Yesterday was tough to watch. UC lost 90-52 on the road to No. 6 Houston. It was the largest margin of defeat for the Bearcats since another 38-point loss to Notre Dame in the Big East tournament in March of 2011.
UC was non-competitive on national TV. The Bearcats took a 19-18 lead around the 11:00 mark of the first half. The Cougars then steamrolled on a 55-11 run to lead by 43 and they outscored the Bearcats 72-33 to the finish. It was painful. Difficult to watch. The Bearcats missed 35 of 50 shots in shooting 30-percent from the field. Mick’s early days in Big East flashed before my eyes.
UC entered yesterday riding a four game winning streak. But this season is a mess. It has been a mess thanks to the stop, start, pause, postponements and rescheduling due to Covid. The roster stands at nine scholarship players and has taken multiple hits from opt-outs. This team stands 7-8 overall, 5-5 in the AAC. There is not much from a veteran leadership standpoint. It’s a collection of youth and inexperience dealing with life on a college campus in Covid-times.
Not an excuse. Reality.
There are five games left on the regular-season schedule. There is a lot of work to be done.
Mostly on the mindset, tone and culture to be reinforced for next season and beyond.
I realize we live in a microwave society demanding instant gratification. But people of sound mind, body and common sense don’t really believe you move on from a coach in his second season…coming off a regular season title in his first season…with both seasons impacted by Covid.
And yet, here we are with John Brannen. I shake my head at what I've read on social media and on-line over the last few hours.
We are 45 games into the Brannen era..................45.
For goodness sakes. Brannen's team won 20 games last season and shared the American conference title. Last year!
Brannen is a builder. He took an NKU team transitioning from D2 to D1 and made the postseason three straight year. That included two regular season conference titles, two conference tournament titles, two NCAA tournament appearances, an NIT bid and win totals of 24, 22, and 26.
A year ago tomorrow UC stood 18-9 on the way to sharing the American title. And some fans want to place him on the hot seat and/or move on?
UC lost Jaron Cumberland and Tre Scott and nearly fifty-percent of its offense from a year ago. They entered this season with seven newcomers.
The offseason, preseason and in-season has been impact by Covid. Not an excuse. Reality.
Are we really discussing Brannen's future? Seriously? Sadly, I guess we are. There are some UC fans that need to shake themselves.
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We will discuss tonight at 6:08 on Sports Talk.