The 2012-2013 season by most accounts was a disappointment. Let's be honest. Following a Sweet 16 appearance last season and having the majority of your core back, Sweet 16 was pretty much assumed from the beginning of practice in October. The "Three Amigos" of Sean Kilpatrick, Cashmere Wright, and JaQuon Parker were the anchors of last year's team and they were hungry for more. Sadly, they had to accept a mere appearance in the NCAA Tournament as their swan song.
Perhaps it's a sign of the progress this program has made in the last few years that simply appearing in the NCAA Tournament is not good enough. After the first four miserable years, Mick Cronin has brought the program back to the point where it has national respect and exposure once again. So after winning at least one game in the previous two tournaments, a one-and-done is rather disappointing especially considering the core of players that returned from last year's squad.
These guys deserved better. They deserved more. They are fine representatives for the University of Cincinnati that is for sure. But, maybe in the end they were just not very talented. They certainly were limited whether it was injuries like Cash suffered his entire career or general lack of athleticism as Parker proved. Or it simply could be they just hit a cold streak like Kilpatrick did in the Creighton game. There are a litany of reasons why the season just didn't turn out as well as we Bearcat fans believed it would. But I'm not down on them, the program, or Mick. The future is still very bright.
We'll get into next year soon enough. For now, I wanted to reflect on this season and talk about some of the high points.
Here are some of mine:
- Starting off 12-0
- Winning the Global Sports Invitational in Las Vegas by beating NC A&T, Campbell, Iowa State, and Oregon
- Being ranked as high as #8 in both major polls
- Beating Alabama on Cashmere Wright's buzzer beating high-arcing shot over Bama's center Moussa Gueye
- Beating Xavier at US Bank Arena handily despite a typically lackluster first half
- The thrilling overtime win over Marquette despite Cashmere Wright missing the game due to his knee injury
- Winning a game in the (last) Big East Conference Tournament in MSG for the fourth year in a row
- Appearing (albeit briefly) in the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year
I'm sure you have many more that made you smile and/or throw up your arms in celebration. Despite the disappointing finish, it was still fun...and crazy...and frustrating...and you name it. In fact, the season was so frustrating I actually said out loud "I need a break from UC basketball". I've never said that before. This season, and team, was so hard to figure out from game to game. Hopefully next season will be a little more consistent and I will be able to keep more of my hair.
What was your favorite moment of this year?