Well, if you want a game with story lines, the UC-Marquette game is the one for you. The Bearcats bid farewell to seniors Dion Dixon and Yancy Gates today, when they host Marquette at 7p.m. at Fifth Third Arena.
The Bearcats (20-9, 10-6 BIG EAST) are coming off of a 46-45 loss dealt to them by USF on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles (24-5, 13-3 BIG EAST) rallied past West Virginia 61-60 on Friday.
What a fitting exit it would be for Dixon and Gates to lead their team to a win over 7TH ranked Marquette. Both seniors have helped the Bearcat program back to relevance and a win would likely secure a 2nd straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
Marquette defeated the Cats 95-78 earlier this month, but they were at home. Cincinnati got off to a great start in that game, but they couldn’t finish strong. Obviously there is no way they can give up 95 points on defense and expect to come out victorious.
Now, the Bearcats will have every reason to not only come out strong, but finish that way as well. If a win on senior night secures a tournament bid, there isn’t much more you can ask for as a program. There is a lot of pressure on Cats, who gave away a Big East win on Sunday. That loss makes tonight that much more important and the key for Cincinnati has to be the defense.
I know the offense struggled for the majority of Sunday’s game against USF; but the Bearcats have been hit or miss on offense throughout the season. If they want to stay in the game against the Golden Eagles and give themselves a chance to win the game, they need to keep Marquette under 70 points. UC should slow the game down and take high percentage shots that do not lead to Marquette fast break points.
The Bearcats are 4-3 against ranked opponents so far this season. Getting a win would be even bigger tonight than it was a week ago when we saw the Cats win a thriller against the Louisville Cardinals. Let’s hope Cincinnati pulls off some Senior Night magic and they pull off the upset!
The game will be televised on ESPN2 and will also be covered locally on 700 WLW.