UC, off to its best start (14-0) since the glory days of Kenyon Martin, finally hit the Top 25 today: The AP poll has the ’Cats at No. 24, while the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll has them at No. 25.
Coach Mick Cronin, who seems to have been taking media savvy courses at the Marvin Lewis School of Petulance (speaking of, will he be back with the Bengals next year?), was his usual perplexing self when analyzing what the ranking means to him and his team. —-
“We’ve been doing fine without it,” Cronin said. “I lost respect for those polls over the last month, seeing some of the teams that have been ranked with home losses and losses to low-to-mid majors.”
Nothing against Mick and his team of rapidly coalescing ’Cats (or Breen, who's leading CityBeat's "no respect" charge), but to complain about not being ranked with the schedule they've played so far is kind of silly.
UC will get its chance to prove itself soon enough — six of the top 15 teams in the current AP poll are Big East conference foes. And the Bearcats two toughest games to date are on the immediate horizon: Thursday's always-contentious Crosstown Shootout at home against Xavier (XU has won the last three and 10 of the last 14 Shootouts) and Sunday at No. 7 Villanova.
“They could have it back if I can trade that for two wins this week against Xavier and Villanova,” Cronin said. “I’d take that trade.”
I would, too, but how likely is that? Of course, how many people would have predicted they'd be undefeated to this point, weak schedule or not?