Most understand that the Big East is taking a bit of a hit with the losses of Pitt, Syracuse, and most recently, Notre Dame. Count Cincinnati's Mick Cronin as one who isn't upset about the departures.Cronin had this to say recently:
"People say, ‘Well, the Big East isn’t the same Big East.’ That’s good for Cincinnati," Cronin told SNY.tv Friday at the Brayden Carr Foundation clinic at Rutgers.
"Even though you win and you finish ahead of Georgetown last year, you beat them twice, and in the final national poll they’re ranked ahead of you," Cronin said. "And then they get beat in the first round.
"But name-brand connotation, Big East basketball, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? ‘Big Monday,’ Georgetown vs. Syracuse. It’s nobody’s fault, it just is what it is.
"So the changing of the Big East, it just gives us a chance to plant our flag deeper. And for any team, for the rest of us, that when you do win there’s room in the print for the story because there’s just so many other good teams.
"And people want to read about the other Big East teams. They don’t even think about you."
Oddly enough, Cronin's biggest complaint seems to come against Georgetown - who is still in the Big East. Really, this just makes no sense.
But if we're talking about the teams that left the conference with the most amount of respect, this is about Pitt and Syracuse. Syracuse is one of those programs that gets a lot of recognition in the Big East, but that's because they've won. And Pitt has gotten credit because they've had a decade of success (in the regular season, anyway). Pitt is actually a program that shows that continued success can land national recognition. The program was left for dead after the Ralph Willard era and has garnered respect by winning.
Cronin's cry about a lack of respect is a bit off. The Bearcats have been strong the last two seasons - there's no doubt about it, winning two NCAA tournament games last season and one the year before. But before that, they just weren't all that great. In the five previous seasons, Cincinnati completely missed the postseason twice, made two NIT appearances, and one in the CBI (somehow, they made the CBI after a 13-18 season).
Want respect? You've got to have prolonged success as Pitt has had or reach the Final Four as Syracuse as done.