Bearcats Must Step Up Tonight

USA TODAY Sports

Is it a must win? The case can be made for both sides of that question.

Sitting at 7-6 in the Big East and facing extremely difficult road games at Connecticut and Notre Dame, tonight's game kind of feels like a "must win" affair. Now, I don't think it really is, but if you assume they lose Sunday in South Bend (and we pretty much have to assume that since Notre Dame beats nearly everyone there) should they lose tonight as well they'd be returning home with an ugly 7-8 conference record. A record that doesn't scream "we belong in the NCAA tournament" quite frankly.

On the other side of that, there's still plenty of time in the season to bounce back, although beating Connecticut at home and/or Louisville on the road will be tall orders as well. I think 9-9 gets them in, which means winning only two more conference games. But again, just getting in would be a disappointment. However, the program across town is in danger of ending their streak of making the tournament, so perhaps getting in is better than playing in the NIT...or CBI...or whatever that other tournament is.

Now, after watching year after year of Big East basketball and constantly scratching my head as to how the hell teams get thrashed one night then go kick the crap out of a better team the next time out, nothing surprises me anymore. So, if UC were to go to Storrs tonight and beat UConn then knock off Notre Dame Sunday we should all take it in stride. I mean how can you explain UC destroying Villanova by 18 last Tuesday then the Wildcats going to UConn and handling the Huskies? Personally I wish they hadn't gone in and pissed Connecticut off because now they'll come out guns blazing tonight and UC might pay the price for that. Let's all hope not. Because honestly I'm already getting sick of the whining and bashing of the coaching staff. It was happening a year ago and, well, we all know how the season ended. This season is long from being over despite what a few of my fellow section mates were screaming Friday night at Fifth Third Arena.

Tonight's battle will consists of guards, guards, and more guards. No one on either side down low is particularly any good or dangerous. So it will be the "Amigos" vs. Boatright and Napier. UC won there last year on Sean Kilpatrick's last second three pointer. Let's hope the Huskies have forgotten all about that one (unlikely).

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