Every day there are three things, none worth devoting an individual post to, but each worth at least mentioning.
1) Mick v. the Selection Committee, Round Three. The UC Head Coach talked some more yesterday about his team's seed and placement in the tournament.
“Well, I’ve got news for them,” Cronin said. “If they think that I lose one ounce of sleep worrying about anything that they say or do, it would mean that I respected their opinion of my team. Which I don’t.”
“Unless Tom Izzo or Rick Pitino were in that room … they’ve got a tough job to do,” Cronin said. “It is what it is. It’s guesswork, which is what I really tried to tell you two weeks ago. And it is a big business.”
“I don’t even understand all that,” Cronin said. “And again, they do what they want and they can justify it any way they want to. Anybody that challenges them, they’re gonna say that they’re off base and they’re a bad guy, and threaten to reprimand them. It’s comical. It doesn’t bother me, even in the least bit. I don’t think about it at all.”
“What I will tell you is, our league was disrespected,” Cronin said.
How you take this will probably depend on whether you root for Mick's team. If you're a UC fan, he's speaking the truth. If not, he's a whiner.
I'm a UC fan, but one who tries to be objective. My take....
Every college basketball coach who's ever had a team anywhere near the NCAA Tournament has, at some point, issued a gripe against the Selection Committee. I counted seven different shows I either saw or heard John Calipari on last season complaining about his team's seed. Jim Boeheim makes a cottage industry of doing the same thing. Hell, Monday night, I was flipping around and there were women's coaches pissing and moaning about the selection process.
So there's that.
There's also the fact that Mick will give you an honest answer if you ask him a question. I like this about him immensely.
But his honesty can only go so far. He can't come out and crush the rest of the American Athletic Conference, which is a brutal basketball league. He can't shit on the lower-end teams in that league that drag UC and SMU down with them. He can't punk Michigan for backing out of a home game that would've had his team play the eventual Big Ten Tournament (as well as the eventual Big 12 and A-10 Tourney champs). He doesn't want to crush his guys for playing like butt in two losses against SMU and the one at UCF, all that occurred after the mini-bracket reveal in February, so he's aiming his ire - and making good points - about the selection process. His overall point remains. His team needs to be ready to go this weekend regardless of who and where they play, and maybe he's molding an us-against-the-world thing, but the most important part of all of this to me is that he and his team (as well as SMU's creepy-looking coach and his team) has a chance to prove that the committee got it wrong.
I hope they do.
2) The disintegration of the Bengals continues. This time, it's Rex Burkhead leaving for New England. In a vacuum, this barely bothers me. Rex was their third running back, and even if they brought him back and gave him an expanded role, the Bengals need to upgrade the talent at that position. He's replaceable.
But the team he's gone to greatly impacts how we feel about this, no?
If he goes to someplace like Buffalo, or Chicago, or one of the LA teams, we don't give it much thought. Since he's been signed by the best franchise in football, one that's known for plugging in players that other teams can't find roles for and getting production from them, it makes you wonder what they like about Rex that the Bengals don't.
And if he becomes their next plug-and-produce guy, we'll wonder why Bill Belichick can get out of him what Marvin and his staff couldn't.
The Bengals continue to be significantly worse than they were at the beginning of last week, and now the need for drafting a running back - which already should've been a priority - heightens.
Which takes us to....
3) Joe Mixon. Whatever your stance on whether or not the Bengals should be open to drafting the Oklahoma running back who was caught on tape punching a woman, just be prepared for the fallout either way.
I have no real major issue with the Bengals talking to him and gathering information, but that being said, I'd really rather they just take someone else, especially given how good the class of running backs is.
But....if you're totally cool with the Bengals drafting him, you know what's coming. A shitstorm of criticism. Dozens of columns written, intense national scrutiny, perhaps some protests. If these things bother you - and for the Bengals, if these things bother them - then you absolutely don't want this guy in stripes. If hearing people like Stephen A. Smith yell about the Bengals annoys you, or if you hate it when outsiders point, laugh, and pass judgement against the Bengals while reciting their old jokes from 2006, you don't want Joe Mixon.
If you absolutely do not want Joe Mixon here, that's very, very understandable. I'd be completely okay with the Bengals not going anywhere near him. I'm also comfortable with watching him have success playing for someone else. If he turns into the best running back in the league, fine. If he dances all over the Bengals every time he plays them, fine. If he authors one of the better feel-good stories in sports, fine.
When Aroldis Chapman was involved in that incident that ultimately earned him a 30-day suspension from Major League Baseball, I heard from a lot of people that wanted the Reds to immediately move on from him, even if it meant getting back a significantly diminished haul of players in return. A half a season later, when the Yankees flipped him to Chicago in exchange for a package that was exponentially better than what they sent to Cincinnati for Chapman, many of those same people here howled in anger.
The mechanics Mixon and Chapman cases aren't that comparable, but the point is that if you're going to take a hard-line stance on whether or not a team should keep a player or draft him, it should be taken unconditionally and without regard to the potential fallout or down-the-road consequences.
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