There's a media availability with Mick Cronin and players this afternoon. Pretty good chance we talk about St. John's second-half thrashing of UConn.
I will do the same here in a bit. Expect something posted from the availability here either later today or sometime this weekend from what comes out of the session.
As always, if any major news comes out of it, I'll be posting it on Twitter. (Follow me here, or not, making demands is unbecoming)
--- Quick story about St. John's 89-72 win against UConn last night. I watched most of the first half, but unfortuantely, the beginning of the second half was matched up against Community. And Community is the Green Bay Packers of my TV watching week, so it took a back seat. But with a 35-31 game at halftime, it was bound to be close, I figured it would work out perfect to watch the final 8-10 minutes.
Upon flipping back with 11 minutes left, St. John's was ahead 70-48.
I can't explain exactly what happened during those 10 minutes except apparently Dwight Hardy caught NBA Jam-style fire. He's heating up! (I know, I know, two days in a row with NBA Jam references, but some are impossible to resist).
UConn is the No. 1 FG defense in the Big East and STJ popped 54 on them in the second half and 89 overall. Think about that.
Most importantly, what does this mean for UC?
Well, the win at St. John's looks much better this morning. It may not have been the Garden, but was at their house. This list of teams have attempted and failed to beat STJ at their place (ranking at time): No. 9 UConn, Rutgers, No. 3 Duke, No. 11 Notre Dame, No. 13 Georgetown, then-undefeated Northwestern.
Who has won at STJ lately? Syracuse and Cincinnati.
That means something.
A follower asked me what this means for Sunday's game against the Bearcats.
One, the Johnnies are rolling in with a ton of confidence. Overconfidence could play in, maybe?
Maybe not. Here's a quote from Hardy after last night's game (via MSG insider John Rothstein): "When we play like this, it's fun to watch us. We still have to prove this on the road."
St. John's, like many across the country, still struggle to put it together on the road. But, it's much more complicated than that even for those following the team. How can a team that only posted 51 points against UC and looked clueless on offense score that in one half against a team like UConn?
Great tweet from Brendan Prunty of the Newark Star-Ledger following the game: "Trying to figure out St. John's is like trying to figure out where Space ends. It's literally enough to make you pass out."
Two, this game doesn't mean quite as much for the Red Storm with more pad on their resume. It does, however, mean the same for the Bearcats. They still need this one badly and boasting two wins against a team it very well could be placed up against on the bubble Selection Sunday could go a long, long way.
--- Here's a column on St. John's being in the NCAA conversation. I only link because judging by the first graph the NY Daily News columnist thinks the NCAA tournament is April Madness.
--- Dan Hoard wrote about the end of the Villanova-Rutgers game making him feel better about the end of the UC-DePaul game. I missed this yesterday, but still deserves your attention.
--- Mick Cronin sits down with Tommy G and previews St. John's and Louisville.
--- Cronin spoke on the Big East teleconference yesterday. Here's the highlights of what he had to say:
On game vs. DePaul:
"Just like everybody else we're just trying to scrap and find a way to win in our conference. I'm happy with the win against DePaul. I think too many teams in a scenario when a team is expected to beat another team due to their records, a team like DePaul doesn't get credit for playing the way they played in the second half. Their team made a lot of shots. They played extremely well on the offensive end. They are to be commended for their play. Instead of people wondering why you didn't beat them by 'x' amount of points. So we're happy with the win."
On Yancy Gates:
"He's no different than any other guy on my team. Simple rules. I think Hubie Brown said it best: You're going to know when to pass, when to shoot; You're going to play hard on every play; You're going to play defense and rotate or you're not going to play for us and we don't care who you are. I don't ask him to do anything I don't ask the other guys to do. Just try to be the best player you can be every day. Make sure we're giving our best effort and giving ourselves the best chance to win. That being said, Yancy is a guy tha,t when he plays well and he gives us some inside presence on both ends of the floor, obviously it makes us a better team. But we have some other guys who have played well. Ibrahima Thomas has really played well in our last few games and really taken the pressure off some other people. He's getting the ball in the basket around the rim. I'm really happy for him."
On game vs. St. John's:
"Huge game for us on Sunday and obviously for St. John's as well. The bulk of the teams that are in the middle of pack right now, you're scrapping and crawling for every win you can get. Trying to find a way to make sure you have a winning record in the BIG EAST conference. It's a lot easier said than done."
--- The Naismith midseason top 30 list was released. Five were from the Big East. Pitt's Ashton Gibbs wasn't one of them.
--- The McDonald's All-Americans were announced for this year. No Bearcats. Kentucky (4), Duke (3), Louisville (3), Syracuse (2), UNC (2). The Usual Suspects.
--- Wait...Tim Higgins blew a huge call that cost a team a game!? Stop the presses! (Do we still have those?)
--- A piece of me wishes UC had a superfan like Wild Bill. The other 98 percent is absolutely thrilled they dont.
--- Luke Winn's fantastic power rankings, fresh from the nerdery.
--- Kevin Youkilis has always been a proud former Bearcats player, now he's putting his money where his mouth is.
--- The Bearcats soccer team is giving back in the community as well.
--- John Goebel wasn't the only football player to recieve academic honors.
--- Some Friday randomness keeps it simple...
--- Good to see Cavs fans have moved beyond denial and anger and appear to be entering acceptance.
And it's hilarious. I recommend listening to the whole song, it improves with time.