Three Things: The Return Of The Reds, A 25th Win For The Bearcats, And An Entire Sports League Just Gave Up.

posted by Mo Egger, ESPN1530 -

Every day there are three things, none worth devoting an individual post to, but each worth at least mentioning. 

1)  The Bearcats roll. Things did get a little too close for comfort late in the second half, and Mick Cronin - understandably, and predictably - lamented his team's poor defense and lack of focus in his postgame comments, but in the first half of their win over Memphis last night, UC might have played its best ball of the season. 

For all of the contributors Cincinnati has, for all of the signs that point toward a deep run in March, and for all of the things that could ultimately hold them back, UC's NCAA Tournament fate will probably be decided by Troy Caupain and Jacob Evans. 

Last night, those two were very good.  Troy had 12 points, including a dagger three that ended the Memphis threat, to go along with seven assists - including one on ESPN's top play of the night - while Jacob scored 15, while more importantly, not settling for three-point shots.  

Everything a team does this time of year is viewed through the prism of what it will mean if we see what we've seen in March. If we see the Caupain and Evans we saw last night next month, then we'll be seeing a lot of the Bearcats.

2)  The Cincinnati Reds will play an actual baseball game today.  This means a lot of things, not the least of which is the return of real substantive news from Arizona that involves something other than where Bronson Arroyo is going to dine on his birthday

It also means the return of baseball on the radio, even if I preferred that you wait until tomorrow or Sunday to check in on Marty and the boys.

As for what happens on the field, that matters only slightly less than what happens in games that will actually count.  Spring training, for some of these guys, is a chance to try out for what will ultimately be another, extended, more scrutinized tryout.  I'm less concerned with things like who makes the team out of camp, and more interested in who's made a case to be on next year's team by the end of this year.  Who wins a gig in the starting staff is important.  Who earns one for next season is much more important.  

Who cares that much right now about anything of substance?  The Reds are playing this weekend, we're going to have baseball season weather in Cincinnati today, what more can you ask for?

3) A Deadline dud.  The NBA trade deadline is often pretty active, very intriguing, and can shape the way the way the playoffs play out in the spring.  This season, though, it came and went with little meaningful activity, no contender making a move of substance, and basically 28 teams all but admitting that no matter what, they can't beat Golden State and Cleveland.

This is a problem, and this is coming from someone who's all-in on the era of the super-team.  Every team - most notably a Celtics team that might have been a good two-way two-guard and a rebounder away from seriously contending in the East - took a look at how difficult it's going to beat both the LeBron-led Cavs, and the absolutely loaded Warriors, and decided to stand pat, hold on to assets, and wait to see what the landscape looks like this summer.  Long-term, the GMs that did nothing may be rewarded. Short-term, 93% of the league just admitted what most of us already knew: No one is getting in the way of Cleveland/Golden State Part Three.  While the NBA, as a whole is as good and healthy as it's ever been, I'm not sure that's a good message to send, not just to fans of lottery-bound teams, but to those who would like to hold out hope that their team can unseat either defending conference champ. 

If teams are throwing in the towel, why shouldn't fans?

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Mo Egger

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