The University of Cincinnati Bearcats tip off at Madison Square Garden today at noon against Providence in a second round match up of the Big East Tournament. The biggest question surrounding the team is do they need a win today to guarantee themselves a spot in the tournament.
Short answer is no. The Bearcats are solidly in the tournament if you look at any sites Bracketology. A win today would help possibly keep them a nine seed or a ten seed. A loss today may drop them to an eleven or a twelve seed play in game. Either way Cincinnati will not be higher than a nine seed.
Cincinnati comes into the tournament off a win over South Florida in overtime, not exactly a signature win for the program. Over the last ten games the Bearcats went 4-6 with an embarrassing loss to Providence. Cincinnati has lacked leadership this season, a team with much preseason hype has been relegated to ninth in the Big East and fallen out of the Top 25 having reached a season high of #8.
Cincinnati is “led” by senior Cashmere Wright and Junior Sean Kilpatrick. Wright has nursed a few injuries this season but has still managed to average 12.8ppg while Kilpatrick has led the Bearcats averaging 17.3 ppg. Cincinnati is going to need a big games out of these two to advance in not only the Big East Tournament but the NCAA tournament as well.
The other factor hindering the Bearcats is their inability to knock down free throws. They are currently shooting 65% from the line. That is horrendous, if they had made free throws throughout the season they would not have a 21-10 record. More than likely the would be sitting at 25-6, ranked and solidly in the tournament as a five seed.
As for today, Cincinnati has played well at MSG in recent years, going all the way to the Big East Championship game last season. Kilpatrick hails from New York City so look for him to try and go off during the tournament. The last Big East Tournament for the Bearcats. Cincinnati will win today and advance to play overall top seed Georgetown. Cincinnati has the ability to beat the Hoyas, tomorrow will show if they can or not.
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