Tuesday, February 23, 2010

UC's Still On The Bubble? Really?

Does anyone else think it's comical that (ESPN bracketologist) Joe Lunardi's current projections have UC among the first four teams to miss the NCAA tournament?

This is not to suggest that Joe Lunardi is an idiot; in fact, I'm pretty sure quite the opposite is true. ESPN employs one bracketologist -- only one -- and Lunardi is their man. He gets paid to be bloody accurate when projecting each year's tourney. So, anyway, Lunardi is just doing his job. And if he places UC very much in contention for an at-large bid, I believe him. I need you to know that.

I need him to know that.

I believe you, Joe Lunardi. Really, I do.

What I find comical is why UC remains in contention. The Fighting Cincinnati Bearcats are in contention, essentially, because they defeated Maryland and Vanderbilt on a neutral floor (in Maui).

This happened before Thanksgiving.

Vanderbilt and Maryland have improved dramatically since the Maui Invitational (especially Vandy), while UC has quite obviously regressed.

What was true then -- UC being better than Vandy and Maryland -- is nowehere near true now. But this isn't about Maryland or Vanderbilt. This is about UC laughingly receiving consideration due to its body of work.

This is not a tournament-worthy team.

If this team displayed the type of passion they did in those Maui wins -- or even the passion displayed in devastating losses to Xavier, Gonzaga and Pitt (all played more than six weeks ago) -- I'd still argue for UC's inclusion into the tournament.

But I can't. This is a hard team to argue for. Aside from a win at UConn against the enigmatic Huskies, these Bearcats have been an embarrassing mess on the road. It's not the losses that kill me; it's the consistent inability to stay in games when things aren't going their way. I see no fight in them. The Notre Dame and South Florida blowouts were particularly disturbing. That crap you hear every season about controlling your own destiny was true about these Bearcats (it still is, technically, but let's be serious), and on recent trips to South Bend and Tampa -- with absolutely everything on the line, facing teams with less overall talent -- they laid eggs.

Huggins wouldn't have let this happen. His teams always dug a little deeper. He gave them no other choice.

Do I think Cronin deserves 100 percent of the blame for this? You betcha.

Do I want to see the little guy fired? My answer is on the way.

-Brad Spieser (Brad@TwinKilling.com)