After their 12th win in a row Saturday afternoon, and with four teams ahead of them in the rankings (Ohio State, Illinois, Syracuse, Florida) losing, the Cincinnati Bearcats have crossed the threshold of the Top-10 after flirting with it for two weeks now. They have moved up to #8 in the Coaches Poll and the same in the AP Poll. This is the first time UC has been this high in the rankings since the 2003-04 season when they entered the Top-10 at #6 in the AP Poll and #5 in the Coaches Poll in mid-January. The Bearcats finished that season at #11 and #12 respectively.
Obviously it’s unclear just how high Cincinnati will rise in the rankings as the schedule becomes even more difficult as Big East play approaches. But first they take on the New Mexico Lobos who fell out of the rankings after being upset by South Dakota State on Saturday but are obviously a very, very formidable opponent. Then the gauntlet begins with an away game against Pittsburgh in the always inhospitable environment of the Petersen Center before hosing St. John’s and Notre Dame. Clearly the road will be rocky at best in the coming games but this is a UC team with oodles of experience against top-tier competition. So I have all the confidence in the world going punch for punch with some of the best teams in the Big East because, fact is, the Cincinnati Bearcats are one of those teams.