Picking up the Pieces
I didn’t get much sleep the night after the game. Maybe it was all the coffee I had in anticipation of Sunday night’s game or maybe it was witnessing the Bearcats Sweet Sixteen apperance get pulled out right from under them. I’m guessing it was the latter.
I watched this game at my parents house with my wife, having converted them from OSU fans after I went to UC had them just as excited as I was, ok maybe not just as excited. It was a family affair and after the Bearcats hot start we were just going through the motions like it was any other game.
I was concinced we were going to make a run in this tournament, more so than believing the sky is blue or that grass is green. That made it more surreal when the buzzer went off and we failed to hold a 22 point lead.
The Bearcats started this game in picture perfect fashion. They shot out of the gate like one of Mick’s horses and less like the team we watched several times this season stutter from the opening tip. Cumberland looked like he was well on his way to at least match his 27 from the Georgia State game.
And then it seemed like the refs took over the first half.
On more than one occasion I looked around the room wondering where in the hell was the foul there? The refs were weak. Popeye before spinach weak. They had a strict handsoff policy and if you looked at someone hard… that’s a foul.
That hurt the physical play of the Bearcats and fouls started piling up. Cumberland sat down in the first half but it was ok because Jacob Evans III took over. For the remaining 5 minutes or so in the first half JEIII had the ball and played 1 on 5. The isolation worked and led to layups for Jacob.
Honestly, I would have to watch the second half all over again to see what happened, I’ve already blacked it out from my memory but here’s what won’t fade.
Cumberland. He came to win this damn thing. He started out so aggressive on the offensive end and finished with 17. As long as he kept that up I knew we’d sprint to the finishline in this game against Nevada. What happened? Foul trouble and for some god forsaken reason when Teddy got his fourth foul you could see him, on television, plea with Cronin to stay in the game. WHY DID CRONIN LISTEN? Of course Cumberland wants to stay in the game he’s a baller!!! I think Coach gambled, hard, and lost here. Sit Cumberland for 4 or 5 minutes at least. He’s there when you need him. Oh man did we need him the last 5 minutes.
Clark. The Problem wasn’t as such this game. Nevada didn’t let Clark get an easy buckets, especially early. His first bucket was off of an offensive rebound and any other points were few and far between.
Cronin. In his post game interview a visibily pissed Mick didn’t take any responsibilty for this loss. Something I was pretty dissapointed with considering the game. Why he didn’t pull Cumberland I’ll never know or understand. Also, when they started doubling and trapping Evans before half court why was the game plan to let anyone just throw it at the rim? That offense was arguable the worst of the Cronin era. You had Clark or another big crowd the rim, drawing in his man with whoever had the ball throw it up. That’s exactly how the game ended too. Cane, dribbling it off his defender’s shin, faking, getting blocked, and then throwing it up with Gary trying to salvage his senior season with a wild snowball’s chance in hell of a rebound.
Looking Forward. This was a phenomial season for the basketball Bearcats with the worst possible ending. We’ll have new banners for the New Shoe being the season and tournament champs, which is nice, but also it will be a reminder of the doom at the end.
Once I started thinking about it I would give up the season and tournament championships up for the next 20 years to make a Final Four or Championship game. I want that national attention. The swagger that comes with making it to April. Winning the AAC is cool and all but no one is talking about that now. Let Dan Hurley or Penny Hardaway win the conference, I’ll take the national title. I get what Cronin said about not caring about the Sweet Sixteen. Making it there is just a stepping stone to the next round, I don’t care about that either.
Clark, Washington, and most likely Evans will most definetly be hard to replace but the pieces to do this all over agin is there again. Broome and Cumberland will be an incredible combo next year. Cumberland could easily average 20+ and it isn’t inconvievable to have Broome average 15+. Also I think Scott huges strides forward in his development, especially on the offensive end.
I’d put Moore ahead of Williams in terms of the success of their freshmen year but both have loads of potential and will play a major roll.
I can’t wait to see Nsoseme get more minutes. I think he’s a force in training just waiting to dominate not to mention Mamoudou, who if you don’t follow on social media you’re really missing out on high quality content.
Fire Cronin. Are you insane? Cronin should be the coach for the forseeable future, some people, especially on twitter, need to chill. The program is clean, we have great players coming in and still on the upward swing. He wants to be here, which is more some schools in the Norwood area can say. It’s not like he’s pulling a Tommy T or anything.