Three Things: The Bearcats Are More Than Just Tough.

posted by Mo Egger, ESPN1530 - 

Every day there are three things. Here are those three things.

(Photo: Getty Images)

1) More than just guts.  In the immediate aftermath of UC's comeback win over Houston the other night, the immediate takeaway most of us had was that the victory was the byproduct of Mick Cronin having a mentally and physically tough team capable of gutting out gutsy victories. The Bearcats, we reasoned, are a team with a huge collective heart with the mental and intestinal fortitude to take a punch and bounce back off the canvas. What a resilient bunch! 

We said.

And we were accurate.

But Wednesday night's win, which I'm still writing about nearly 36 hours later, was about more than those intangible characteristics that we as sports fans love to assign to winning teams.  Cincinnati's 80-70 triumph was about more tangibles than they're being credit for.

Namely, that this is one damn good basketball team.

The Cats came back because they could.  More specifically, because Mick has assembled a roster that's good enough to not just overcome a deficit and win, but almost entirely crawl out of an 18-point hole in about eight minutes.  You don't come back from down 18 to win by ten against a quality club on toughness and resiliency alone, you know?

This team is equipped to do what they did on Wednesday, which might not be prescribed, but could come in handy when the games matter more in a month and a half.  The Bearcats can withstand runs and absorb some big blows from opponents because they are able to counter with multiple ways of scoring and running their offense.  Their depth allows UC to withstand poor shooting and foul-plagued nights from key guys.  They have multiple guys that can make outside shots.  And for the most part, their offense runs smoothly enough that very few possessions result in poorly-selected shots.  

They're as stout defensively as UC has ever been, capable of using their D to score off turnovers and go off on game-changing runs.  They can play through bad shooting spells by being one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country. They have the likely conference player of the year.

They're not infallible.  The way they played at the Cintas Center will be in the backs of our minds when they head to some of the tougher locales that'll host them in the coming weeks, and as evidenced by the 21-turnover loss to Florida, the eight-turnover first 11 and a half minutes against Houston, and even the 15-turnover effort against a lousy Memphis team, they're sometimes a little too careless with the ball.

But while the toughness quotient - both physical and mental - that Mick Cronin has prided building his program upon is very much in abundance with this team, so to are the tangible qualities needed for a team to have a special season.

2) Here's how takes are made. There was a story on ESPN.com yesterday, done by a highly-regarded NBA writer named Chris Haynes, about how, with another summer of free agency approaching, LeBron James would maybe think about playing for the Golden State Warriors, if the Warriors actually wanted to try to create some room for him, which would require making some difficult roster (financial) decisions with a team that's a good bet to win a third title in four years.

I'll chime in like everyone else: LeBron is not going to the Warriors because Kevin Durant is going to get paid this summer. By the Warriors. Which means LeBron will have to chase his fourth ring somewhere else.

Far more interesting than discussing that, though, is watching how the dropping of this story - which I think is just the latest example of LeBron James trying to put pressure on the Cavs - ignited the sports take machine that consumes us.

First, the LeBron story drops. Many of us woke up to it.  Within hours of the release of the story, which I'm betting most with an opinion of even bothered to read, the shows where people scream their takes at each other were all over it.

"Is LeBron going to ruin his legacy by going to Golden State?"

"Would LeBron joining the Warriors be good or bad for the NBA?"

"Who else could challenge for the East next season if LeBron went out west?"

"Are the Warriors thinking about breaking up the band?"

"Who would LeBron bring with him to Golden State?"

'Could LeBron and KD co-exist?"

"Jordan wouldn't play for the Warriors!!"

It went on. And on. And then on some more. Takes fired off. Sides taken.  All based on a story that will long be forgotten by the time LeBron either decides to stay in Cleveland or sign with another team that's not with the Warriors.

But year, now you know how the takes are made. 

3) My new other job.  I made this announcement yesterday....

Now first, this new gig is in addition to the jobs I already have.  Nothing at ESPN1530 or 700WLW is changing. Same for any fill-in work on ESPN Radio.  I'll still be on air. I'll still be doing this blog.  In fact, my contributions to The Athletic are coming with my bosses' blessing.

Second, my contributions will be a few written pieces a month, based on whatever is on my mind.  As someone who's subscribed to The Athletic for a while now, I can tell you that the national coverage that's already being provided is stellar. What's in the works for Cincinnati is still fluid, but the roster of people they've added here is an impressive one.

I'm excited to work with the people at The Athletic because of how this experience can help me improve as a writer, which is something I've found a passion for in the years I've been populating this site.

Which, again, I'll continue to populate.  Probably now more often than ever.

The Athletic is subscriber-based, with no ads.  The Cincinnati launch comes with a presale opportunity that allows you to subscribe for $3.49/month and includes a slick-looking shirt.  If you love smart, in-depth coverage, what you pay will be money well spent.

The link is here.

And the Twitter account is here.

Thank you.

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Mo Egger

Mo Egger

Mo Egger delivers his unique take on sports on Cincinnati's ESPN 1530! Read more

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