Cincinnati Bearcats has the chance to win a share of the American Athletic Conference regular seaason title with a win over Rutgers Saturday. With the win UC will win it's first conference title since winning Conference USA in 2003-04. UC can also match the record of wins in a season under coach Mick Cronin with a win.
Rutgers is coming off a tough 69-63 loss to No. 19 Connecticut on Wednesday. UC beat Rutgers earlier this season 71-51 in Cincinnati on Jan. 11. Saturday's match up will be the 20th meeting; with the Bearcats holding a 15-4 record in the series.
Insider breaks down the many scenarios UC faces:
Scenario 1: Cincinnati wins, Louisville loses; The Bearcats will earn an outright AAC regular season title. UC will also be slotted as the #1 seed in the conference tournament. Louisville will be the #2 seed in the tournament.
Scenario 2: Louisville wins, Cincinnati loses; The Cardinals will earn an outright AAC regular season title. Louisville will be slotted as the #1 seed in the conference tourney with UC the #2 seed.
Scenario 3: Cincinnati and Louisville both win or lose; The Bearcats and Cardinals will share the AAC regular season title. Due to AAC tiebreaker rules, Louisville would earn the #1 seed in the conference tournament since they swept the third place team SMU whereas UC split with the Mustangs. Also, if UConn jumps into third place, the Cardinals would still have the edge since they will at worst have a 1-1 record against the Huskies, the same as the Bearcats. Then the tiebreaker would fall to SMU again, who would be in fourth place. Thus, Cincinnati would have the #2 seed.
UC seniors are coming off one of the best performance as a big 3. In the win over Memphis they combined for 71 points. Sean Kilpatrick scored a season-high 34 points and Titus Rubles scored a career-high 24 points. Justin Jackson added 13 points, nine rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
Senior Kilpatrick talked after Thursday's game about the possibly of winning a share of the AAC regular season title.
"It will mean a lot, being here 5 years, 4 with Justin and 2 with Titus we know that we've been striving for the past couple of years," he said. "It's an accomplishment. To have that in our possession and go out there and get a win is something that we really need to do. We know what it means for seeding and it's something our seniors deserve."
Kilpatrick is a semifinalist for the Naismith Trophy and finalist for the Oscar Robertson Trophy. He leads the AAC in scoring with 20.8 ppg. Coach Cronin is in the running for the Henry Iba National Coach of the Year Award.