I know I'm supposed to start here talking about Bearcats basketball, their win over the Fighting Camels last night and some of the fine perspective given my Mick Cronin after the game.
I can't. I just can't. That's because I woke up this morning researching the schedule of a Division III team out of Iowa. I'm mesmerized by what Grinnell College's Jack Taylor did last night. He scored 138 points in a win against Faith Baptist. He hit 27 3-pointers! He shot 52 of 108 from the field!
Not shockingly, zero assists.
At some point one of his teammates had to have been wide open under the basket for a layup yelling at him, throwing his headband, right? They did win 179-104. I want to see these guys play. Unfortunately the closest they come to here is about a six-hour drive. Almost still feels worth it.
I think Kobe is regretting supporting the Mike D'Antoni hire right now. A few LA losses and he'll be coming out in support of the Grinnell coach any day now.
OK, let's eat ...
--- Last night I wrote about Sean Kilpatrick, Cashmere Wright and JaQuon Parker, both how well they are playing and a mini-investigation into if there needs to be a fourth scorer to emerge.
Basically, the answers I got during the investigation from Mick was not really. As long as this team is posting 92 points per game he doesn't care who scores. He'll tell you as much.
"I don't care who scores," Cronin said.
Sure, having another weapon would be great, but as long as the other positions contribute occasionally there's no reason to care how many shots those three are taking. They are too good to care.
Granted, these numbers are relative this early in the season, but for perspective, SK (102) and Cash (252) both rank in the top 260 nationally in overall offensive rating, according to KenPom. If you look at estimated field goal percentage, which takes into account added weight for 3-pointers, SK ranks 23rd in the country right now. Yeah, you want that guy taking your shots.
They also both rank in the 150 nationally for percentage of shots taken when on the floor -- they both are around 31 percent. Nobody else under Mick Cronin ever topped 28.5 percent -- that counts Deonta Vaughn in his "only option on the floor" prime of 2007.
The Bearcats have taken 263 shots this season. Cash, SK, Park have taken 129 of them. That's 49 percent.
The key for Mick is shot selection. That was part of the problem in the first half, when settling too much for contested jumpers the opportunity to cut and dish were lost. Once SK did that more in the second half the whole court opened up for everyone -- including Kilpatrick.
--- While I'm at it, part of last night's story involved me jumping around the different nicknames we've heard for these three. Tommy G has been pushing the Three Amigos. Dan Hoard suggested the Cincinnati Three-Way to be true to the Cincy chili roots.
There is the standard Big Three that rolls off the tongue nicely. Or possibly we go into their hip-hop pop culture and instead of Trey Songz, go with Trey Problemz? Trey Day? 3 Chainz?
Clearly, we need your help! Vote in the poll or please, please, send in your ideas and we'll run your email suggestions next week when we hash this thing out once and for all.
--- Now that we've covered that, wanted to mention that Cheikh Mbodj is currently blocking 20.3% of the shots he sees, which is an absurd number. It ranks third in the nation right now. Sure, it's early. But the guy is protecting everything at the rim.
Speaking of protecting the rim -- Kilpatrick with a disrespectful block last night hitting the SC Top 10.
--- Wanted to hop in on a few things Mick said regarding this weekend's Vegas tournament. UC plays Iowa State Friday at 6:30 ET and then the winner/loser of UNLV/Oregon on Saturday.
All three are quality programs right now. Campbell played both UC and Iowa State and coach Robbie Laing favored the Bearcats.
"Cincinnati is much more physical," he said. "I don't want to give bulletin board material to Iowa State. Cincinnati sat on top of us tonight defensively, we didn't see that at Iowa State. Cincinnati smothered us. We couldn't reverse the ball; they forced us into one-on-one play. Cincinnati is too long for us to convert one-on-one baskets, Iowa State didn't have that problem. Offensively, Cincinnati is a little tighter and executed awfully well. ... I think Cincinnati is ranked where they ought to be in comparison to Iowa State. They're a little bit further ahead right now."
So, there's that. The concept of playing No. 18 UNLV in the championships seems to be the matchup everyone desires -- but Oregon is no slouch, either. My guess, at least three of these four teams are in the Dance, if not all four. They haven't played many great opponents, but all four teams are a combined 14-0.
While coming away with a championship from the tournament would be nice and a decent measuring stick, Cronin will tell you how little it actually means. One of my favorite quotes of the season here:
"If you win them both, they say you're great and we're not great," he said. "If you lose them both, they're going to say you stink and you don't stink. If you win one and lose one, they're going to say you're just OK. And none of it means anything because it's November. It's just the truth."
That said, these players have been sitting around watching Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, Duke, etc, play these major TV games. They are itching to jump in the action.
"I'm expecting teams to actually come at us," Cash said. "We have a bulls-eye on our back and people are talking about us being a ranked team so people are going to come out there and give us their best game. We just have to come out there and stay focused for 40 minutes, play good defense and not let down."
--- Great to see Mike DeCourcy and Lance McAlister on press row last night. By some crazy coincidence I'd never really met Lance before. Still not sure how that's possible considering the circles we both run it, but it was great to sit next to him and chat during the game. He is a walking iPad advertisement. He's showing off all the great ways that thing can be used.
--- Also last night, filed under hilarious things seen: As Athletic Director Whit Babcock was making the rounds down press row during the game talking to a few of us, he was leaning over to talk to the sitting scribes courtside but as a tall guy it's hard to bend down far enough not to block a bit of the view of those behind him. A particularly frustrated older gentlemen in the front row basically said, AD or no AD, I'm using my cane to make sure you get the message I'd like you to move. So poke away he did. Hey, those aren't cheap seats -- and Whit happily obliged by slinking out of the way.
On to some randomness ...
--- Scarlett Johnansson likes journalists -- what?!? When did this happen and why was I not informed?
--- I guess these types of things happen all the time in Thailand, but a cabbie found $900k in his ride.
--- If your mall decides to repel Santa from the ceiling on a rope, let's be honest, that rope getting stuck in his beard three stories up is what everyone watching is hoping for.
--- The 15 best dogs in pop culture. Really thought Comet from Full House had more pull.
--- As always, big weekend for movies after Thanksgiving -- Lincoln and Flight on my docket, in that order.
--- Really, trying to come up with the SK, Cash, Park nickname feels like this Wiz Khalifa song is the perfect fit for today: "Nameless." Maybe that could be their nickname? Would be very next level.