the teams of today. The Bearcats will never forget where they have come from, and while players may come and go, the ferocity, heart, and patience of the slower, intense, throwback style of play by UC will never die and will continue to be exhilarating and enjoyable to watch for generations of Bearcats fans to come.

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