Can Cincinnati make an NCAA Tournament Run?
The Cincinnati Bearcats continued their strong play this postseason with an impressive 65-59 second-round win over Texas. With the win Cincinnati is now 3-1 in tournament play this season with their only loss coming to Louisville in the Big East Championship game. For the Bearcats two of their three postseason wins have come against teams ranked in the top-15 including a victory over Syracuse in the Big East Tournament semifinals. The loss was only the second of the season for the Orange.
Due to their success so far in postseason play the question of whether or not Cincinnati has what it takes to make a deep run in this year’s NCAA Tournament will begin to be asked and there are many indications that the Bearcats can in fact make a run.
First of all they have been playing as well as any team in the country over the last month and a half winning 10 of their last 13 games. During that stretch they have wins over Marquette, Georgetown, Louisville and as mentioned above Syracuse.
Cincinnati is also a very experienced team with veteran players who know what it takes to win in the tournament. Of the nine players who saw action in the Bearcats second-round game five were either juniors or seniors. In addition, their top four scorers against Texas were upperclassmen.
Finally Cincinnati has a legitimate inside, outside threat. On the inside they have one of the most well-rounded big men in the country in senior forward Yancy Gates who had 15-points and 10-rebounds against Texas. On the outside the Bearcats feature an experienced backcourt with the likes of junior guard Jaquon Parker and senior guard Dion Dixon.
Time will tell if the Bearcats have the proper blend of experience and talent to make a run in the NCAA Tournament but at this point it would appear that Cincinnati is ready to make some noise and shake up the East Region.