College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, January 6, 2011
The widely-anticipated showdown between crosstown rivals Xavier and Cincinnati quickly became a runaway for one team and a showcase for the enormous talents of enormous Yancy Gates.
After Xavier raced out to a 10-4 lead, Gates led a 22-5 Bearcat run that ended all argument over which was the best team in the Queen City. Gates, a powerfully-built Cincinnati native at 6'9", 260 pounds, led all participants with a game high 22 points and 14 rebounds, both season-high totals for the big man. Cincinnati won in a rout, 66-46, holding Tu Holloway, the Musketeers' leading scorers and one of the top point-producers in the nation, to a season-low five points.
Prior to last week, the Bearcats - despite being undefeated - were unranked in the national polls. Now at 15-0, some pollsters and even casual watchers have raised an eyebrow and given the Bearcats the nod of approval, spotting them at #24 in Monday's poll. Xavier slumped to 8-5.
Notable: #20 Illinois shot 70% from the field and absolutely swamped Northwestern, 88-63 to win their third straight Big Ten win without a loss, improving to 13-3 overall. A litmus test for the Fighting Illini comes in another week when they play at Wisconsin on the 15th of January, then return home to face Michigan State and Ohio State on the 18th and 22nd.