Mick Cronin

Mick Cronin sounds off on Big East realignment and defection of Catholic 7, says players should get paid

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With his Cincinnati program stuck in limbo after the defection of the Catholic Seven from the Big East Conference Saturday, coach Mick Cronin sounded on and subjects and frankly expressed his feelings toward realignment. He took time after his team’s win over Marshall to do so.

“I don’t blame them,” Cronin said of the departures, as reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer. “It’s a shame that football, one sport, has dictated all this and the money that one sport apparently is swinging around and swaying universities to make the decisions. We’re sitting here in a state where the state school is 800 miles from its closest road game. It’s ridiculous. Don’t tell me that people care about student-athletes.”

In defending his players, he continued.

“Lost in the shuffle in all this is our volleyball team, our soccer team, Marshall’s tennis team,” Cronin said. “It’s all ridiculous. Let’s call it what it is. I’ve thought about this long and hard and I’ve waited to say this. If it’s all about this much money and money grabbing, the players need to get paid.”

Cronin is the latest in a line of NCAA critics who have called for players to get paid, an idea that has seemed to gain popularity in recent years. But, with the win Saturday over Marshall, his team is undefeated and one of the top teams in the Big East.

For that reason, Cronin said, it is important to keep the focus away from realignment and more so on the basketball court.

“The only thing I can do for our university is do what we’re doing now: keep my guys focused and continue to show that we have an elite basketball program,” he told the paper. “It’s a shame that that’s the news instead of our team.”

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

WATCH LIVE: James Madison battles UNC-Wilmington on NBCSN

James Madison guard Shakir Brown, left, drives past Hofstra forward Denton Koon (12) during the first half of an NCAA basketball game in Harrisonburg, Va., Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. (Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
(Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record via AP)
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Two of the top teams in the CAA battle on Saturday afternoon as James Madison travels to UNC-Wilmington. You can catch this matchup live on NBCSN at 3 p.m. EST.

UNC-Wilmington (19-5, 11-2) is currently the class of the conference as they hold a two-game lead over James Madison, William & Mary and Hofstra. The Seahawks have won 10 consecutive games and they’re led by guard Chris Flemmings, who is averaging 16.6 points per game and 6.2 rebounds per game.

James Madison (19-7, 9-4) has won three consecutive games as they try to make up ground on UNC-Wilmington. Guard Ron Curry leads the Dukes in points (16.8 ppg) and assists (3.9 apg) as he’s having a very solid season.

These two teams played on Jan. 28 with UNC-Wilmington winning 78-73 on the road.

CLICK HERE to watch these games on NBC Sports Live Extra Saturday afternoon.

VIDEO: Winthrop’s Keon Johnson goes coast-to-coast for buzzer-beater

Winthrop's Keon Johnson (5) shoots a layup while defended by Coastal Carolina's Warren Gillis during the first half of the Big South Conference Championship college basketball game Sunday, March 8, 2015, in Conway, S.C. Coastal Carolina won 81-70. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
(AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
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Winthop earned a Big South road win at Radford on Saturday afternoon as junior guard Keon Johnson raced coast-to-coast and buried the game-winner at the buzzer.

The 5-foot-7 Johnson erupted for 32 points in the win and he’s been one of the most potent mid-major scorers in the country this season. The win moves Winthrop to 18-7 on the season and their 10-4 mark in the Big South ties them with UNC Asheville atop the conference standings.

(H/T: LiveonASN)