Ok not really. Cashmere Wright hit a 7-ft floater at the buzzer to drop Alabama at the buzzer but I’ve been waiting to use that headline all week. Really it was a very close game in the second half but who cares? It’s my blog and I’m using it.
Anyways, from the onset it was clear that the Cincinnati Bearcats were the superior team. They fed off the energy of a crowd 10,155-fans strong at 5/3rd Arena early swallowing up the Alabama offense and preventing them from crossing double digits until about the 10-minute mark in the first half. The offense too looked impressive using an inside game as Alabama started double-teaming Sean Kilpatrick. But the Bearcats’ offense began to get out of sorts being unable to go to their best shooter and especially when Alabama started a full court press.
What looked like a blowout became uncomfortably close at halftime and Alabama actually erased the lead in the second half behind countless turnovers from the Bearcats and excellent defense in general. The Crimson Tide forced Cincinnati to play their game and move away from the up-tempo play that UC has loved to play this season. It wound up being a grudgematch much like the game with Florida State in the NCAA Tournament last year. Obviously this wasn’t the prettiest win in the world but UC still emerged victorious. Remember, it doesn’t matter how the the game was played, only that a they didn’t lose.
Now the Bearcats have three quality nonconference wins over potential tournament opponents; Alabama, Iowa State, and Oregon. But they aren’t done yet. UC still has Xavier, New Mexico (ranked #25), and Marshall on the schedule who should all make a postseason tournament this year. It looks like Cincinnati will have no problem building together a solid March Madness resume as long as they take care of business down the stretch.