With five games left in the regular season UC finds themselves on the NCAA tournament bubble. Playing in the American Athletic Conference doesn’t do them any favors because all of the teams keep beating up on each other and SMU is the only ranked team and they can’t even play in the postseason. The Bearcats haven’t done themselves any favors by losing most of its big games just look at Butler, Iowa State, SMU and Xavier. What hurts about the Butler, SMU and Iowa State games is they loss all three by 2 points and really had control of the Butler and SMU games for forty minutes.
Now this team finds themselves sitting at 19-7 overall and 9-4 in the conference. Pretty solid, but this conference may only get three teams in the tournament and that’s if they are lucky. They currently only have one bad loss in Memphis because Temple is playing a lot better (currently in first place in the conference) and has a chance to be one of the three teams that sneak in, but losing to Temple twice isn’t something you would expect from the Bearcats.
Since losing to the Owls, UC is 6-1 on currently on the inside of the bubble during this seven game run they have split with Memphis and beat UConn on the road.
This week they have Tulsa on the road on Thursday and UConn at home on Saturday they have defeated both teams, but both in different fashion. Gary Clark saved the day with a huge three point play to be UConn 58-57 on the road. Against Tulsa at home UC ran through the Golden Hurricane like a 12 pack at a college party 76-57.
UC and UConn mirror each other in the way they match up so it normal is a grind out game and we expect the game on Saturday to be the same way.
Tulsa likes to run and gun, but they don’t have the big guys who can handle the Bearcats front court so if UC protects the ball they have a good shot at handling Tulsa for the second time.
These two games are important because the UC is in third place in the conference, but UConn is fourth at 8-4 and Tulsa is tied with Houston for fifth at 8-5. If UC can sweep the week and avoid a bad loss to a let’s say ECU all should be well for their tournament hopes. This week will show if this team has grown from earlier mistakes and not finishing with the opportunity to win. Beat Tulsa and UConn and having Houston and SMU doesn’t look as stressful for UC fans.