Sidelines with John Clay

No, Mick Cronin was not taking a shot at Kentucky (or Indiana or Louisville)

Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin reacts from the bench during the second half of his team’s 82-74 win over Tulsa in an NCAA college basketball game on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018, in Highland Heights, Ky.
Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin reacts from the bench during the second half of his team’s 82-74 win over Tulsa in an NCAA college basketball game on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018, in Highland Heights, Ky. Associated Press

After his team’s 82-74 win over Tulsa on Sunday, Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin was asked a question he obviously did not care for, one about supposed slippage with regards to the Bearcats’ defensive effort.

“I don’t know what people expect,” Cronin said. “I’m allowed to answer you however I want and I’m going to give you a stat. Kentucky, Indiana and Louisville this year combined for 32 losses. Tell me how long it’s taken us to lose 32 games”

Fans of those schools, especially some Kentucky fans, interpreted the remark as a Cronin taking an unnecessary swipe at their school and took to social media to express outrage.

Apparently, some people don’t know a compliment when they hear one.

Why did Cronin point to Kentucky, Indiana and Louisville? Because they are tradition-rich programs who happen to be experiencing down seasons, at least by their high standards. Kentucky is 20-9. Indiana is 16-14. Louisville is 19-10. None of the three is ranked.

Cronin’s point: Even the best programs can struggle. Why was the questioner nit-picking a Cincinnati team that is 25-4 overrall, 14-2 in the American Athletic Conference and ranked No. 11 in the latest AP poll?

You can object to Cronin’s irritable response to a legitimate question. You can say his answer was a little weird. It was not, however, a shot at the Cats or the Hoosiers or the Cards.

By the way, UK, IU and Louisville have a combined 33 losses, not 32. Cincinnati has lost a combined 32 games over its last four years, though Cronin’s comparison is more apples to oranges than apples to apples.

American Athletic Conference standings

Team

AAC

Overall

Cincinnati

14-2

25-4

Wichita State

13-3

23-5

Houston

12-4

22-6

Tulsa

10-6

17-11

Memphis

9-7

18-11

UCF

8-8

17-11

Temple

8-8

16-12

SMU

6-10

16-13

Uconn

6-10

13-16

Tulane

5-11

14-14

East Carolina

4-12

10-17

South Florida

1-15

8-21

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