Since they only had one game during the last seven days, the Cincinnati Bearcats were unable to make up much ground in the most recent updates to the national rankings. It would stand to reason that the same would hold true for their NCAA Tournament projections. After splitting games against Memphis and Houston before last week’s round of bracketology, the Bearcats actually moved up a little, but a business-like victory over the Wichita State Shockers couldn’t have lifted them any higher, right? Let’s find out.
The Bearcats remained fixed as a No. 7 seed in the projections from SB Nation’s Chris Dobbertean. They were in roughly the same spot last week at this time, although they did rise incrementally, making their way to the No. 27 overall seed after being 28th previously.
If we cast our glance beyond the Bearcats and look at the teams they have played (or will play) on their schedule, there are plenty of familiar faces in this projection. The Houston Cougars are still a No. 3 seed but they advanced to the 10th overall seed. The Mississippi State Bulldogs made a leap from a seventh to sixth seed while Ole Miss (No. 8) and Ohio State (No. 9) swapped spots. In addition, Northern Kentucky held onto a No. 15 seed as the projected winner of the Horizon League.
Perhaps the most notable development on these projections, especially in terms of immediacy, is UCF entering the field as a No. 11 seed. The Bearcats will face the Knights this Thursday night in a game that just got a lot more interesting. Temple was the only other American Athletic Conference team in the running. , but the Owls are projected to be one of the first four teams out and a participant in the NIT.
ESPN’s Joe Lundardi also remained stationary with his UC projection. All that changed for the Bearcats was their region, as they are now matched up with 10th-seeded NC State in the East Region, which features top four seeds of Duke, Michigan, Marquette and LSU.
Houston (No. 3), Mississippi State (No. 7), Ole Miss (No. 8) and Ohio State (No. 9) all retained their previous seeds, while Northern Kentucky slipped to a No. 15 seed. Lunardi continues to favor the Knights and Owls as well, with UCF in as a No. 11 seed and Temple one of the last four teams in as a 12th seed playing for its spot in the field of 64.
Like Dobbertean and Lunardi, Jerry Palm of CBS Sports didn’t shake too many things up in relation to the Bearcats. UC is still a No. 7 seed this week, albeit in the South Region. Should these projections prove accurate, the Bearcats would play former Big East mate Syracuse in the first round and then get a chance to face either Kentucky or Loyola-Chicago in the next one. (It would probably be No. 2 seed Kentucky). Houston is also in this region as a No. 3 seed, which means Bearcats and Cougars could play four times this season. That, of course, would require each team to meet in the AAC Tournament and again in the Sweet 16, which is far from a sure thing.
Palm gave a pretty solid promotion to Ole Miss, moving it from a No. 9 seed to to a No. 7. A demotion of equal proportion was doled out to Ohio State (No. 9). Mississippi State (No. 7), Temple (No. 11), UCF (No. 11) and Northern Kentucky (No. 15) all stayed put, with the Knights among the last four teams included.