I wrote this just before the 2007 NCAA Tournament
|The Rise and Fall of the Cincinnati Bearcats
What do the numbers 1, 8 and 4 have in common? No they’re not last night’s lottery numbers or the ages of Willis McGahee’s kids whom he must pay child support for based on three different paternity suits. They were seedings of the Cincinnati Bearcats basketball team in the 2002, 2003 and 2004 NCAA Tournaments, respectively. This years Bearcats are a dismal 11-19 with a 2-14 record in the Big East, there worst record in 24 years. Still, what caused this dramatic fall from grace? You could go with the so-called obvious choice, the transition from a small, diminutive conference, like Conference USA to a power conference in the Big East, but if you remember a little team known as Marquette was also a part of this conference, too. They seem to have made the jump quite well, to say the least. Led by Dominic James and Jerel McNeal along with Coach Tom Green, the Golden Eagles seem poised for a championship run. However, there are also many people to blame, for one, Bob Huggins the coach who amassed a 349-112 record at Cincinnati and was the recipient of the Ray Meyer Award, given to the Conference USA Coach of the Year, but the night he was charged with a DUI, took all his respectability and all the accomplishments away from him and the program. Top recruits were scared away, the Athletic Director suspended and later bought out his contract before resigning herself. Chaos ensued and now we have this mess, although I pay no disrespect toward the current coaches and players, I have a massive grudge against the leaders of this program for not diagnosing this problem earlier and letting the program run itself into the ground. So, with Conference Tournament’s in full swing and teams getting ready for the NCAA’s, neither of which will be attended by the Bearcats, I feel it is time someone steps up and changes things, bring back the reverence and value of a once promising franchise, either that or join the hapless MAAC conference beat teams like Niagara, Rider and Canisius and we can forget this ever happened.
By Evan Martone