3-point shot: Bearcats get their bigs back

1.Cincinnati Bearcats coach Mick Cronin said Monday suspended players Yancy Gates, Cheikh Mbodj and Octavius Ellis are all in good standing and ready to play Wednesday night against Notre Dame. The three were suspended six games for their role in the Dec. 10 brawl with Xavier. The Bearcats won all six games, including Sunday night at Pitt. The toughest decision for Cronin will be how he integrates the bigs into a team that has meshed quite well by going small.

2.The Alabama Crimson Tide's announcement that junior guard Andrew Steele was immediately cleared to play was a stunner. I spoke with the family in June when concussion symptoms forced him to retire from the game. He and his family had accepted that he was done playing for the sake of his long-term health. But Steele had been serving as a student assistant and slowly worked with the scout team and has been nothing but a positive for the Tide. Coach Anthony Grant said in a news conference Tuesday Steele can be productive.

3.The Virginia Cavaliers showed tremendous poise in holding off the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge Monday night. The rest of the ACC should congratulate the Cavaliers. Outside of North Carolina Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils, ACC teams have done nothing to shout about in non-conference play. Having UVA ranked, with one loss and wins over the Michigan Wolverines and at LSU gives the league hope for three bids in March. If a fourth team wins the tournament then the ACC can land four.