In my opinion, tonight was Cincinnati's worst game of the season. It looked as if there was a really great party in Cincinnati last night, and I wasn't invited. More specifically, the effort tonight was at an all-time low. Cincinnati lacked the tenacity often witness in a typical Bearcats squad. The only reason I can deal with the perpetual failure of Cincinnati's offensive is because I love watching teams that work as hard as they possibly can, which is wondrously rare.
Besides effort, three statistics stick out as major contributions toward tonights loss. First, Cincinnati was 0-11 from the three point line, which is 0% in case you are mathematically challenged. Second, Cincinnati shot 5-13 from the free throw line, good for a horrendous 38.5%. Make a respectable amount of those and we could all be going to bed happy fans tonight. Third, and finally, the Bearcats were out rebounded 39-27. Even though we shot just 44% from the field, we only had 6 offensive boards (For comparison - Tulane had 14).
The wheels have not come off, but they are most certainly loose. Joe Lunardi had Cincinnati as an 8-seed today. After this loss, Cincinnati is probably looking more like a last four in, which is not a place you want to be. Leaving these decisions up to the committee is how you end up having a very bitter summer. The committee already showed they don't respect the American last year when they infamously snubbed SMU (Easily the worst snub of last season).
With this loss and Xavier falling to St. John's today, the Xavier game just got even bigger. It will likely decide which of us makes it to the tournament as we will both be sitting squarely on the bubble. Cincinnati can not lose to Houston, UCF, or Tulane, and has to win at least one (if not two) of the three games including Xavier, Tulsa, and Memphis.
Looks like March has come early to Cincinnati.
-Daniele "Da" Bologna