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The Morning After: UC 68, Villanova 50

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Few links to read in case you haven't before you jump into my three extra points from the day after the Bearcats bounceback win against Nova.

Here's the game highlights, including some sweet dance moves from our guy Drew Seidenberger, basketball ops director.

Selfishly, you should start with my column on the throwback win that began and ended with Cashmere Wright on the floor. Talk all you want about the offense, and he's still working his way back there as his knee heals, but nobody can doubt the heart. In the end, that wiill be the first statement of Cash's UC legacy.

The HOFer Mike DeCourcy did a fantastic job taking a deeper look at Cash's battle as his career winds down.

park.jpgAmazing Mike was able to churn out such greatness all while being absurdly MF'ed on The Twitters. He posted a tweet about Wildcats players having problems standing up during the game. He had clearly been tweeting from UC-Nova all night, but some UK people got a hold of it, and the tweet spread with people thinking he was ripping on Nerlens Noel, who injured his knee in a game against Florida going on at the same time.

Without anybody bothering to look at what Mike was actually talking about or paying attention to instant stream of clarifications after, the ire of an angry Kentucky fan base knows no logic. Oh, social media. You are a blessing and a curse. Purple heart of the night goes to Mike for cranking out a great piece as his mentions exploded in four-letter shrapnel in front of him. 

Wanted to hit on three points we couldn't get to in last night's column.

1) Make no mistake, the pressure was beginning to mount on UC. Sean Kilpatrick said the moment he walked into the locker room Tuesday, he could only comment on the weight lifted off his shoulders coming off the two-game losing streak.

"Yes, (it was a relief), as soon as I walked in the locker room I was like it's good to have that monkey off our back. We've been scrapping and clawing. The last two games it wasn't pretty especially knowing we are capable of playing better than what we did the last two games. It's all a grind."

Mick often talks about how much he's learned over the last few years about the need to keep the distractions from creeping in the locker room. He believes it's been a big reason for the team's success, particularly late in the year as attention and pressure mounts. But, as he explains, you just can't keep everyone out. Not in this day and age.

"I'm sure they were (relieved)," Cronin said. "It's hard to insulate your team from external pressures. That is the biggest change in coaching from the 90s."

2) Lost in the shuffle of Sean Kilpatrick's 3-point bombs and Cashmere Wright's true grit was the re-emergence of JaQuon Parker's aggressiveness on offense. The 19 points where the most he scored since December against Wright State. In fact, he hadn't topped 12 points once in conference play.

When we all talk about looking for more offense from somewhere, Parker could be that guy if he asserts himself.

If you take a look, he's actually been the most efficient player on offense, he just picks his spots more carefully. The two likely go hand in hand, but as Cronin pointed out, taking only four shots as he did against Pitt "can't happen. We can't win that way."

He now leads the Bearcats in 3-point percentage (42 percent) and his splits in aggressiveness on offense between non-conference play (particularly against the tougher non-con teams) and conference play is significant. More on that later this week.

"He has to be aggressive on the offensive end," Cronin said. "Sometimes that's my fault because I talk about making the extra pass, getting each other shots, and he's so into doing what I ask him to do that I can't take his aggressiveness away."

Sidenote, is there anything more fun to watch on this team than 6-foot-4 Parker grabbing rebounds from opposing centers? Happens every game and has for years.

3) A highlight of Wright's legacy is likely to come Friday where with his first steal will make him the school's all-time leader in that category. He's currently tied with David "Puffy" Kennedy at 189. Kennedy played in early 80s and is actually the father of former St. John's star and current D-Leaguer for the Erie BayHawks, DJ Kennedy. If anybody can help me track down Puffy, let me know. I'm on a mission. #FindPuffy

Pretty funny, actually, as SK decided to open the postgame presser last night with a statement of his own in regards to Cash not breaking the record last night. Here's the video.

"Personally, I think they should have gave Cash one more to be the all-time leader in steals and whoever didn't make that calculation is going to have to deal with us. This guy over here worked his butt of today and I think he deserves to have at least one more steal because he set a record for the team today with 14 deflections. So I don't see why he didn't get one of those steals."

I want to hear from you! Shoot me an email with questions, comments or your favorite Puffy memories to pauldehnerjr@gmail.com or hit me up on Twitter at @pauldehnerjr.

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