Afternoon links: Adreian Payne, Superman

What we’re reading ... (And as alweays, submit links via Twitter.

  • Jason King chronicles the friendship Adreian Payne formed with Lacey Holsworth, an eight-year old Michigan State fan fighting for her life. It’s a sincere and beautiful bond between a young girl and the player she calls “Superman,” and, hey, who started chopping onions in my apartment?

  • Kansas, as you know, has at least a few future NBA stars on its roster. But what about the NFL? Center Tarik Black has already garnered tight-end conversion attention — from none other than Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. "He said, ‘I want to try that guy at tight end,’" Self said. "I said, ‘Tight end? He can’t go across the middle and get hit.’" But then I started thinking about it ... they (NFL teams) love to have basketball players. He [Rodgers] said, ‘I want to throw balls at him and see what he can do.’ Certainly [Black] is a phenomenal athlete for his size.’”

  • Looking for early NCAA tournament Cinderella candidates? Allow us to suggest Green Bay.

  • Insider’s John Gasaway tries to answer a bedeviling question: Just who is Arizona’s MVP?

  • Here’s a wild stat to close things out. From ESPN Stats and Info: “Elias tells us that this is the first time in 30 years that that none of the top nine teams in the AP Poll come from the same conference. It last happened in the poll of January 31, 1984. In all, 11 different conferences are represented in the top-25 this week.” The word “parity” is among college basketball’s most egregiously overused. But this season, it fits.