Bracketology takes on a whole new level of gravitas once you reach March. Projections in January are fun to look at but they don’t feel as real as they do now. Obviously since they are still just predictions, that reality is still mostly conjecture, but the closer we get to Selection Sunday, the more cemented those picks can become. As the Cincinnati Bearcats prepare for a critical final week of the regular season, let’s see where they stand.
A shaky week still ended in two wins for the Bearcats and that earned them, well, nothing in terms of Chris Dobbertean’s bracketology seeding. That’s just fine, as a No. 6 seed implies that they are one of the 25 best teams in the country, even if we already knew that. In SB Nation’s updated projections, the Bearcats would play No. 11 seed Belmont in the first round of the South region, which has a top four of Duke, Tennessee, Purdue and Texas Tech. The region is chock full of potential rematch opportunities for the Bearcats, with Mississippi State (No. 5), UCF (No. 9) and Ohio State (No. 10) all in the mix. For the Knights, their win over Houston clearly made an impression, as they are now firmly in the running after sitting on and off the bubble for much of the winter.
Other teams of interest in this projection include Temple (last four in), Ole Miss (No. 8) and Houston, which retained a No. 3 seed despite its loss to UCF. In addition, Dobbertean has Xavier on the fringes of the bubble as one of the next four teams out.
It will probably take some big wins this week to get ESPN’s Joe Lunardi to give the Bearcats a boost. They are once again a No. 7 seed in ESPN’s most recent projections, this time in the Midwest region. However, while there is intrigue lost in their seeding, the Bearcats’ potential first-round matchup might raise your eyebrows. Ole Miss is the No. 10 seed in the region, which would create a rematch of the Emerald Coast Classic final from back in November. For those who don’t recall, the Bearcats won that first showdown. The region is further inundated with teams from UC’s schedule, including Mississippi State and UCF. Lunardi gave a big promotion to the Knights (No. 8) while keeping the Bulldogs as a sixth seed.
Elsewhere in the bracket, Lunardi has Temple as one of the last four teams in while Houston (No. 3) and Ohio State (No. 10) hold serve and Xavier gets on the bubble.
CBS Spots’s Jerry Palm gives the Bearcats another sixth-seed projection. According to these picks, they would play in the South region against No. 11-seed Alabama in the first round. Palm’s potential South region also includes Ole Miss as the ninth seed and a top four of Duke, Kentucky, Purdue and Kansas State.
The East region in this projection is a who’s who of teams the Bearcats have played, with Houston (No. 3), Mississippi State (No. 6) and UCF (No. 9) all included. Palm also saw fit to give spots to Ohio State (No. 10) and Temple (No. 11), although he has the Owls in outright instead of as one of the last four teams in.