The Cincinnati Bearcats squeaked by the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 70-66 yesterday. It was an ugly game after UC was mentally and physically drained from the festivities of Senior Nights on Thursday. But a win is a win and this one yielded them something the Bearcats hadn’t earned since the 2004-05 season, a conference championship. Cincinnati made history earning the AAC’s first regular season title. But it was a championship that was to be shared.
Two hours after UC notched their victory, Louisville was wrapping up a pantsing of the UConn Huskies 81-48 and earning an AAC trophy of their own. It allowed them to share in Cincinnati’s celebration due to identical 15-3 conference records. Then the seeding in the AAC tournament came into play.
Cincinnati and Louisville split their regular season series. Then tiebreaker rules force both teams to look at their records against the third place team. Making matters more complicated, Memphis, UConn, and SMU all tied for third place. The Bearcats and Cardinals posted identical 4-2 records against these teams, bringing the determinant of the #1 seed in the conference tournament down to a coin toss. Yes, months of blood, sweat, and tears poured by both UC and UL would come down to the flip of a coin. It really was a fitting scenario for this bass ackwards conference.
But yesterday the Bearcats won it and are the #1 seed in the AAC tournament. Cincinnati will play the winner of UCF and Temple on Thursday March 13th at 7 pm EST. If they win that game, UC will move on to play the winner of Memphis and UConn on Friday March 14th at 9 pm. Finally, the winner of that one will play in the conference finals on Saturday March 15th at 6 pm. All games will be played at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee.
The full AAC tournament schedule is below:
Wednesday, March 12th
- 7 pm: #10 USF v. #7 Rutgers
- 9:30 pm: #9 UCF v. #8 Temple
Thursday, March 13th
- 1 pm: #6 Houston v. #3 SMU
- 3 pm: #2 Louisville v. USF/Rutgers
- 7 pm: #1 Cincinnati v. UCF/Temple
- 9 pm: #5 Memphis v. #3 UConn
Friday, March 14th (Semifinals)
- 7 pm: Winners of the 1 pm and 3 pm games
- 9 pm: Winners of the 7 pm and 9 pm games
Saturday, March 15th
- 6 pm: Semifinal winners