Some thought the squeaky clean reputation of the Musketeers had been muddied, while others were sure that the Bearcats would take a step or two back in their progression under head coach Mick Cronin.
In the weeks ahead, the obvious angle was that everything hadchanged for both programs.
Xavier flat out stunk, losing five of their next six games and finishing 10-6 in Atlantic 10 play. By February, it was easy to write this team off and label their season as a major disappointment.
Cincinnati suffered more severe suspensions, but kept winning. Mick Cronin took an incredible amount of heat for tough love followed by lenient suspensions, and questions abounded as to the best way to handle Gates, allegedly their most important player but someone who the Bearcats proved they could win without.