The headline of tonight’s American Athletic Conference tournament semifinal game between Cincinnati and Connecticut will be about Sean Kilpatrick and Shabazz Napier.
The top two guards in the conference will battle for the third time this season as No. 13 Cincinnati and No. 21 Connecticut meet tonight in the semifinal game in Memphis, TN.
Kilpatrick led the league in scoring averaging 20.9 points per game as his team shared the conference title and are the No. 1 seed in the AAC tournament.
Napier was named the conference player of the year. He was second in the league in scoring at 17.6 points per game, and led his team in rebounds, steals and assists.
Both teams split the two meetings, each winning on their home court.
Kilpatrick had a career night in the first meeting in Cincinnati on Feb 6, dropped 26 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and six assists in a Bearcats 63-58 victory. Napier had 16 points on 5-19 shooting.
The next meeting, this time in Hartford time was the most horrendous game I’ve watched Cincinnati played this season. Kilpatrick was the only Bearcats player to score in double digits with 16 points, but missed a lot of shots. Napier had 18 points and 11 rebounds as UCONN won the rematch 51-45 on March 1st.
Last night, the Bearcats had to hold on to avoid an upset in the hands of UCF, winning 61-58 in the quarterfinals of the AAC tournament. Kilpatrick scored 21 points, and Justin Jackson added 14 points. Freshman gurad Kevin Johnson contributed with 11 huge points off the bench.
Connecticut took down No. 19 Memphis with ease on their home court 72-53. Napier scored 11 points on nine shots.
Niels Giffey had 24 points and drained six three pointers. He is shooting 52.1 percent from the three-point vicinity. Bearcats better not leave him open like Memphis did or it will get ugly.
My heart is saying Bearcats, but my head is picking Connecticut. I hope I’m wrong.
Prediction: UCONN 69, Cincinnati 61
TV: ESPN2, tip-off is at 9:30pm
Winner plays No. 5 Louisville or Houston in Saturday’s championship game on ESPN at 6:30pm.