It's pretty much a shame that I didn't take the opportunity presented to me to go to Big East media day, because I would have been the only Cincinnati person there. You go to the Enquirer website, nothing. You go to Go Bearcats, nothing. They have the same amount posted as me. Actually less, because I talked about the media poll. I understand cutbacks and everything, but could someone pretend to give a shit about basketball?
Up until about 5 years ago, that's all anyone talked about. Now, you can't find 4 stories about anything. Cincinnati had an honorable mention Big East selection, but is that mentioned anywhere? No. That's not the biggest thing since sliced bread, but it's still something. Only 14 players got mentions, and Yancy Gates was one of them. I find this baffling since nearly every Big East blog that I read, whether it's Nunes, or the UConn Blog, or Card Chronicle or the Nova Blog or anything really, they have basketball news overflowing. UC has dick. I should link those sites, but I'm not. I follow them all on twitter, and they are all SB Nation blogs, so check them out.
No one who is paid to write about Cincinnati writes about basketball. It's pretty off putting. Out of the two stories the Enquirer had yesterday, 1 was about how UC was picked 12th, with the top half of the article reading like an AP piece about how Jamie Dixon knew Pitt was picked to finish high. The second was a piece about Steve Lavin and St effing John's and a generic Big East roundup that you could have seen anywhere. This is ridiculous. Do you know why I went to UC? 74% of it was for basketball. The other 26% of it was for the ladies. Is my outrage over this all for nothing? Do any of you give a shit? What has happened that has no one caring? Let's bullet point some theories.
- Mick Cronin is a dead man walking. As my friend Pico at the East Coast Bias pointed out to me yesterday, there was no support among Big East coaches for Mick Cronin. Norm Roberts got support, Fred
ThompsonHill got support, Bobby Gonzalez probably got support. But no one said a thing about the Cronin and the hot seat he is on. It's like no one cares if he makes it through the season or not. I'm on Mick's side, and wrote a piece last season about how he deserved a shot this year. No offense to the guys this year, but no one is blown away by the recruits coming in. The big get of Lance Stephenson last season didn't really pay off. Despite UC getting a top 25 ranking at one point, they failed to make the NCAA tournament. Being picked 12th isn't going to help get people excited, but it's looking like he's done a terrible job in motivating the fan base. We are in for another season of a half empty 5/3 Arena. Well, we probably were anyway, but there is no buzz, no one is really excited about the season, and that falls directly on to the head of the program, which is Mick Cronin.
- No star power. Last season, we had Deonta Vaughn and Lance Stephenson to look to as the faces of the Cincinnati program. There is no Born Ready this season, and Vaughn graduated. We have some nice players, including local product Yancy Gates, but no one on the team screams out "I want to watch him play basketball." Maybe that has something to do with:
- Recruiting hype not paying off. Even though Gates (22) and Cashmere Wright (82) were Rivals top 150 recruits in 2008, no one really seems galvanized behind one of them as the leader of the team. In 2007, UC had 4 Rivals top 150 recruits. I bet you $100 you can't name them. Here they are, and thanks for not taking my money. Biggie McClain (56), Darnell Wilks (68), Alvin Mitchell (112), and Rashad Bishop (135). Mitchell was booted off the team. McClain has been nothing but a stiff. Wilks hasn't had the light turn on all the way. Cash blew out his knee in 2008, taking some of the air out of the hype balloon. Bishop and Gates have played well for the most part. Expectations haven't been met for them, especially Gates, but you can't say they have been slouches. No one is saying, "Hey UC could be starting 4 top 150 recruits this season!" Mainly because they probably won't, and mainly because I doubt anyone notices they were. And the 4 in that scenario would be Gates, Bishop, Wilks and Wright.
- Cincinnati basketball fans are whiny, cry baby bitches who are still fucking crying because Bob Huggins got fired almost 28 years ago. I absolutely believe this is true, because Cincinnati basketball attendance has been devastated since Huggins left. They had a very solid squad Eric Hicks' senior season, and were a Gerry McNamara prayer from going to the NCAA tournament in all probability. But, no one supported them because people were crying into their Bob Huggins hankies because he was a complete fucking asshole and got a dui, and therefore fired. It's like Bearcat fans were the Atlanta Braves fans of college hoops. Once the winning stopped, they didn't really care. Once some winning started, they acted like they cared, but they really didn't. Almost like they rooted for Cincinnati basketball because it was the thing to do. It's a joke. I'm going to get right on the high horse here. When North Carolina had some down times, did the fans go away? When Louisville was floundering the last couple years of Denny Crum, did no one show up? When Kentucky was bad two years ago, did the fans not go to games? Indiana blows, but do the Hoosier fans not give a shit? Of course not for all of those. And before you say Cincinnati basketball isn't up there with North Carolina, Duke, Indiana, Louisville, go fuck yourself because UC basketball was up there. Historically, they aren't far behind. The difference is, when the going gets tough at Duke, and Louisville, and Kentucky and Indiana, the fans don't abandon the program. The media doesn't abandon the program. I blame the media for not covering things like media day, or writing more than 1 article about UC hoops in the past week, but there is no point writing it if no one is going to read it. They probably can tell that Cincinnati fans hitched their bandwagon to UC football since they started playing well, and that they aren't interested in the sport that is struggling. That's not really surprising since no one knew Cincinnati had a football team before 2006. When the going got tough for UC basketball, UC basketball fans quit.