Big East Tournament Final 2012: 2 Matchups We're Dying to See

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2012

LOUISVILLE, KY - DECEMBER 23:  Kyle Kuric #14 of the Louisville Cardinals shoots the ball while defended by Kahlil McDonald #3 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers during the game at KFC YUM! Center on December 23, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky.  Louisville won 70-60.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bearcats and Louisville Cardinals meet in the Big East Tournament final.

Both teams are going to be in the NCAA Tournament, but a conference tournament title could go a long way to getting a higher seed and easier path to the final.

It hasn't been an easy road to the final for either team. Cincinnati needed double overtime to beat Georgetown, then upset top seed Syracuse in the semifinal.

Louisville beat second-seeded Marquette and third-seeded Notre Dame en route to the final.

It should be a very good game.

Here's two matchups that will decide the final:

 

Yancy Gates vs. Gorgui Dieng

Yancy Gates has been one of Cincinnati's best players in this tournament. He's Cincinnati's third leading scorer and leading rebounder.

Against Georgetown in the Big East quarterfinals, Gates scored 23 points while pulling down eight boards. Then in the semifinal against Syracuse, he had 18 and seven rebounds.

If Cincinnati is going to get anything from the game, they're going to need a good performance from Gates.

It's going to be tough because he'll probably have to deal with Gorgui Dieng.

Dieng is his most effective at the defensive end of the court. He led the Cardinals in both blocks and rebounds.

He had 10 rebounds in each of Louisville's first two wins in the tournament.

Dieng also managed to average 9.5 PPG for the season, so he is an option for Louisville in the post.

It usually isn't pretty to watch two big men go at it under the basket, but how each of these guys perform could decide the game.

 

Sean Kilpatrick vs. Kyle Kuric

This is just two scorers going after each other.

Both Kilpatrick and Kuric led their teams in scoring on the season. Kilpatrick has the advantage, though, having averaged 14.6 to Kuric's 13.1.

Both guys have had pretty good tournaments, too.

However, Kuric did struggle a bit in Louisville's first two games of the tournament. Although he did score a combined 33 points, it came on 9-23 shooting. He did shoot 5-10 in the semifinal win against Notre Dame.

Kilpatrick also had a bit of a rough game in the Bearcats' tournament opener, only scoring 12 points on 4-10 shooting.

This matchup is probably going to be decided at the three-point line.

Over the tournament, Kuric has shot 6-24 from long range. Kilpatrick only went 1-6 in the game against Georgetown, but caught fire in the semifinal, going 6-9.

It would be great to see these two guys just go off and try to match each other shot for shot.

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