After back-to-back collapses in the NCAA tournament, it’s time for a coaching change in Cincinnati. This has been an issue for me since Cincinnati beat Purdue in overtime during the 2015 tournament. After that thriller of a win, it has been nothing since disappointment when the stakes are high. Mick Cronin is not an elite coach and the Bearcats will never be elite with him.
Cincinnati just blew a 13-point lead to the Iowa Hawkeyes during the first round of the tournament. It was an embarrassing loss as Cincinnati should have blown out the Hawkeyes, but the Bearcats couldn’t stop Iowa’s 3-point shooting as they went 7-11 beyond the arc after halftime. It was a game totally controlled by the Bearcats for the first 35 minutes, but as a Cincinnati fan, the disappointment is no surprise.
It’s easy to blame the coach for a bad loss, and usually I’m too trigger-happy with that excuse, but enough is enough. Sure, it was a tremendous job by Cronin to get the Bearcats in this position as a rebuild year was expected, but when it matters most, teams have to be able to win ball games. The Bearcats, time after time, have been unable to finish under Cronin.
This year alone he was 1-4 against ranked teams. It’s nice to win AAC championships, but teams should be expected to win more than a couple of games after 9 straight tournament appearances. Cronin is a mere 6-9 in tournament games, a horrible record for a program that has two national championships under its belt. The turnaround of this program is due to Cronin, but the Bearcats are built up well enough that they should be able to go out and get a new, young head coach that has something to prove.
The Nevada loss stung, but I thought that was rock bottom. I wasn’t wrong, but constantly blowing leads like they’re candles at a birthday party doesn’t help heal the wounds. It’s time for a change in Cincinnati, and I’m sure others are going to be hopping onto this train.