Cincinnati coach Butch Jones sits courtside for Game 5 of NBA Finals

Jeff Eisenberg
Dr. Saturday

On a night when most of Ohio braced itself for the nightmarish possibility of LeBron James hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy for the first time, one resident of the Buckeye State was sitting courtside cheering for Miami to win the NBA title.

Cincinnati football coach Butch Jones tweeted a picture of the view from his seat behind the Heat bench just before tipoff of Thursday's game. The tickets were a gift from Miami coach Eric Spoelstra, whom Jones has grown close with since agent Trace Armstrong introduced them at a Heat game a few months ago.

"We've developed quite a relationship," Jones told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "A lot of our motivational stuff and philosophies are very similar. I'm just looking forward to hopefully watching them reach their goal."

What Jones told the Enquirer he has derived from his friendship with Spoelstra is a better understanding of how to cope with the pressure of high expectations. Spoelstra described how he attempts to ignore media criticism and channel his focus and energy into preparing his team.

Jones may not have to draw from those lessons for a while because the Bearcats won't bear the burden of high expectations next fall. They're expected to finish in the middle of a watered-down Big East next season after several key players graduated from last year's 10-win team including quarterback Zach Collaros and running back Isaiah Pead.

But the way Cincinnati overachieved under Jones last season, it may not be long before the Bearcats make an appearance in a marquee bowl game. Maybe then Jones can return the favor and get Spoelstra a sideline pass.

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