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The Inbox Is Full

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Here we go again.

 

The Bearcats lost a game as a 4 ½-point underdog and my in-box is flooded with angry e-mail.

 

Let's see . . . you're tired of excuses.  You can't believe that Deonta Vaughn said the Bearcats "relaxed too much" with a 12-point lead at Seton Hall.  You think it's time for a coaching change.    

 

Duly noted.

 

I'm not here to tell you that everything is perfect, but why did the season suddenly end with a loss on January 9th?

 

The Bearcats are 11-5 overall and 2-2 in the Big East.  They have three wins over Top 25 opponents and have had one horrible performance (at UAB).  My hope for this season was to see the team return to the NCAA Tournament.  I still think that is realistic.

 

Mick Cronin finally has enough talent to have a fighting chance in the Big East.  That doesn't mean that UC has more talent than Villanova, West Virginia, Syracuse or UConn, but it does mean that he's no longer bringing a water pistol to a gun fight. 

 

I don't know if/when Mick will lift the Bearcats to national prominence, but I do know this:  He's a Cincinnati guy who took on the challenge of rebuilding the program even though he knew it could get ugly.  The fact that he inherited a disgruntled fan base hasn't made the job any easier.  That doesn't make Mick immune to criticism, but I do think he deserves a realistic evaluation. 

 

As for Deonta's postgame comments, I think we put too much stock in what college kids say a few minutes after a difficult loss.  Did the Bearcats relax for a moment when they got up by 12?  Perhaps, but it wasn't like they completely stopped trying.  UC blew the lead because it started turning the ball over and giving up fast-break baskets.  It didn't help that Yancy Gates and Rashad Bishop were on the bench with foul trouble. 

 

There are 14 games left in the regular season.  The next three (at St. John's, home against Notre Dame and USF) are crucial, and if the Bearcats come through, they will be near the top of the Big East standings.

 

The Seton Hall game is over.  The season isn't.

 

I'd love to hear from you.  The address is dhoard@pawsox.com.

 

And if you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard

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