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AAC Quarterfinals Game Guide: Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane

Here’s all the info you’ll need for tonight’s matchup with the Golden Hurricane.

NCAA Basketball: Cincinnati at Tulsa Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

How to Watch

  • Tipoff: 7 p.m. ET
  • Location: XL Center Hartford, Connecticut
  • Television: ESPNU
  • Announcing crew: Allen Bestwick (play-by-play) and Tim Welsh (analyst)
  • Radio: 700 WLW
  • Announcing crew: Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Chuck Machock (analyst)
  • Series history: Cincinnati has won twice as many games as Tulsa in the all-time series between these programs, with a 24-12 record against the Golden Hurricane. That includes a series sweep this season.

Season Series Rewind

On Feb. 1, Cincinnati visited Tulsa and just barely escaped, as a last-second jumper from Troy Caupain earned the Bearcats a 57-55 victory. Caupain finished with a game-high 15 points in the contest, while Kyle Washington and Jacob Evans added 10 apiece. Gary Clark nearly had a double-double, coming a point short with 12 rebounds.

For Tulsa, Jaleel Wheeler netted 13 points and Junior Etou and Martins Igbanu each had 10 while the Golden Hurricane actually out shot the Bearcats 40.5 percent to 35.3 percent. However, UC outscored Tulsa 18-11 off of turnovers and 18-12 from beyond the arc.

A little more than two weeks after their first meeting, the Bearcats and Golden Hurricane met up again at Fifth Third Arena. UC had a much easier time in that one, rolling to an 80-60 victory, which just happened to be the 300th of Mick Cronin’s coaching career. All five starters scored in double figures for the Bearcats, led by 18 points from Washington. UC shot 56 percent from the field in the contest and had a 29-21 edge on the boards.

How We Got Here

Let’s start with Tulsa, which already notched a win in the AAC Tournament, topping Tulane 66-60 on Thursday. Pat Birt was the surprising top performer for the Golden Hurricane, as he made 5-of-9 shots from the field, including 3-of-6 from three-point range, to finish with 15 points. Corey Henderson added 12 off the bench and Sterling Taplin had 10 and four assists. Although they won, they only shot 38 percent from the floor, but their defense held the Green Wave to a 32.7 percent success rate. Don’t expect a great deal of defensive stoppage from the Golden Hurricane on a regular basis, however, as they rank 130th in the country in defensive efficiency (103.0).

Led by Taplin and Etou, Tulsa has won three of its last five games to edge close to .500 for the first time early February (15-16).

As for UC, it had Thursday off thanks to its largely successful run through the regular season, as it finished 27-4 overall and second in the AAC (16-2). A top 20 team in every sense of the word, UC ranks 19th in the country according to KenPom and is No. 8 in defensive efficiency (90.9).

What’s Next?

The winner of this contest will have very little time to rest, as is tradition for conference tournaments. The semifinals will be held tomorrow and either UC or Tulsa (let’s say UC) will play the victor between three-seed Houston and six-seed UConn at 5 p.m. The title game is on Sunday at 3:15 p.m.