Jux Berg emailed me the other day and asked if he could write a guest post. Since I am a man of the people, I said sure. The following post is the result of that. If anyone reading this ever wants to write a guest post, feel free to drop me an email and we can talk about it.
As Usual, Bearcats Overlooked By National Media, Coaches
By Jux Berg
While the Big East coaches know how good Cincinnati has been and projects to be in 2012-13, there are others who seem to forget the Bearcats exist.
The first slight came from the USA Today Coaches Poll. In the preseason Top 25 rankings released last week, the Bearcats were on the outside looking in, checking in with the 28th most votes. This particular poll is voted on by thirty-one coaches from around the country—extremely busy coaches trying to get their own teams ready for the season (or the SIDs -ed) —so it is understandable that Cincinnati was off the grid for some of those coaches.
It’s hard to say what else Mick Cronin could have done last season (short of reaching the Final 4) to prove that he has a Top 25 program. The Bearcats beat ten teams that were ranked at some point last season, including Top 10 Marquette, Georgetown and Syracuse, eventual Final 4 participant Louisville and ACC champ Florida State. UC got to the finals of the Big East tournament, finished in the Top 4 of the league and reached the Sweet 16.
The humorous thing about this poll is that Florida State and Texas, both of which UC knocked out of the Big Dance, made the cut.
It’s possible the coaches overestimated the graduating of Yancy Gates—which is fair, because for those don’t follow the Bearcats closely, it appears Yancy was a big loss.
Of course, coaches also look at incoming recruiting classes when considering their decisions. If a coach were to pull up UC’s ESPN team page, all they would see is Titus Rubles at a 40 (out of 100) ranking for the year’s class. The coach most likely wouldn’t know Rubles was the 2nd-ranked JuCo of his class. That coach also wouldn’t see 7’1” NAIA transfer David Nyarsuk. And finally, the coach would likely overlook redshirt freshman Shaq Thomas, a Top 75 recruit a year ago.
You could argue that preseason polls mean nothing—the results are decided on the court. You could also argue that these rankings can have an effect on recruiting. A player is down to Cincinnati and Florida State, the polls come out, he sees FSU but not UC…
The second slight came from Sports Illustrated writer Luke Winn. Winn revealed his Top 32 a couple weeks ago. Cincinnati was nowhere to be found.
Seriously, Luke? You seriously think there are thirty-two teams better than Mick Cronin’s Bearcats?
Among the teams making the almighty Winn’s list: Ohio U, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Georgetown, UCLA and Tennessee.
Pair those teams with Cincinnati right now on a neutral floor. Vegas will favor UC every time.
Last but not least, we have this absurd Top 50 point guard list presented by CBS Sports. As you can probably guess without even browsing this list, Cashmere Wright is nowhere to be found.
That’s okay though. Go ahead, coaches and media, add more chips to this team’s collective shoulder.
As frustrating as these slights are for fans, the players and coaches and the university, you know it will add fuel to this team’s fire. Last season, UC began the campaign ranked and promptly lost at home to Presbyterian. So maybe it’s actually a blessing to be forced to prove yourself right off the bat.