Today, Dick Vitale listed his top three choices for national coach of the year at this point in the season. He listed Jim Boeheim, Steve Fisher, and Mick Cronin.
I can’t (or rather, don’t want to) argue a bit with the first two choices. But Mick Cronin?! Are you freaking kidding me, Dickie V?
First of all, Dickie V explains away what I maintain is the number one reason to yCronin is undeserving of such an award. In regards to the Cincinnati/Xavier fight he says:
Cronin made sure his team learned from it. He took charge right away after the game, saying how disgraceful it was and that actions like that would not be tolerated. Cronin talked about putting on the Cincinnati uniform being a privilege and the athletes involved would not be back unless they really gained from the experience.
I have to admit, Cronin talked a big game in the post game conference and I was very impressed. (Read the transcript here
) Then he took a big crap on his promises when he suspended Yancy Gates for six games. Six games. LaGarette Blount was suspended for 75% of his season for his cheap shot against Boise.
Even if you think six games was fair or more than fair allow me to provide the strongest case against Cronin, actual on-court data
Cronin’s team is 85th in the RPI and so far has played the 167th strongest schedule in the country.
Bob Huggins’s Mountaineers are 14th in the RPI and have played the 4th toughest schedule in the country.
Cronin’s team is returning 59% of its minutes from last year, and so far this year, 21% of its minutes have been played by newcomers.
Huggins’s team is returning only 39% of its minutes from last year, and so far a whopping 46% of its minutes have been played by newcomers!
(In case you’re curious, Syracuse returned 82% of its minutes and only 12% have been played by newcomers. Could certianly have a lot to do with their success)
So in short, Huggins team is playing better against a tougher schedule, all with a much greater dependency on younger talent. Cronin shouldn’t even be discussed as Big East Coach of the Year without mention of Huggins, let along be mentioned with Boeheim as a possible National Coach of the Year.