Mick Cronin has Cincinnati moving in the right direction

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Earlier this season, I called Cincinnati mediocre.

I believed it then.

After seeing Cincinnati reach the third round of the NCAA Tournament, where they lost to UConn 69-58, my mind hasn’t necessarily been changed.

Cincinnati didn’t lose to anyone outside of the Big East conference. But they only played two teams that made the NCAA Tournament outside of the Big East. One of Xavier in the Crosstown Shootout. The other was Missouri in the second round of the tournament.

They went 11-7 in the Big East conference, good enough for the seven seed in the Big East Tournament. But they only beat five of the 11 teams from the conference that made the NCAA Tournament, and of those five, only Marquette — who was the only Big East bubble team — is still playing.

So yes. Cincinnati is good. But they aren’t really all that good, are they?

To be honest, the answer doesn’t matter to me.

What matters to me is that Mick Cronin has gotten this Bearcat program back to a place where its relevant nationally. Good or not, Cincinnati not only made the tournament, they won a game. There are all of 32 teams that can say that.

The next step — can Cronin build on it?

Can he get them to a place that where we no longer have to question whether they are good or just mediocre?

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