March is just days away and the madness isn’t far behind. For the Cincinnati Bearcats, who own a 23-4 overall record and are currently on a three-game winning streak, playing into the later portions of March, specifically the NCAA Tournament, has been pretty close to a certainty for weeks. However, with each passing day and each win (or loss), their standing within the tournament itself can change. Since we last checked in on the world of bracketology, the Bearcats held on for close wins against UCF and UConn. Let’s keep that in mind as we examine this week’s projections.
Those two wins equated to a one-seed increase for the Bearcats in Chris Dobbertean’s bracket this week. After hovering around a seventh or eight seed, they made an incremental step forward to earn a No. 6 projection. Based on these predictions, the Bearcats would play Lipscomb out of the Atlantic Sun in the first round of the South region, which features top four seeds of Virginia, Michigan State, LSU and Texas Tech. This projected region would also feature Ole Miss as a ninth seed. The Bearcats, as you might remember, defeated the Rebels in the final of the Emerald Coast Classic back in November.
Ole Miss isn’t the only former opponent in this bracket. Ohio State is a 10th seed in the East Region, UCF is an 11th seed in the Midwest and Mississippi State (No. 6) and Houston (No. 3) are locked into the South region. Temple also made the cut, but as one of the last four in, while Northern Kentucky left the ranks after Wright State overtook the Norse in the Horizon League standings.
Joe Lunardi is a hard guy to impress it seems, as the Bearcats remain a No. 7 seed in this week’s bracketology from ESPN. You have to give credit for consistency, however. Lunardi has the Bearcats as the seventh seed in the East region, just as he has in his last two updates. This time, they are matched up with 10th-seed TCU in a region highlighted by Duke, Michigan, Marquette, LSU and Temple, which earned a 12th-seed play-in game spot against Clemson. UCF is also in danger of falling into that territory, as one of the last four teams to get a bye in these projections, but the Knights are just a regular No. 11 seed right now.
Elsewhere on the bracket, Houston and Mississippi State hold steady as a No, 3 seed and No. 6 seed, respectively, while Ohio State (No. 10), Ole Miss (No. 9) and Northern Kentucky (no longer listed) received demotions.
That’s two votes in favor of a promotion for the Bearcats. After projecting them as a No. 7 seed last week, Jerry Palm of CBS Sports has the Bearcats as a sixth seed this week. If everything remained the same until the tournament began, that would put them in the South region with top four seeds of Virginia, Tennessee, Texas Tech and Purdue, while they would play NC State in the first round.
Unlike the first two bracketologists, Palm favors Temple a bit more, giving the Owls a guaranteed spot as an 11th seed while marking UCF as one of the last four in with a 12th seed. He also has Houston as a No. 3 seed, which seems to be where the Cougars are destined to land at this point. Mississippi State (No. 6), Ole Miss (No. 8) and Ohio State (No. 10) make up the rest of the field in terms of teams the Bearcats have played this season.