here we are a few weeks later and UC is 12-0 … but without a spot
in the Top 25. The latest AP poll has the ’Cats at No. 29, a
position that's hard to argue against given UC's epically weak schedule (the
most recent RPI poll has them at No. 95, with a strength of schedule
ranking of 340 out of 346 Division I teams).
We'll begin this week to find out whether Mick Cronin's fifth UC team is for real, as the Big East schedule opens tonight with a home game against DePaul. That's followed by two more home games — Friday against Seton Hall and Jan. 6's Crosstown Shootout against Xavier, always an unpredictable matchup no matter each team's talents.
That said, it's certainly possible UC could be 15-0 heading into its toughest game to date, on the road Jan. 9 at No. 8 Villanova.
So what I asked a few weeks ago is still an open question: Can UC go 9-9 in Big East conference play, which would seem enough to yield that elusive NCAA bid?
We should begin to find out this week.