By almost any metric, there’s no disputing the Big East’s conference supremacy in college basketball this season. If attitudes expressed during Wednesday’s media session is any indication, Cincinnati’s membership in that conference is all the confidence they need before facing Missouri.
In what a DC-based Associated Press writer termed the best open locker room ever, Cincinnati’s players show neither a lack of faith in their team nor any doubts about the credentials afforded them as survivors of the Big East.
Upon being asked about Missouri’s “40 Minutes of Hell” style of play, the Bearcats lit up reporters’ recorders. The following are only a few of the quotes given to Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post:
“I like that slogan, because we have hell, too. So it’s cool. We can deal with that. I mean, throughout the whole year, you play Big East teams, and they bring 40 minutes of hell, so we’re used to that.” — Sean Kilpatrick
“We’re from the Big East. They ain’t seen no hell yet." — Anthony McClain
“Hey, we play in the Big East. Every night’s 40 minutes of hell, so I think we’re prepared for it." — Yancy Gates
Cincinnati’s plan appears to be as such:
1) Be from Big East
3) Search desperately for new narrative before facing UConn
The situation seems somewhat parallel to Missouri’s 2008 Cotton Bowl appearance, prior to which Arkansas touted almost nothing more than its SEC credentials in the build-up to the game. Mizzou football had a resounding answer for that Arkansas team. Fans now wait to see if Mizzou basketball will have a similar response on Thursday.