Always a great listen to take in the Mick Cronin Radio Show with Dan Hoard and Chuck Machock. Was again last night where we were given the fortunate telling of the story behind Chuck now being known as Tip Jar Machock.
Last night, Mick spent the first 15 minutes or so talking about Cashmere Wright and the difference in breaking the current slump. Good insight from the coach.
The moral of the story, he believes Cash lost his confidence and the coach's top priority is bringing that confidence back. I don't think anybody who watches UC basketball would dispute Cashmere Wright playing as he did in the weeks before the injury when he was the best player on the floor every time out would solve the majority of UC's problems.
"He's lost his confidence," Cronin said. "You go five, six, seven games, shoot 20 percent you would lose your confidence, too. And he's a conscientious kid who wants to play well ... Internal pressure players feel, external pressure from family, friends, fans some people let it affect more than others. He's a sensitive kid and there's no doubt he lost his confidence. He's trying as hard as he can to help his team."
The best way to help Wright is to allow him to play outside of his own head and strictly on instinct. That means focusing on doing what he does better than any player in UC history -- steal the basketball, play defense. When focusing on defense, deflections and activity he can relax and let his natural skill override any mental block. (By the way, this is a big reason Mick doesn't talk about offense being the problem all the time, like so many fans wish he would)
Cronin pointed directly to the Villanova game when his 14 deflections inspired his team to an absurd 46 deflections on the night and beating the Wildcats by 18 points.
"I got to do a better job making sure his mind is on defense and leadership," Cronin said. "Lose himself in the game getting us steals."
Anybody that has followed this team and the career of Wright wants to see him regain his form down the stretch. The guy in so many ways defined the great teams of the last few years with his grit, hustle and defensive ability pacing this team. Still time left to make it happen.
Everybody remembers the guy from this highlight video. Maybe Mick showing him some of this will refresh the mojo.
Let's eat ...
--- Yesterday, I wrote about the fact UC is not on the bubble here. Also, discussed it on the podcast with Fox Sports Ohio's Kevin Goheen along with many other topics. You can listen to that here and subscribe to the podcast through iTunes here. Anyway, both allow a realistic look at where the Bearcats sit in relation to the tournament.
The bigger point of the post, however, involved a point Mick talked about last night with Dan and Chuck. The focus shouldn't be as much about if this team is getting into the tournament or not, but rather about finding a way to make a run when they get there. Getting to The Dance makes a man feel nice, but that's been done here before and the expectations are higher than that.
Here's Mick on the topic:
"Getting in is great and I know that's what everyone wants," Cronin said. "To me, you want to be playing well or what's the point. I don't believe in playing in tournaments for funsies. Whether the Big East touranment, NCAA, preseason NIT, I don't believe in playing in tournaments for funsies to say hey we were in it. I'd like to get us to where we are playing well."
--- Jay Bilas ranked the six most clutch players in college basketball and slotted Sean Kilpatrick as third. Here's the video.
--- UC-UConn on Saturday at 2 p.m. will be on Cincinnati-CW, aka, it's complicated. Here's the TV details you need to know so you don't miss it.
--- I went on with Lance McAlister last week and when I posted for people to listen on Twitter I came off the interview to see a bunch of angry mentions in my feed. I don't know exactly why UC fans have such a problem with Lance other than he's doing his job to keep people talking. I thoroughly enjoyed being on his show and think he cares about his job and local sports about as much as anybody in any media business around here.
He has a great take here on his blog regarding the Mick Cronin extremists who immediately call for a coach's firing for some reason. It's not exclusive to him, the same is the case for Dusty Baker, Marvin Lewis and really any coach that continues to take teams to the playoffs around here. Why do we do this?
If you have a year at your job that is considered among the top 25 percent or better in your business, do you expect to be fired? Should you be fired? If UC makes the tourney this year, that would mean since 2010, 7 of 9 seasons of Reds, Bengals and UC hoops would end in the postseason. Yet, all we hear about are the need to fire all three. Certainly an odd development.
--- Just when you start to jump on the Villanova bandwagon they lose in insane fashion to Seton Hall, who hadn't won in 33 days. Devastating blow for the schizophrenic Wildcats. The result was actually good for UC's chase for seeding in the BET. If they can end up tied with Nova they would own the tiebreaker head-to-head. They are currently 1 1/2 games back.
--- Really tough news out of the combine yesterday as Walter Stewart was red-flagged because of injury and not allowed to participate. He's hoping to participate in UC's pro day on March 14. A situation that has been in the air since the initial diagnosis midseason endures the latest odd turn.
--- UC Spring Practice begins Friday in the bubble. The first practice of the Tommy Tuberville era is nearly here. Keep it locked here at GoBearcats.com for all your spring ball information and storylines.
--- Big weekend for all sports on campus, actually. UC hoops home game Saturday, followed by women's game for a doubleheader. First home series for UC baseball with games Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
--- BTW, the women are heating up. They earned their second-consecutive win and have taken three of four. Saturday was their first blowout of Big East play as they throttled Providence by 19.
Dayeesha Hollins, who Ashley Davis wrote about earlier this season, was named to the Big East Honor Roll. Hollins averaged 17 points and 4.5 assists in two wins last week.
Saturday will be another winnable game as Rutgers (5-8 in BE) comes to town.
--- Baseball got their first win of the season on the always popular walkoff hit-by-pitch. No pain.
--- Two of the biggest questions in the branching off of the Catholic 7 is who will get the Big East name and who will get Madison Square Garden. They probably should go hand in hand. It's looking more and more like the Catholic 7 will be taking the BE with them, which, historically makes the most sense.
--- NBC is led by some of the worst decision-making I've seen since my mid-20s. Nobody should be surprised their ratings are in the tank.
--- Michigan State Community Coalition is begging students not to burn couches. Somewhere, West Virginia points and laughs with gasoline in one hand and tear-stained ticket stubs from another Big 12 loss in the other.
--- You got to love the Musburgers on this guy.
--- If you like Patton Oswalt as I do, you'll enjoy this short (10 min) documentary of him.
--- Sports Pickle with the 10 ugliest college basketball uniforms of all time. I will take the UK Cat Claw unis from the 90s as my No.1 even thought they rank them third.
--- I'm not sure how Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z will be on tour, but they are playing some massive arenas. I'm sure it won't be cheap, but I'd pay double if I could have been at Hova's Unplugged performance back in the day. Heart of the City is still one of my favorites since that show.
Enjoy the day everybody and remember to shoot and comments, questions or your own freestyle raps to firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter @pauldehnerjr.