Sometimes, you have to step away to get a good look. Like not being able to see the forest for the trees. And sometimes, the best way to see your own team, is to look at it through the eyes of the opponent.
Take, for example, the Bengals and quarterback Carson Palmer. Now, I'll be the first to say that Palmer has had his struggles, but you get outside of Cincinnati and the rest of the country can't talk enough about how Palmer is consistent, how he's triumphed over adversity, etc. We as fans often get so caught up in the day to day of a game, that we forgot that Palmer's got a Heisman Trophy that he brings to work with him every day (figuratively, I hope, not literally).
Which brings me to the big win the Bearcat women had Saturday at Syracuse. (actually, a good day for both the men's and women's teams Saturday out east--props to the men with the win at Connecticut) In reading the story in the Syracuse newspaper recapping the game, it's interesting to see how the Post-Standard writer, Chris Wagner, saw the 'Cats' overtime win. (by the way, if you want to read the whole article, here it is: http://blog.syracuse.com/orange-women/2010/02/close-game_woes_continue_for_o.html )
First, the Syracuse coach lamented the loss, even though his team won the stats battle:
"It's getting tougher and tougher to explain these things," said coach Quentin Hillsman, whose team's chances of making the NCAA Tournament faded even more as it dropped to 18-7 overall and 5-7 in conference play. "We won every (statistical) category and lose the game."
Then he noted one exception to the stat battle: free-throw shooting. The Orange converted only 6-of-15 attempts, while the Bearcats canned 17-of-20.
The other notable difference was not on the stat sheet. That was clutch shots and clutch stops.
Cincinnati had both of those on its side, starting with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Chareese Ulis to send the game into overtime at 57-57. Then, while leading 64-62 in the extra period, they gathered a crucial rebound after SU freshman center Kayla Alexander missed a shot in the lane."
Ok, so they spelled Shareese's name wrong, first. Second, it's eye opening to see another writer give a nod to UC's big plays that, at least to Syracuse's point of view, changed the flow of the game. But you won't see too many shots more clutch than Ulis' triple that sent the game to overtime.
Want another example? Let's go to the previous overtime win the Cats had on the road, Groundhog's Day in Louisville. Here's the recap of that game, courtesy of the Courier-Journal: http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20100202/SPORTS02/2020360/1028/SPORTS02/U+of+L+women+can+t+close+door+on+Bearcats
Themes are the same: Home team expected to win, home team disappointed in loss.
Home team, perhaps, remembered the Bearcats of old. This is not, with a nod to Buick, your father's women's Bearcat team. It's tough for any team to win on the road in the BIG EAST. The Bearcats have three conference victories away from home, with a chance at another one this week at Providence. Each win means a better seed in the conference tournament. Each win is a stepping stone to the future. Let's see what happens Tuesday night at Providence.