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Cincinnati Bearcats Bubble Watch - 2/19

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Cincinnati is pursuing it’s 10th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance

NCAA Basketball: Memphis at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bearcats have appeared in the NCAA Tournament in each of the past 9 seasons. Those teams were led by Mick Cronin, who is now at UCLA. John Brannen, in his first year at UC, previously led Northern Kentucky to the NCAA Tournament in 2 of the last 3 seasons.

Now, he and the Bearcats and vying for their 10th consecutive tournament bid. And this 2020 bid, has been more difficult, to date, than some of the previous ones.

Cincinnati has averaged a seed of 6.5, with their 10 seed in 2013 being the lowest (and only double-figure seed) and 2 seed in 2018 being the highest.

Things looked bleak early as the losses piled up. But here’s the truth about those losses - as the season has progressed, they aren’t as bad as they were at the time.

Of the Bearcats’ 8 losses, 5 are to teams currently projected in ESPN’s Tournament bracket - Ohio State, Xavier, Iowa, Colgate, and Bowling Green. Those two latter losses, were thought to be crippling at the time but both teams are on pace to win their respective conferences.

NCAA Tournament committee recently adapted a new metric to help determine who should make it, called the NET.

Cincinnati’s current NET ranking is 51. Within the NET, teams are judged on the number of quadrant 1 victories, something Cincinnati has just two of right now. A quad 1 win is defined as teams ranked 1-30 at home and 1-75 on the road. That means, Houston and Wichita State both represent quad 1 wins for Cincinnati, who still plays at Houston with a shot at a third Q1 win. Losing at Memphis and at UConn were both missed opportunities for Q1 wins.

Regardless of NET or Q1 wins, the Bearcats pretty much control their destiny at this point. It’s up to them to keep winning and make a run in the conference tournament. Hey, they won the championship the last two years, securing the auto bid, maybe they can do it again?

Here is how some of the major media outlets views the Bearcats, who face UCF on Wednesday and Wichita State on Sunday, both at home.

ESPN (Joe Lunardi)

IN - 11 seed vs BYU

CBS (Jerry Palm)

IN - 11 seed - play-in game vs Arkansas

SB Nation

IN - 11 seed vs Arizona

USA Today

IN - 11 seed vs Colorado

Just keep winning, and this will all work itself out!