Big East Cinderella: Cincinnati Bearcats Scalping for a Ticket, Others Punched
The second round of the Big East tournament on Wednesday was very bubbly.
All four games included either teams on the right side of the bubble who needed one more win to punch their tickets (Marquette and Notre Dame), teams that were right on the cusp of getting in the field who needed a win (Seton Hall), or teams who were originally off the board and who are now in the process of getting a ticket to the dance (Cincinnati).
Here is how each game went down:
The Ticket That Ended Up Being Void
No. 9 seed USF vs. No. 8 seed Georgetown
USF needed this win badly, and if they got it they would have probably been on the cusp or a "last four in" team.
However, they lost and are now officially out of the bubble discussion. Dominic Jones, along with the rest of the Bulls, shot poorly from the field and Georgetown was in control for the entire game, winning by a score of 69-49.
The Tickets That Got Punched
No. 7 seed Notre Dame vs. No. 10 seed Seton Hall
Both of these teams were in desperate need of a win, Seton Hall probably more.
The Pirates did not capitalize on the offensive end and got owned in the paint by Luke Harangody and his return to proper form. Jeremy Hazell was off from the field, shooting 5-16 from the field, including 1-9 from 3-pt.
The Irish came away with the 68-56 win and now have punched their ticket to the dance while Seton Hall can only wait and pray.
No. 5 seed Marquette vs. No. 13 seed St. John's
In what was probably the most exciting game of the second round, St. John's gave Marquette everything they had to offer. Playing tough defense and taking advantage of Marquette's week interior defense, St. John's took a crushing 57-55 defeat to the Golden Eagles.
St. John's was winning by four points with two minutes left but couldn't seal the deal. Marquette relied heavily on their three-point shooting, particularly from forward Lazar Hayward, who shot 4-6 from the three-point line to finish with 20 points.
The win for Marquette punches their ticket to the dance.
The Team That's Going Scalping for a Ticket (The Ticket May or May Not Be Real)
No. 11 seed Cincinnati vs. No. 6 seed Louisville
In a game that Cincinnati clearly wanted more, the Bearcats edged out Louisville by a score of 69-66. Cincinnati used a combination of scoring in the paint, tough perimeter defense, and good transition scoring to slip past Louisville.
The win means Cincinnati's almost impossible at-large chances have now gained some life. Another win vs. Pittsburgh in the quarterfinal could have the box office finding another ticket to sell them.
Can the No. 11 Seed Cinderella Cincinnati Bearcats Win in the Quarterfinals?
They play No. 3 seed West Virginia, which should be a very physical game. Both teams are exceptional at offensive rebounding and focus on scoring down low.
Prediction: West Virginia 66, Cincinnati 61
No. 7 Seed Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Seed Pittsburgh
Both teams play slow sets that focus on executing on taking good shots. They are both teams that play good defense and can hit the three-ball.
Prediction: Pitt 64, Notre Dame 58
No. 8 seed Georgetown vs. No. 1 seed Syracuse
Syracuse has won both times they've played Georgetown this season. It seems that Georgetown still hasn't figured out how to beat them, even though they came back from down 14 to within one last time they played.
Syracuse hasn't played since Saturday and will be ready for the task.
Prediction: Syracuse 77, Georgetown 70
No. 4 seed Villanova vs. No. 5 seed Marquette
Both these teams are guard heavy and like to play in transition. They are also very bad defensively, so look for the game to be high scoring.
Overall, Villanova is the better team and just slipped by Marquette 72-69 the first time they played.
Prediction: Villanova 83, Marquette 79
Note: Seton Hall will be rooting for Cincinnati in order to add another top 50 win to their resume. Cincinnati will probably need to get to at least the finals in order to get a bid.
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