Bearcats Climb Back Into AP Poll

It’s the beginning of the week, meaning the release of the new AP Top 25 for the week. What do we find for Week 17? Cincinnati sitting at number 23, only 15 points out of number 22, Iowa.

The Bearcats were ranked in the Week 14 AP Poll, at number 25, before the heartbreaker in Houston. Needless to say, they didn’t hang around very long thereafter. UC has received votes every week since Week 6, except for Week 9.

Cincinnati also found themselves in the Coaches Poll, sitting at 22. Coach Mick Cronin has this team back where they need to be, and where they deserve to stay: gaining national attention. Hopefully the boys continue to fight, and stay in the polls a little longer this time.

AAC in the AP

The AAC has just two teams ranked. Besides UH (number 8 in the country) and the Bearcats, not one other AAC team is getting votes this week. Houston is playing their best basketball this season, not having a loss all month. The two teams meet in Cincinnati on March 10th, the final showdown in the regular season games for both. The game will likely determine the regular season conference champion, and who will get the 1 seed in the AAC tournament.

Four different AAC programs have found their names receiving votes throughout the season; UCF, Connecticut, Houston, and Cincinnati. UCF is a common bubble team in many NCAA brackets from experts, while Cincy and Houston have both near locked their spot in the big dance. Both programs, however, have aspirations of getting the auto-bid, given to the AAC conference tournament champion. That game has also been announced as sold out, so I hope all 13,176+ of you are loud. This one is probably the biggest game of the year for UC, outside of beating up on X.

Cincinnati “Bracketology”

Everyone loves March Madness. I mean how can it get any better? 68 teams duking it out on the court, every single one getting a chance to play for a national title when the season starts. Man, imagine if we could say that for football. UCF fans know what I’m talking about, right?

The experts recently all placed the Bearcats in their respective brackets. By now, UC has near punched their ticket to the dance. CBS expert Jerry Palm has UC getting a 6 seed, playing 11 seed North Carolina State. That would be an excellent matchup, versus a tough ACC opponent. Here are some other predictions for the Bearcats seeding…

  • USA Today: 7 seed vs 10 Florida (MIDWEST)
  • ESPN (Joe Lunardi): 7 seed vs 10 Oklahoma (EAST)
  • SB Nation: 6 seed (no bracket provided)
  • Sports Illustrated: 7 seed vs 10 Florida (WEST)

The general consensus is that the Bearcats will get a 6 or 7 seed, with a solid place for Coach Cronin and the staff. A 6 seed is much different then a 7, however. With a 7 seed, you more than likely play the 2 seed if you can win. This year, the NCAA is very top heavy this year, and all of the 2s have a case for 1 seed right now. 2 seeds have been upset only 8 times in 136 tries, coming out at about 5.9%. The 3 seed, however, is 21  of 136, which is a solid 15.4%. This means that if UC gets a 7 seed, they’re 9.5% more likely to play a 2 seed than their odds to play a 3 seed if they got a 6 seed. March Madness is called March Madness for a reason, though; the numbers don’t mean anything.

Recap

With UC finally returning to the polls, the season is back to where it needs to be; a top 25 team headed into March. Now is the time Coach Cronin needs to have the boys playing their best basketball, and right now they’re doing so. Big games are coming soon, including Memphis, UCF, Houston, and all post season play.

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