Cincinnati Bearcats coach Mick Cronin has worn out his welcome after a slipper-shattering 79-76 OT loss at home against the Marquette Golden Eagles.
It doesn’t matter any longer if he inherited a program that was wiped clean after the ugly divorce with Cincinnati icon Bob Huggins five years ago. Using the “it’s so tough in the Big East” excuse is just as lame. The top tier of the Big East shifts from year-to-year, except for the consistently mediocre Bearcats.
This is Cronin’s fourth year as head coach. He is an excellent recruiter that has been able to haul in the likes of Yancey Gates and Cashmere Wright and he also took a huge chance with Lance Stephenson.
But the facts are facts.
The Cats sit at 15-11 and 6-8 in conference play after a sizzling start to the season. After wins over Maryland and Vanderbilt, the expectations grew quickly. A 10-3 start had fans thinking about a possible deep run in the tourney. The sky was the limit.
Freshman Lance Stephenson was looking like the next big thing with only greatness to follow. Sophomore Yancy Gates was punishing weaker opponents in the paint with his bulk strength and excellent rebounding.
The players haven’t made enough progress during the season. The supposed freshman sensation Stephenson aka “Born Ready,” has regressed. He seems uncertain of his role. Cronin yanks around his minutes to the point where he only was on the floor for 11 of the team’s 45 in the OT loss.
Yancy Gates, whom had 14 points in the 22 minutes he did play on Sunday, sat with 7:07 to go in regulation and never returned. He sat the final 12:07 of the game—which amounted to 48 real time minutes. The Golden Eagles played down the stretch with nobody taller than 6’6…Gates is 6’8,” 260 pounds.
So Cronin sat his top-two players for the vast majority of the game, including crunch time. The Bearcats are a poor-shooting team: poor from the field, from three-point territory, and from the free-throw line. The offense lacks movement. And the players lack hustle.
The most startling stat a coach can have: Cronin has never won a game in March (0-10).
Check-out UC down the stretch under Mick:
’06-07: 1-11 in last 12.
’07-08: 0-7 in last 7…including CBI loss.
’08-09: 1-6 in last 7…including losing final four games.
’09-10: have lost 5 of 7, and 7 of 11.
Preaching patience worked the first three years. This year’s underachieving team has no excuses. Cronin simply lacks the “X’s and O’s” knowledge necessary to coach in the Big East. He consistently gets out coached and his philosophy on substitutions are insane.
The Cats have 10 players that average at least 10 minutes a game. The lack of a consistent rotation is wearing on the players and the blame goes straight to the coach.
Another fizzling ending can not be tolerated and Cronin should be fired. He might have four more years remaining on his deal, but the team needs a better leader. They clearly are not the most self motivated bunch. The Cats need a guy that will get in their face and demand results. That isn’t Cronin’s style. He’s simply too nice a guy
UC’s AD needs to revitalize the program and generate some actual excitement. The foundation of Gates and Wright will be around for two more years. The Stephenson experiment will likely be over at the end of this year. Hire a new coach that is recognizable and willing to not settle for average.
Status quo is not good enough.