The Basketball Bearcats Have a First Half Problem

Cronin Has a Questionable Philosophy on Big Games

If you’ve watched the Cincinnati Bearcats over the past 12 years you’ve seen some classic basketball games. You’ve seen wins over hall of fame coaches, quadruple overtimes, and heavyweight bouts with top 25 opponents. However, you’ve also see a lot of one thing in particular. You’ve seen the Bearcats come out absolutely flat in more big games than not. I’m talking Waffle House pancakes flat. I mean 15 points in a half flat. Xavier up by 20+ flat. I think you get the picture. We almost expect it now. The Bearcats play very uninspired basketball the first half and, at least for this season so far, play a much better second half and come back and win.

Now, this isn’t a bash Cronin article. What the man has done at UC a lot of people thought was impossible. I want him coaching the Bearcats for the next 112 years and beyond. I just want him to try one thing.

Talk to the players about the weight of the game!

I went back and listened to almost every clip of Coach previewing a big game on YouTube. I’ve also heard him say this multiple times on his weekly radio show.¬† Here’s one thing they all have in common, Coach says something to the affected of:

“If I have to talk to my players about this being a big/important game, we got bigger problems than playing _____ tomorrow.”

The Bearcats then proceed to go out and play absolutely atrocious¬† basketball for the first half of the game. I think it’s a little thing but he’s spoke about it many times in the past why not switch it up and let the players know that YOU think it’s a big/important game? Don’t just count on the players having intrinsic motivation to go out and win. With my opinion and $10 you can buy a 6 pack but players need that hype from their coach. Just try to speak on it once, lets see what happens.

Have you not ever noticed him saying that before? Watch this clip for just the first 57 seconds.

57 seconds is all it took in this one. What happened when we took the court at Cintas? Well the Bearcats got ran off the floor letting X score 43 points at half. There are plenty of other examples. At Temple this season, 26 points and down 3 at the half, the UCF dumpster fire, and the Florida game. We can’t come out flat against Wichita St home or away. We can’t come out flat at SMU or Houston either. The hopes of a 3 seed live with winning 3 of those games mentioned.

Whatever the man says (or screams) at halftime has to work. In most instances this season the Bearcats respond in the second half and play so much better. It would just be nice to show life in the first half and not have to have someone save the season on a last second shot.

Now, I could be dead wrong about this and he does speak to the importance of big games to his players in the locker room removed from the media and cameras, but I don’t get that vibe from Cronin. He’s a say something and live it guy.¬†Maybe Cronin is going for a Phil Jackson type of Zen Master so he tries to use Jedi mind tricks on his players. I don’t think Cronin can namaste his way to inner peace and a National Championship, he’s too jacked up. I wouldn’t have him any other way really. Maybe this is a little to much of having your cake and eating it too. I mean we are 16-2 and ranked #12 in the country. With this team though a deep run in March is pretty much expected and we have to play complete games to make it.