(2:43 p.m.): Well, we haven’t done one of these in a while. Little mailbag time, based on this blog post I wrote earlier this week.
And if you don’t want to reread the blog entry, the main point I made was Mick Cronin’s contract extension was probably a good move made by UC AD Mike Thomas. Here’s the nut graf (thought it came at the end of the post, making it more of the kicker):
Check here for the rest of the blog post.
EXCEPT for the promised BONUS question that I’m inserting here:
That was a nice article about Mick and the contract extension. However, I don’t agree that the basketball program is getting better under Mick…What happened at the end of last year is inexcusable…Going into the season last year with one point guard is inexcusable…Playing players such as: Rashad Bishop and Alvin Mitchell was inexcusable…. UC basketball is dead at this point in time…It will remain so until Mr. Thomas pulls the trigger on getting UC another head basketball coach…Mick is NOT the answer! Thomas hired Brian Kelly…and gets an A + for that… However, Mick is dragging down his grade point average.
I don’t disagree with some of the points here. Yes, the end of last season was horrible. Yes, Rashad Bishop hasn’t been great so far in his UC career (5.4 points per game) and Alvin Mitchell was pretty much a disaster. Yes, UC basketball isn’t as nationally-relevant as it was under Huggins. But if you’re saying UC basketball has not improved, I think there’s some sort of ax to grind. The win total has increased (although yes, the non-conference schedule isn’t quite as juicy), the players have improved (remember, Marcus Sikes was the starting center in Mick’s first year) and UC was competitive in the Big East last year. UC had a chance at an NCAA tournament berth. You can’t say the same about Mick’s first two teams.
The goals this year should be more specific than to just “improve”(eg):
1. Yancy Gates should be 1st team Big East (to show that Mick can develop an All-American, as he has said);
2. Win (at least) 4 of the last 6 season games (to show durability/focus over the long season);
3. Win (at least) 2 Big East tournament games (same as #2);
4. Win 20+ games.
This will assure NCAA tourney participation and verify Mick’s credentials – strategy(season/game plan), focus/intensity(win the close ones), player development(Gates, et al – “keep your head in the game”).
I actually really like Doug’s benchmarks for Cronin and the team.
Josh, how about the first prediction on your new site, based on these four goals? Which are plausible? Which will happen?
1. Not out of the question, depending on how many guys they pick for the first team. If it’s 10 guys, Gates should have a chance to make it.
2. It’s hard to say. Depends on the schedule. But yeah, UC would have to do better the last 10 games of the season than it’s done the past two seasons.
3. Yes, this should happen.
4. Yes, this needs to happen as well.
5. I’ll add a fifth. UC needs to make the NCAA tournament or the seat gets a bit hotter for Mick.