So I’m reading the Cincinnati Enquirer the other day, browsing the Scoreboard page (the one with all the standings, betting lines, horse racing, etc), enjoying my breakfast (sausage, egg and cheddar cheese scramble)…and then I happen upon the USA Today Preseason Top 25 for college basketball.
“Lemme guess,” I said out loud to myself, “UC isn’t ranked.”
I run through the ranked teams and sure enough, Cincinnati is nowhere to be found.
Okay, well that makes sense, right? UC lost two pretty important seniors to graduation (Cashmere Wright, Jaquon Parker), the team struggled to score down the stretch of last season (yeah, I know, that’s a colossal understatement) and the Bearcats were bounced in their first NCAA Tournament game.
So the Bearcats aren’t ranked. Okay. The usual “now they’ll be playing with a chip on their shoulder” bla bla bla etc etc etc rigamarole that we say and hear seemingly before every season of all-time echoes in my mind.
Okay, so how far out of the Top 25 are they? 30th maybe, something like that?
Hmm, let’s see. Baylor, Colorado, Creighton, Iowa, Tennessee…
If my memory serves me correctly, and I think that it does (Costanza in The Switch episode, kind of), Iowa has been a worthless pile of deer shit for the past five years. Tennessee has stunk worse than a truck stop bathroom lately, too. In fact, I believe Tennessee was sort of in the conversation for an at-large bid last season and then developed a bowl of chocolate pudding in their underwear (Black Sheep) down the stretch and didn’t get there. (Yes, that’s what happened- I’m not even going to spend the time to look that shit up.)
Meanwhile, Cincinnati has made three straight NCAA Tournaments, including a Sweet 16 in 2012. And that’s after three or four seasons of complete gar-bage (pronounce it like “gar-bahzh” if you can)…so basically what I’m saying here is that based on the evidence, Mick Cronin has turned the program around, won plenty of big games and frankly, should have earned some fuggin’ respect by now.
But, lo, IOWA is ranked 29th to start the season. As Chris Rock really enunciated forcefully in “Rolling With The New,” when talking about how people wanted Colin Powell to run for Vice President on the ticket of somebody he could beat, “Get the F*CK outta here!”
Okay, Jux, calm down. So the Bearcats are not in the Top 30. So be it. Surely they have to be somewhere close to that, I mean, after all, their best player is 5th year senior Sean Kilpatrick, pretty much a 20-point scorer who has knocked down multiple clutch late game shots…the recruiting class includes five-star power forward Jermaine Lawrence and four other touted freshmen…redshirt sophomore Shaquille Thomas looks like a potential star…
Which teams make up the 31-35 line? Georgetown, Harvard, Pittsburgh, California, Boise State.
Okay, I can see Georgetown (even though they SUH-HUH-HUCK in the NCAA Tournament), and maybe even Pittsburgh as well, based on their programs. Cal also doesn’t quite stick in my craw either, since Mike Montgomery is a top tier head coach. Harvard pulled a decently big upset last year and Boise State did a few things of note, too, but again I must go back to: Three Straight NCAA Tournaments, an All-American shooting guard (maybe not first or second team, but Kilpatrick should be in contention for a spot somewhere on there) and a Top 25 recruiting class.
But hey, Boise State went from pile to pretty good in one season, so, hey, let’s vote for them! Eleven votes for Boise.
Okay, so UC isn’t in the Top 35, yeah, you can see where this shit is going.
So now we come to the rest of the teams who received eight votes or less, with six teams receiving two or less. Basically these are the bottom level of the Top 25, the teams who were penciled in at #25 by a few coaches here and there. Surely SOMEBODY felt Mick Cronin’s team was worthy of inclusion in this preseason poll.
Here’s the rest of the list:
Saint Louis 8, LaSalle 7, Temple 4, Missouri 4, Villanova 4, Kansas State 3, LSU 2 (gimme a gigantic break!), Iowa State 2, Arizona State 2, Illinois 2, Georgia 1 (oh my daggum LORD), UNLV 1.
Oh, okay, I see how it is. Basically, in the minds of the 32 head coaches involved in this deal, not a single godforsaken one of them feels that Mick Cronin has earned a single whiff of respect.
I don’t know why I get so upset with things like this…and I understand why it is what it is…these coaches have better things to do than to research every team and then vote.
But it’s still ridiculous. Thus, I rant.