Cincy 62, FSU 56: Bearcats Perform the Possimpible, Will Face Ohio State in Sweet Sixteen


I hope you stayed up to watch this game because if you didn’t you missed an instant classic. Cincinnati and Florida State are very similar teams that value defense and a strong inside game. As such, each offensive possession looked like a slow grind where each made bucket brought a sigh of relief from each program’s fans. This was one of those games where it would be disappointing to see either team lose with how much effort the players put forth. But one team had to come out on top and boy am I stoked that team was the Bearcats. Like I mentioned UC and FSU are very similar. It’s no wonder that the score was 26 – 25 at the half. In those first 20 minutes however Cincinnati was aided by a number of Seminole turnovers. The Bearcats are one of the best teams at forcing mistakes and only 14 teams give the ball away more than the Seminoles. This is what kept UC in the game in the first half as the FSU turned the ball over 10 times with the Bearcats turning them into 9 points.

The game was also in danger of getting out of hand when it became abundantly clear that Florida State’s leading scorer Michael Snaer wasn’t throwing up a goose-egg like he did in their opening-round game. He made his presence known with two quick threes early forcing Mick to invest more players to guard him. The Seminole guard finished with just 11 points on 4-11 shooting. Another key factor in this game was the play of Jaquon Parker. The 6’3″ guard led all players with 11, count’em, ELEVEN rebounds. Again, as a guard. If we were handing out MVP awards Jaquon would be my pick hands down. He’s been playing phenomenal ball in the past few weeks and again he came through in the clutch. Speaking of clutch, I have to tip my cap to Sean Kilpatrick. While quiet early, Killa nailed a trio of imprtant shots from beyond the arc late in the 2nd half. He finished 4 – 6 from three-point land while the rest of the team went 1 – 9. Let’s let SK and only SK shoot threes from now on, k?

But even with stellar play on the defensive end from the ‘Cats as well as players like Parker and Kilpatrick, this game was agonizingly close. After over a dozen lead changes something had to give. And that something came in the form of a Luke Loucks turnover. The Seminole guard led his team with 14 points but gave the ball away late in a key situation. Tied at 50 (I feel like I’ve said this alot this tournament) with about one-and-a-half minutes to play, Loucks’ errant pass was intercepted by Dion Dixon and taken back for a dunk. UC was up 2. Moments later, Michael Snaer missed a three that was rebounded by Cash who hit a beautiful floater to put UC up by 4. Florida State started coming unraveled as Loucks traveled to put the ball back in Cincy’s hands. It was over. A series of heart-pumping free throws sealed the win for the Bearcats.

Now Cincinnati, and probably more importantly us fans, can look forward to a Sweet Sixteen match-up with the (read: the, not THE) Ohio State Buckeyes in Boston. The game will be aired on CBS on Thursday (3/22) at around 9:45 EST. This was always a possibility given the location of UC on the bracket but I never wanted to speak about this match-up. Not necessarily because I didn’t want to jinx the process but because I didn’t looking ahead. When your team is facing a traditional powerhouse in Texas and the ACC champion Seminoles in two consecutive games, you can’t really afford to look ahead. With less than a week until tip-off there will be plenty of time to breakdown the game. For now, let’s celebrate these Bearcats who have done what few believed they could at the beginning of the season.

Try to get some sleep.