The 2012 Big East tournament is turning into an upset machine, as top seeds have dropped left and right. Left standing is the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Louisville Cardinals.
Although it could be described as a Cinderella run, Cincinnati will be heading into the NCAA tourney with a 2012 Big East crown under their belt. Their run isn’t over.
As good as head coach Rick Pitino has his Cardinals playing, the Bearcats know what it takes to beat the best. Not only did Cincinnati beat Louisville already this season, this is the same team that has beaten eight ranked teams this season.
Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin told ESPN the following after the team’s shocking victory over Syracuse and talked about how they will use that momentum going forward:
I walked in the locker room and the guys had written 'We need to win one more' on the board. I didn't even have to write it. It's a huge win for our program. I think what you've got to realize in college basketball is you've got to allow teams the course of the season, some teams get better. Over the course of the entire season, we lead the Big East in 3-point point field goals made. We've made more 3s than anybody in the Big East. We're standing there wide open. Last night, we were 2 for 21. We shot seven that went in and out. We've got guys that can make shots, so law of averages catches up.
As much as Pitino will get the edge in coaching for this matchup, Cronin is nothing to bat an eye at. With his team playing well and buying into his system, there is a good chance that a Big East tournament title could boost Cincinnati into serious contention to win the whole NCAA tourney.
The key for the Bearcats is spreading the love around and not allowing what can be a stifling Cardinals defense to take away the team’s offense.
With Sean Kilpatrick, Dion Dixon, Yancy Gates and Cashmere Wright all averaging over 10 points per game, there isn’t too much Pitino and Louisville will be able to do with a Cincinnati team that has been shooting the lights out.
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