The regular season is over, which is too bad because the Cincinnati Bearcats won the regular season in the American Athletic Conference. But that is far from the ultimate goal for this team. How they perform in March will determine how the 2017-18 Bearcats are remembered.
Today, the top seed Bearcats will get this year’s postseason experience going with a matchup against the No. 9 seed SMU Mustangs in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla.
- Tipoff: 12 p.m. ET
- Television: ESPN2
- Announcing crew: Adam Admin (play-by-play) and John Thompson III (analyst)
- Radio: 700 WLW
- Announcing crew: Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Terry Nelson (analyst)
- Series history: There’s a reason the Bearcats didn’t win the AAC tourney last year and that’s because SMU got in the way. UC got plenty of revenge this season, beating the Mustangs twice by an average of 22.5 points. All together, the Bearcats lead the all-time series 9-5.
With their win over Wichita State, the Bearcats earned plenty of rest as well as that whole outright regular season title. They have been off since last Sunday when they escaped Wichita with a 62-61 victory. They certainly needed the time off, especially Jacob Evans, who played through an injury against the Shockers. UC’s leading scorer is expected to start today, but it will be worth monitoring if the injury continues to hamper him. Here are all of the Bearcat starters.
- Justin Jenifer (G) - 124.4 offensive rating/95.2 defensive rating
- Jarron Cumberland (G) - 109.5/89.6
- Jacob Evans (G/F) - 121.2/87.5
- Kyle Washington (F) - 112.9/86.5
- AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE YEAR Gary Clark (F) - 135.4/80.6
Despite a late charge from the No. 8 seed UConn Huskies, the Mustangs skated through the first round of this tournament with an 80-73 win. SMU got huge games from Ben Emelogu (23 points), Akoy Agau (21 points) and Jahmal McMurray (19 points), while drilling 10 threes, but they did lose the rebounding battle 35-27. Now 17-15 overall, the Mustangs showed that they can still be dangerous even without star Shake Milton. Here are their starters.
- Jahmal McMurray (G) - 111.0/107.1
- Elijah Landrum (G) - 91.8/102.4
- Ben Emelogu (G) - 116.4/100.2
- Jimmy Whitt (G) - 111.8/98.0
- Akoy Agau (F) - 111.3/101.5