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Sunday Conversation: A Shootout masterclass

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One coach stole the headlines, but the other one stole the game.

NCAA Basketball: Cincinnati at Xavier Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

There’s really only one thing to talk about this Sunday morning, and it’s the beat down that X just put on UC in the Shootout.

Joel: Out of respect to Coach Mack, let's start with how awesome that was rather than what a butt clown Mick Cronin is. Xavier came out and beat UC by going right at UC's perceived strengths. How about that?

Brad: That first play with the high-low action was beautiful. Not only was it a gorgeous play, it sent the message that we’re going to attack them where they lived. That set a tone for the whole game. I’ve praised Gary Clark in the past for his motor, but he was anonymous today he needed 15 shots to get 14 points. He had taken 13 threes this year, he took five today. He just wanted no part of Tyrique and then no part of Kaiser. He was a beaten man and it was kind of shocking to see.

Joel: I know Tre dropped 28, but Kaiser had an MVP performance. He needed just 6 shots to score 10 points, he had 10 boards and helped set the tone inside, and he absolutely clamped down Gary Clark. Xavier was just the bigger, meaner team to the point that it almost looked like bullying, and that's down in large part to how Kaiser played. Clark didn't know what to do with him, to the point where he was just bouncing off his chest and forcing up hopeless shots. It was beautiful.

Bryan: I recall after one of the UNI games last year that Coach Mack questioned Kaiser's toughness, saying something along the lines of he was playing like he had a leg amputated, not scoped. Anyway, the dude played grown man ball today. Their complete inability to do anything inside was the difference, and as good as Kaiser was on Clark, Jones, O'Mara, and Kanter held Washington scoreless. Plan A didn't work, and Cronin was too clueless to do anything else for a half hour of game time.

Joel: He's just a really bad coach. He's going to win a lot of games because of that conference, but his presence limits the team's ceiling. I love it. At no point did he look like having answers today.

By comparison, how about Chris Mack? Remember the offense he ran when he first took over? All ball screens and dribbling around. Completely different look now. He has also peeled away from straight man defense to a variety of looks. Mick Cronin is still drawing on the wall of his cave with paint pigmented by his own poop compared to what Coach Mack is doing. He's just miles ahead.

Brad: Mack outcoached him during the game, and then crushed him in the press conferences. It was essentially four straight hours of Xavier dominance.

We're getting away from the game here, though, and that's what Mick wants. What jumps out at me here, is that Xavier took apart an alleged elite defensive team without really playing its best ball. 1.19 points per possession is good, but not great, and 16 turnovers should lose you a game. X was just so much better today that it didn't matter that they weren't razor sharp.Despite that deceptive flurry in which UC never really improved their chances of winning, the Musketeers basically won this at a trot.

Bryan: I think it had a lot to do with the fact that UC was unable to overcome when Xavier challenged them on the glass, and did not look like they had a plan if that happened. It was down to how bad they were that it was never really a contest.

Still, credit to our guys for knowing their game plan and not letting them execute it. Last year, we all knew what UC was going to do and then they did it, so you have to give our guys (especially the post defenders) credit for keeping them quiet.