UC is 1-2 in Big East play since the Crosstown Blowout. The lone win came at the expense of the South Florida Bulls, while the two losses have come at the hands Villanova and Syracuse, two top 10 outfits, both of whom are among the four or so presumptive favorites in the Big East, on the road in venues where the respective hosts haven't lost in 45 and 15 tries respectively. None of this is even the least bit surprising, UC has had a bear of a time on the road in the conference, particularly against top tier teams. So if I would have told you that UC would start the Big East slate with a 3-2 record with losses to Villanova and Syracuse on the road would anyone have been that surprised? Of course not because a performance like that is par for the course for UC over the last five or so years.
So yes, while this team is by far the best in the Mick Cronin era in terms of overall talent, depth and from a chemistry stand point but even considering that has anyone thought that this group is anywhere near good enough to go on the road and expect victories over top 10 teams? You shouldn't. The Bearcats were in the games at Villanova and Syracuse, at different times and for different reasons, but UC is not yet the equal to either of those schools on the hardwood. You can question the substitution patterns all you want, and I have done so. A lot. But the issue isn't the way Mick coaches as much as it is the way he assembled his team. This is a team stuffed to the brim with streaky scorers, there is no one singular scoring option, there isn't a pure scorer on the roster. The closest thing to that is Sean Kilpatrick and even he has gone scoreless in a couple of games and gone under 4 points in 5 others.
UC has a cadre of streaky scorers, guys who when it is their night can explode for 20 in 20 minutes of play, Yancy Gates, Dion Dixon, Cashmere Wright and Larry Davis can all hit for 20 if everything is going their way. And when you get one or two of those guys to hit on a given night the offense looks phenomenal. But when the parts aren't in perfect alignment you get some terrible stretches of play, like the 9 minute field goal drought against Villanova or the 2-20 start to the second half against Syracuse.
Because of the last two road performances by UC I am slightly less optimistic about UC's chances for a major run through the conference. But my confidence in this team to take care of business against teams that are equal or inferior to UC is still high. Two tough losses to the conference favorites on the road isn't reason to push the panic button or indeed the "String Mick Cronin up by his neck from Fountain Square button" If this team start blowing games to Rutgers, DePaul or Providence then it is time to unleash the vitriolic army to come and take Cronin's head. But until such a time comes to pass, steady on people, steady on.