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3-point shot: Cincy, contender or pretender?

1. Cincinnati has received almost zero preseason buzz and yet Bearcats coach Mick Cronin said he may have his quickest, deepest and one of his most athletic teams since he arrived. The Bearcats will find out if they are a contender or a pretender with this weekend's tournament in Las Vegas with UNLV, Oregon and Iowa State. This is a golden opportunity for Cincinnati to prove itself. Cronin said the Bearcats still need to get more production out of his five spot but he's optimistic that Cincinnati is going to be a player in the national scene here soon.

2. If there is anyone to feel sorry for among the possible alignment moves it is the schedule makers in the conferences. They spend countless hours working on plans for conference schedules only to possibly have the entire format discarded. It happened in the Big East. It may happen to the ACC, to the Big East again, and possibly the Big Ten. There could also be a domino effect in other leagues too.

3. Oregon State suffered a tough blow when Angus Brandt tore an ACL during the Beavers' win over Purdue Friday in New York at the 2K Sports Classic. Brandt had been the Beavers most versatile big man who could be a power player in the post, a stretch four, and probably one of the Beavers' best passers. Oregon State coach Craig Robinson said the Beavers will lose some toughness with Brandt's departure but it does open up more opportunities for some freshmen to get quality minutes.