Every day there are three things, none worth devoting an individual post to, but each worth at least mentioning.
I'm doing this despite having today off. Never question my sometimes-questionable work ethic.
1) The Bearcats. UC is 23-3, nationally ranked, getting a decent amount of national love, cruising toward their seventh-straight NCAA Tournament with a decent chance of doing some March damage, and yet there are people like me who will spend inordinate amounts of time worrying about the way they're playing and complaining about what they don't do right.
Last night is an example. The 'Cats were never threatened by one of the worst teams in all of D1, won easily at South Florida, and yet I spent the entire night either complaining to my buddy that I was watching the game with, or texting other friends who might now wonder if I believe this team will ever win another game.
They weren't good last night, not collectively at least. Sure, they did enough to win, they were pretty active on defense, did some solid work on the offensive glass, and got some solid contributions from their inside players.
But Troy Caupain has hit a lull, Jacob Evans has gotten too content with lifting outside shots, and as excited as I am for the kind of player Jarron Cumberland will be, he's still just a freshman that can't yet be counted on.
Mick talked a little in the postgame about going small, with I'd be in favor of. It might open things up offensively, even if it comes at the expense of their rebounding. UC has time to experiment, and time to snap out of - if this word is even appropriate - their funk.
But they're 23-3. They have an enjoyable likable team. They're name is getting called on CBS in three and a half weeks. They've got a chance to prove some doubters wrong. I should be enjoying this.
I will enjoy this.
At least I'll try.
2) The Musketeers. Hot Take: Take away the best two players from a team that's not very deep to begin with and they're not going to win very often, especially on the road against a desperate opponent. Where Xavier is in relation to the NCAA Tournament and its bubble is irrelevant right now. The bigger issues lie with when Trevon Bluiett will return and how Chris Mack can squeeze just a little bit more from a team that is running out of bodies.
Chris has not allowed his team's effort to slip - they're just shorthanded. The only real criticisms of the way XU played against Providence is that JP Macura took some ill-advised shots and that the team collectively did get the ball to Rashid Gaston nearly often enough. But the guys who are playing for Xavier right now have been thrust into such unenviable circumstances that even the most valid critiques have to be made lightly.
3) Bengals free agency. The big three are Zeitler, Whitworth, and Kirkpatrick. I'd like to have all three back, but if it comes down to one's gotta go so two can stay (which is doesn't have to), then I want the younger lineman, the corner with upside, and I'm reluctantly willing (if that makes sense) to say goodbye to Whit.
Also, would Brandon LaFell coming back be the worst thing in the world? He'll make more money, sure. But in a less-than-inspiring crop of free agent wideouts, are you really going to upgrade from LaFell by going that route?
And doesn't Andy take a while to mesh with pretty everyone he throws to?
He started to mesh well with LaFell last season.
I'd keep be in favor of keeping him. For the right price, of course.
Radio Show: I'm off today to handle some personal business, then spending the day tomorrow in Columbus pre-gaming for a Jackets game tomorrow night. James Rapien has the show the next two days on ESPN1530.