Don't worry, this blog won't turn into Advertising Criticis Weekly like so many will today. Actually, it will be brief this morning because we have media availability with Mick Cronin at 10:30.
But, I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the biggest storyline to come out of the Super Bowl. I've heard approximately 3,000 National Anthems. As a sports writer it comes with the territory. Sung by young children, the elderly, Rod Stewart look-alikes. All walks of life.
Never once, before last night, did I hear somebody mess up the words. For it to be a five-time Grammy-award winner, supposedly a heavy-hitter in the Antheming business, was jaw-dropping. (Here's Time Magazine's list of the 10 Worst National Anthems for those of you with a death wish)
I had to watch it twice just to make sure I heard it correctly the first time.
Then I had to back away from my computer because I was positive Twitter was going to explode. (BTW, there are few better ways to watch the Super Bowl than with Twitter scrolling in front of you. It's like watching the party with hundreds of your funniest friends, instead of the unfunny, overfed friends of friends invading your house)
Not sure why people take so much pleasure in seeing Christina Aguilera's flub, but I definitely do.
Yet, I digress.
--- Yancy Gates. Yeah, he's the story everyone wants to talk about, except for Mick Cronin. For the record, I don't know what Gates did other than what is being reported. Bill Koch had the latest today. But what I do know is, whatever happened Cronin did what was right.
For him to take these measures at this point in such a critical season, Gates must have crossed over the line. Likely far over it.
Here's what Cronin said on the postgame show on 700WLW: "I'm not concerned with that. I'm concerned with our basketball team right now and he's not part of it."
At the end of the day you need people whose heads and hearts are in the right place to win in this league. This team won't out-talent many teams in the BE. They won't be out-talented all that often, either. Point being, they will win games through effort, scratching and clawing.
If somebody isn't willing to do those three, you probably are better off without them, even if it is Gates.
--- Dan Hoard had much more from Cronin about Gates. He says the squeaky wheel shouldn't get the oil.
--- If you look at the game, I don't know how much the absence of Gates really affected the outcome. What are the areas he would have had the most affect over? Rebounding and an inside offensive presence. UC owned the offensive glass in this one. They grabbed 23 of 47 possible offensive boards against one of the best rebounding teams in the conference.
With inside scoring, Biggie McClain contributed 10 points and even made some nice post moves playing 23 minutes. Ibrahima Thomas had 7 points and 6 rebounds soaking up a few of Yancy's minutes as well.
The game wasn't lost on the inside. The game was lost by UC's perimeter players missing so many open looks driving to the bucket. Plus, turning the ball over to lead to easy fast break points at the conclusion of the first half.
As I mentioned here on Friday, Pitt doesn't create a ton of turnovers. They are content to sit back and let the ball funnel to their big guys. In fact, more than half of their BE opponents didn't turn the ball over double-digit times. UC had 11 at the half. They finished with the most turnovers against Pitt by a Big East team (16) this season. That was a stat they couldn't afford.
--- The combination of Cashmere Wright, Dion Dixon and Sean Kilpatrick didn't score their first point until four minutes were left in the game.
Cronin said he talked with Dixon after the game about getting down on himself, a problem he's had in games this year.
"He let it affect him, he's too self-conscious. That's just his personality. He lets that linger and it affects his defense. That's something he's fought his whole career. He's a great kid, he puts too much pressure on himself."
--- Ashton Gibbs is good. He was allowed too many open looks, but he hit some tough shots as well. Turns out he sprained his MCL in the game and will be out 10-14 days. That opens up the door for the next few Panthers opponents.
--- OK, need to head out to the press conference and should be posting something from there this afternoon, but I'll leave you with one bit of randomness...
--- A-Rod, who apparently is above using his hands for fear of salt collecting on his mulit-million dollar fingers, has to be regretting the timing of this. I personally believe there is a Fox Sports producer who was waiting for that perfect moment. He's probably from Boston. Regardless, we all owe him a hug.