If you didn't attend the Mick Cronin radio show last night, you missed all-you-can eat ribs at the Montgomery Inn for $19.95 (the promotion runs through Thursday).
If you weren't there or didn't listen to the show on 700 WLW, you missed Coach Cronin addressing the biggest questions that Bearcat fans were asking after the Marquette game.
Question: Why wasn't Yancy Gates in the game for the last seven minutes of regulation and overtime?
Mick: "We were up 58-54 and they went on a 7-0 run to take the lead while we had some guys in the game - he being one of them - that I thought were breaking us down defensively (Note: It was actually 56-52 with a 9-2 run by Marquette). We get a lineup in the game that was able to go from 61-58 down, to 64-61 up by getting numerous defensive stops. So we go from down three to up three with a defensive lineup in the game by getting stops. The hardest thing sometimes is that you want to play a guy offensively but you can't take him out defensively. I thought we had the game under control with the lineup we had in the game. We gave up a "3" that tied the game at 64 and then we went right back and took another three point lead. We missed a free throw and at that point I was going to keep my best defensive lineup in there and
Question: Did you consider putting Yancy back in on offense for the final play of regulation?
Mick: "I thought about it, but in a late-game situation if you put a big guy in for offense - I don't care if it's Yancy Gates or Tim Duncan - the easiest thing if you're going to try to run a play for a big guy is to double-team him. So if you put him in to throw him the ball, they're going to double-team him and now you risk turning the ball over and not even getting a shot off. You're putting him in a bad situation there. At that point, you're trying to get the ball to a guard who can drive into the lane and have our better shooters in the game to spread them out."
Question: Why is Lance Stephenson struggling?
Mick: "It's playing with four other people. It's not that he doesn't want to. It's a lifetime of, 'Here's the ball and we'll all watch you play,' to now trying to play with other people and letting me get him shots through our offense. The tough part about it is that he had some really good practices leading up to the game. His competitiveness gets the best of him at times where . . . say somebody scores on him like (USF's) Dominique Jones. He comes down and immediately shoots the ball to try to score back on Dominique Jones. You can't do that - you've gotta just play the game. In the
Question: What has happened to Lance's swagger? Is his confidence shot?
Mick: "I don't think his confidence is shot by any stretch of the imagination. He knows he can play - I have to help him score again in a way that's conducive to us winning games. Part of that is getting him more attempts, but they have to be quality attempts. It's got to be off of one or two dribbles - not seven or eight dribbles. It's all a matter of helping him get through it as a coach. It's hard to be confident when you're not making shots. We have to get him the shots that he's most confident of making, which are 17 feet and in. That's where he makes them every day in practice."
I don't remember the question, but Mick had this to say about the team's inconsistency.
"Inconsistency from all of our players has been a problem and I'm responsible for that. I'm their coach, so at the end of the day I take blame for everything - trust me. Nobody beats themselves up more than I do about replaying situations and trying to get guys to be more consistent. That's my job."
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I had a couple of requests at last night's show for an updated photo of the handsome lad, so here is 3 ½ year old Sam Hoard.