It's hard to believe it's only been 11 days.
On February 13th after the home loss to
Consecutive wins over
"Winning does help," head coach Mick Cronin told me. "Especially when you beat a team like
But the team started to regain its confidence before the
"You have to get a fresh mindset," Cronin said. "It's a long year and you have to give your guys some perspective. I wanted everybody to understand that we were 19-6 at the time - that's a pretty good year. We had to get guys focused again and in a positive frame of mind."
Wednesday's stunning 58-46 win at #11
"People say, 'You need to get in for you.' No I don't - I'll be OK no matter what happens," Cronin said. "I just don't think that way. I think along the lines of team improvement and program improvement. Obviously I like the way we're playing right now. We're playing extremely hard, unselfish basketball. Every man that goes in is focused-in on the defensive end. When you have guys that are bought-in defensively the way we are right now, it's easy to coach."
In the win over
"They're such a rhythm team that it's almost like a symphony the way they run their half-court offense," Coach Cronin said. "I just think you're foolish if you're just going to play them half-court man-to-man and let them get into that rhythm. If you continue to change, it eliminates any rhythm for them and that was our goal."
With a three game Big East winning streak, all is well in Bearcat nation. As the players walk around campus on Thursday, they'll undoubtedly be showered with praise. But just as Coach Cronin did not want them to listen to their doubters 11 days ago, he does not want them to crave compliments now.
"With all due respect to everybody, we don't seek approval outside of our locker room." Mick told me. "That can't be why you play the game or coach the game. You have to coach and play for the love of the game and know that you're trying to do your best. At the end of the day, life is empty if you've living it for the approval of other people. You can't play the game for other people because their opinion can change at a moment's notice. You lose a game and it changes real quick."
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