The Cincinnati Bearcats (22-3 overall; 11-1 American) will look to rebound after their 15-game winning streak was abruptly snapped by the SMU Mustangs last Saturday night in Dallas. The Bearcats still lead the AAC by a game and a half over the Louisville Cardinals and they look to maintain the lead against the Houston Cougars (12-12 overall; 4-7 American) on Saturday at Fifth Third Arena.
Depsite the huge loss last week to SMU, the Bearcats only dropped three spots to #10 in the AP Poll and still are on pace to have the best overall record and best conference under Mick Cronin's eight-year tenure as head coach. They are off to their best start since the 2001-02, in which they started 26-3 en route to a 31-4 overall record - the school record for wins in a season. Cincinnati's 18-game home winning streak at Fifth Third Arena is the longest streak for the arena's history.
Insider caught up with Coach Mick Cronin and asked how he plans to rebound from the crushing loss in Dallas.
"Personally, I think the players were happy about having two days off," Cronin said. "But I think what it was, is that we have not practiced as much as we have wanted to. But that's the reality of the season. Sometimes it’s more important to gather rest for the squad than it is to practice. But we just have to gather ourselves and revisit the basics of how we play basketball and we'll be more prepared for this upcoming game against Houston."
When asking about the loss and still remaining in the top 10, Cronin gave a simple explanation.
"Well when you lose a game on the road to a team in the Top 25 or near the Top 25, you don't get penalized that badly in the polls. But what I am really worried about is the RPI ratings. That really dictates our seeding come tournament time and with these seniors that we have, they're not counting the time that they have left. They want to do something special before they leave and extend their season for as long as they can."