Cincinnati Bearcats Hold Off Syracuse 71 68, Advance To First Big East Tournament Championship

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 09: Yancy Gates #34, Dion Dixon #3, Sean Kilpatrick #23 and Ge'Lawn Guyn #14 of the Cincinnati Bearcats celebrate after defeating the Syracuse Orange during the semifinals of the Big East men's basketball tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 9, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

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How can you doubt this team anymore? How can you not love this team anymore? The Bearcats jumped out to a big lead early against Syracuse using a barrage of three point shots to open up a big lead. A lead that the Cats never relinquished. Syracuse used some hot three point shooting of their own to close the lead to 5 before the Bearcats responded lead by Yancy Gates and Sean Kilpatrick to push the lead back out to 8 before Syracuse closed it down to one. A Justin Jackson flush on a run out provided the final margin.

I said many of the same overarching things about this team yesterday after the marathon contest with Georgetown. And that's for a very good reason. I am not that smart or clever. I am clearly not that good of a writer and I am running out of things to say.

How many times can you say that Yancy Gates has used the darkest of dark days, the deepest of valley's to channel his immense physical abilities into becoming the player that he was always capible of being. How many times can you mention that after years of frustration and one of the worst acts in the history of the program. He is on the verge of erasing that moment and those years of frustration to mere footnotes. What he has done since coming back from the suspension is slowly erasing all that came before that. How often can you say that one game is all he needs to relegate the Brawl to a footnote?

What else can you say about Sean Kilpatrick? He isn't this teams leader, but he is the best player on this team. By sheer force of will he has made himself into a good defender and a deadly shooter from deep. Coming into the night Kila was in the midst of his worst slump in the red and black. One night after going 1 of 6 from three Kila responds by getting his shot back in a big way 6 big threes on 9 attempts.

What can you say about JaQuon Parker? A 6-3 200 pound guard who has played power forward, almost exclusively in the roughest, toughest league in the country. And he hasn't just played well. He has dominated proceedings in the quietest way imaginable. He has Averaged 9 rebounds in the Big East tournament. Against Syracuse and Georgetown. Two of the longest, most athletic teams in the league if not the country.

The point is that I could go on and on like this about tonight. But there is nothing that I can say that hasn't already been said by me or by someone else. This team is magical. They haven't been magical for the entire year. Even the run after the brawl didn't feel like this. I don't know if this team is good enough to win a national title, or live up to the lofty history of those that came before them. But I do know this. I wouldn't trade this team for anyone. And I wouldn't trade anything about this season for anything. Without the low you can't have the high. And you can not get much higher than this. Unless UC finishes the deal tomorrow. That would be higher. Go Bearcats!


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