Big East Tournament 2012: Louisville, Cincinnati Poised for Big Runs in March

Scott SemmlerAnalyst IIMarch 11, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10:  Chane Behanan #24 of the Louisville Cardinals celebrates after defeating the against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the finals of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden at Madison Square Garden on March 10, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
Michael Heiman/Getty Images

Watching Louisville defeat Cincinnati in the most gritty of Big East tournament championship games, it would seem like the Cardinals can win just about any way possible.  After knocking off a very good Marquette team and manhandling Notre Dame, Louisville is ready to make a good run in the NCAA tournament.

The same goes for Cincinnati, who had the tougher of the Big East tournament schedule, as they had to fend off Georgetown and Syracuse in order to make it to the championship game.  They even beat Marquette in late March before the tournament started.

Seeing Connecticut make their mark last year by getting hot and winning the Big East tournament, then winning the NCAA tournament, has to make some think that this can happen again.  What better place to start than the Big East, and Louisville and Cincinnati?

Both teams are hard-nosed and willing to win a variety of ways, as we witnessed with the gritty nature in which both team rallied last night in the Big East tournament championship.

However, both teams are relatively different in how they play.

The Cardinals are a finesse team built on consistent guard play and running up and down the floor regularly.

Cincinnati plays the half-court game, which may take a bigger hit in the NCAA tournament, as this team has a hard time rallying for points in a hurry, something that is a must in March.  However, they do have Yancy Gates, who can be a bully in the paint with the best of them.  They are also very hot right now, which is something to be well aware of.

Most of all, both teams have great coaches that know how to prepare an NCAA tournament team.  Rick Pitino has proven time and time again how good of a coach he is, and he passed that down to Cincinnati head coach Mike Cronin when the two coached together.

Look for one of these teams, or both, to make a run to the Elite Eight in late March.