Let's talk about that schedule shall we?
No one is going to suggest that the Bearcats face a brutal non-conference slate this year. But is it really drastically different from the rest of the Big East? And more importantly, what does it mean?
Here's a highly unscientific look at every team in the Big East and what I consider to be their tough* non-league games.
(By tough, I'm going with opponents from major conferences or teams that are traditionally good. Some of them are probably not so good this year, and I'm sure I've left out a few small conference schools that have solid teams. I have included mid-majors like
Notre Dame (5):
Rutgers (5): at Princeton,
Seton Hall (8):
USF (5): BYU,
Villanova (5): UCLA,
That's an average of 4.7 "tough games" per school and many of the toughest games have come in early season tournaments.
So what about UC? I would put four games in the "tough" category:
Similarly, it will be interesting to see how much credit the Bearcats will receive if they are able to win at
The bigger question is "What does it mean?"
We know the Big East is going to brutal. Based on the current AP rankings,
Playing a less-challenging schedule before facing that gauntlet has benefits beyond piling up wins.
"I think it allows us to stay in a good frame of mind," Coach Cronin told me. "If you're winning, guys are receptive to coaching. We're trying to build a style of play with our pressure defense, and we're trying to share the ball on the offensive end. It's given us some time to really work on those things."
But will this schedule prepare the Bearcats for the start of Big East play in two weeks?
"We play against Big East players every day in practice," Coach Cronin said. "As (
It's hard to argue that they haven't been improving.
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At this point of the season, is anyone in college basketball shooting the ball better than Rashad Bishop?
In his last two games, Bishop has made all 11 of his field goal attempts (including five 3-pointers), and for the season he's a perfect 17-for-17 from the line. The senior is shooting 58% overall and 58% (14-for-24) from outside the arc.
"He's been great in practice and his mind is in a great place," Coach Cronin said. "He's given us great leadership just by the way that he's playing. He's got the senior sense of urgency and I'm proud of him because it's taken me three years to get him to assert himself and put in the extra time. Darren Savino has done a great job with Rashad. Being from
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Thursday night's Mick Cronin Radio Show at the Original Montgomery Inn will be preceded by the annual "Struggle for the Steak" dinner. Chuck and Mo tied for the top spot last year meaning I have to don the Montgomery Inn apron (with the "Loser" name tag) and serve up the feast.
We'll be joined by the winner of the online version of the contest - Larry Crawford. If you would like to compete for great prizes including a seat at the dinner table next year, don't forget to sign up and play at struggleforthesteak.com. The online version starts with the beginning of Big East play in two weeks.
I'd love to hear from you. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard
Enjoy this week's photo of the handsome lad.