The Bearcats finally cracked the Top 25 polls...just in time for the most challenging week of the season thus far.
As suspected, UC entered into the bottom of the AP (No. 24) and Coaches (25). At 14-0, they were the only team in Big East history to be undefeated that many games into the season and be unranked.
Of course, what does this mean?
Critics are still waiting for the wheels to come off and they'll catapult you up in the same fashion they'll toss you back down. Just ask anybody on last year's Bearcats who were ranked No. 19 when they lost to Xavier.
"We've been doing fine without it," Cronin said. "I lost respect for those polls over the last month, seeing some of the teams that have been ranked with home losses and losses to low-to-mid majors."
--- ESPN's Andy Katz took notice of the Bearcats and wrote this piece on their rise to 14-0. He's slightly more measured and living in reality than Jerry Palm.
Luckily, we are almost at the point where people can stop beating this non-conference schedule storyline to death.
--- Sully's Blog at Boston.com thinks the Bearcats the No. 1 team On The Rise right now. So really, what else is there to accomplish this season?
--- Evan Hilbert at Fanhouse wins the Hater of the Day award as he decides to take shots at the Bearcats during this week preview.
--- Adam Zagoria has a nice story with Lance Stephenson when he returned to the Garden with Indiana. Lance has yet to see the floor this year, staying inactive for games. Zags talks about the humility Stephenson is learning in his first year in the NBA.
--- Per Lance McAlister and Bearcat Banter, this nugget: UC has 10 games remaining vs the current RPI Top 25. No other non-Big East team in the Top 25 has more than four.
--- St. John's and Georgetown waged the game of the year to this point in the Big East last night. An incredible finish with St. John's winning on the back of PG Dwight Hardy.
Sidenote: Bill Raftery on the call and gave an "Onions!" and a "Lingerie!" call in the final minute. The guy makes every game better. Just one time I want him to work with Gus, then my head would explode and I would die a happy man.
The Johnnies are 3-0 in conference with wins @WVU, @Providence and now at home against Georgetown. When STJ was losing to Fordham and St. Bonnies it looked like a blessing for UC to have St. John's on the schedule twice. Not so much anymore.
Rush the Court gushes over the possibility of the Red Storm being relevant again. Of course, as almost per typical in the brutal Big East, STJ now plays SEVEN consecutive games against teams ranked in the Top 25. That includes home vs. UC on Jan. 22.
--- Around the BE: UConn at ND tonight, as well as Pitt at Providence (upset alert).
--- Matt Norlander talks about Xavier, the multitude of setbacks they have overcome and where they are at heading into the shootout.
If Norlander's new CBS blog still isn't on your bookmarks, it should be.
--- Randy Edsall's move to Maryland only added to what is becoming the predominant problem in the Big East. The inability to keep coaches from moving to "bigger, better jobs" is exactly why they will never be the "biggest, best conference."
Greg Schiano is now the only Big East coach to be at his HC job for more than two full seasons.
--- By the way, for those of you who are curious what is inside that massive white structure on Jefferson Ave., here are shots from inside the bubble.
--- On to some randomness...
--- Sean Rhiney talks about the 10 things to watch this year in Cincinnati. I, for one, can't wait for the Banks to be operational.
--- Kansas went with an off-the-backboard-alley-oop last night. Not as high of degree of difficulty as it sounds against a non-existent Miami (Ohio) defense of a fast break, but pretty ill nonetheless.
--- I actually lived 10 minutes from where this happened for nine excruciating months, I only assume all these birds were allergic to ignorance and Rotelle.
--- Andrew Luck was the best player on the field last night in the Orange Bowl, but he didn't make the best play. Somebody needs to convince me that Tyrod Taylor can't help an NFL team in some way.
--- Buster Douglas is playing it safe with SafeAuto, but not with this commercial. I'm still trying to figure out what the hell is going on here.
--- Muppets with people eyes sends me right into the fetal position.