Happy MLK Day. This is one of the great days of the year, not only because of celebrating one of the great men in our country's history, but there's always some fantastic college basketball to fill the day.
Today, No. 7 Villanova travels to No. 10 UConn at 3:30 p.m. and No. 4 Syracuse plays at No. 5 Pitt at 7 p.m.
I like Nova over the fighting Kembas and Pitt because they never lose at home. They are now 8-0 at the Oakland Zoo against Top 5 teams.
--- The Bearcats search for answers following Saturday's loss to Syracuse continues on Wednesday this week. They'll play at Notre Dame on ESPN2 at 7 p.m.
The latest example came with an 18-point drubbing at St. John's on Saturday. This was the same Irish team that beat the Johnnies at home by 15 points eight days earlier.
In thier conference home games they beat Georgetown by 14, UConn by 3 and St. John's by 15.
In conference road games they lost to Syracuse by 12, Marquette by 22 and STJ by 18.
Hard to figure. Except to know UC will get the best shot from a team thrilled to return to campus.
--- UC's largest problems right now aren't their opponents, but rather themselves. The Bearcats have struggled to make shots against the top opponents the lack of offense should be a concern.
The Bearcats made one 2-point field goal in the first half on Saturday. One. Pretty sure I have never seen that happen. At then end of the day, they only made seven.
They have dropped to 141st in the country in 2-pt FG percentage.
The length of Syracuse's zone and frustration it can cause shares some of the blame, but the Cats need to find a way to finish at a much higher rate.
Plenty other teams will be taken out of their offensive rhythm by the Orange, so this isn't reason to raise the terror alert, but should become a point of emphasis this week.
--- Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician writes about UC living and dying by the 3-point shot.
--- Another point of emphasis will be rebounding, which Bill Koch talked about in today's Enquirer.
UC has been outrebounded each of the last three games, and pretty handily against Syracuse. The Cats were able to grab a respectable 35 percent of the offensive rebounds, but allowed the Orange to snare 45 percent of their possible offensive boards.
This team's identity has been defense and rebounding all year, so to see this type of struggle on the boards cuts to the core of what they do best.
Mick Cronin has talked before about stressing boxing out and rebounding during the week is the only way improve in that area because it's strictly a result of effort. I'd expect the Cats to rebound on Wednesday.
--- Chad Brendel takes an interesting look at the numbers behind the Bearcats slow starts. There's no denying the starters haven't performed as well lately. Perhaps a lineup change should be made. We'll probably learn more at today's media availability about that.
--- Jeff Goodman still has Notre Dame at No. 13 despite two ugly road losses this week.
--- How about Louisville coming back from 18 points down in the final 5:45 to beat Marquette.
--- Two more reasons the Big East is the best conference in basketball. WVU tops No. 8 Purdue in Morgantown and Villanova holds on to beat Maryland in Philly.
--- Dan Hoard stepped outside of the Cincinnati box to write a piece about Big Monday, the Big East stage and the superb three-man booth of Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas and Bill Raftery.
--- Fun fact: Both AFC Championship game coaches, Rex Ryan and Mike Tomlin, spent time at UC as assistants.
--- On to some randomness...
--- Anytime a Hollywood Award Show is on, I keep waiting for Scarsdale Surprise to be announced as a winner.
--- Bart Scott was more than happy to discuss the Patriots.
--- When texting and walking in the mall, you may want to avoid all fountains.
--- There's no better way to start your Martin Luther King Jr. Day than by spending 17 minutes listening to one of the great speeches in our history.