Heard it From Hoard: Column 72
Add John Thompson III to the list.
In the last 1 1/2 years, Mick Cronin has wins over Rick Pitino, Jim Boeheim, Jamie Dixon, Jay Wright, Bob Huggins, and JT III.
In fact, his record against those coaches since the start of last year is 6-4 despite being an underdog in all 10 games.
Does that qualify Mick for the Hall of Fame? Nope, but it is pretty good evidence that the guy can coach.
Following the Georgetown win, the Enquirer's Paul Daugherty wrote that he normally gives college coaches three years to prove their worth, but in Mick's case he's making it four due to the mess he inherited.
I don't necessarily agree with Doc's formula, but it should mean a thumbs-up for Mick next year when Cincinnati has virtually everybody back and adds Cashmere Wright, Ibrahima Thomas, Sean Kilpatrick, and a backup point guard to be named later (I think).
Compare that to the rest of the BIG EAST. Marquette and Providence will be gutted like the shark in Jaws, and UConn, Pitt, Louisville, and Notre Dame will suffer huge losses as well. Of the elite teams in the conference, only Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia, and maybe Georgetown (if Greg Monroe stays) figure to have most of their key players back. That bodes well for the Bearcats.
Of course, there's plenty of basketball left this year and Cincinnati still has a shot at the NCAA tournament. Let's play the "projection game."
UC is 14-7 overall, 4-4 in the BIG EAST, with the following games remaining:
Home: Notre Dame, St. John's, Louisville, West Virginia, Seton Hall Road: Villanova, Georgetown, Pitt, Syracuse, USF.
I'll be conservative. Let's say they beat St. John's and Seton Hall at home. If UC could then win one more home game (Notre Dame, Louisville, or WVU) and one of the five road games, the 'Cats would be 18-13 overall and 8-10 in the BIG EAST.
That would at least give them an outside shot at March Madness with a couple of wins in the BIG EAST tournament.
Add one more home win, and UC would be 19-12, 9-9 and on the NCAA bubble going to New York.
If Cincinnati does not make the NCAA tourney, its chances of postseason play are still promising since there are now FOUR postseason events: NCAA, NIT, CBI and CollegeInsider.com Tournament. That means 129 teams will qualify for postseason play! Believe it or not, that's still lower by percentage than the number of college football teams that go to bowl games.
I mentioned in my last column that I saw UC recruit Sean Kilpatrick in action recently. I got a stats update this week from Mike McMahon from Notre Dame Prep who tells me that Sean is averaging 20.1 points through 20 games. His single-game high is 39 and he had 27 point efforts against prep powerhouses Winchedon School and Brewster Academy.
Special thanks to all of you who attended Mick's radio show on Monday. We had great give-and-take with the audience and forked over some nice prizes. I won't be there next week, but Mick, Chuck, and Mo would love to see you there.
While stuck indoors during the big winter storm this week, I read a story by my favorite sportswriter Joe Posnanski that absolutely floored me. It's not new, but check this out and tell me it isn't one of the best things you've ever read.
Another website that I find interesting is NBAdraft.net which does updated projections of the next two NBA drafts on a constant basis. I have no idea if the people behind it know what they're talking about, but they currently have 12 BIG EAST players getting picked this year, including six non-seniors. The breakdown by team is UConn (3), Louisville (2), Georgetown (2), Marquette (2), Pitt (2), and West Virginia (1).
I'd love to hear from you. The address is email@example.com.
Enjoy this week's photo of the handsome lad rockin' a new haircut.