After the Cincinnati Bearcats posted a a disappointing showing in a 51-45 loss at UConn this afternoon, UC’s chances at winning the American Conference regular season championship looked bleak. The loss put the ‘Cats one game back of Louisville in the loss column with only two games to play. Louisville looked to have the clear inside track to win the title outright if it could take care of business.
But the Memphis Tigers had other ideas.
Mere hours after UC looked to be out of the race, Memphis, who was no pushover with its #21 ranking, pulled off the mild upset of #7 Louisville at home inside the FedEx Forum. This is March, and anything can and usually does happen. That’s what makes college basketball so great. The game came down to the final seconds, but Louisville was crippled by only scoring only one point (yes, one POINT) in the game’s final 4:46. Memphis hung on to win it 72-66 after Louisville built a condominium, throwing up brick after brick during a fast and furious final minute. Sounds similar UC’s offense today, huh?
So now the Bearcats’ league hopes are back from the dead, and right back where they started this morning – Tied for first place with Louisville (with each team having two games to play). The Bearcats will have to deal with the same Memphis Tiger team this coming Thursday night at Fifth-Third Arena, which will be no easy task.
Louisville looks to have a slightly tougher two games, going on the road to face a ranked SMU team (ask UC how easy it is to play on the road in Dallas), before finishing at home against the Huskies of UConn (who just beat the ‘Cats). UC’s other remaining game is on the road, albeit against a lesser opponent, Rutgers.
A win Thursday night whould put UC in pretty good shape to share the title, and perhaps even win the AAC outright. Time will tell.