Mar 14, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats players react on the bench against the Georgetown Hoyas during the second half of a quarterfinal game during the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden. Georgetown won 62-43. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Bracketology: Are the Cincinnati Bearcats an NCAA Tournament Team?

Think you have what it takes to hash out a fair 68-team bracket? Convinced the Selection Committee has it easy? Find out for yourself as Busting Brackets invites you into the selection room for a simulated look at the challenges confronting the ten-member panel on a daily basis. Next up on the docket: collating bubble teams.

Enter Cincinnati, a Big East tournament finalist and Sweet 16 participant a year ago that has fallen on harder times in the absence of Yancy Gates and Dion Dixon.

The eye test isn’t especially favorable to Mick Cronin’s team. The Bearcats pair a stifling, overplay defense with an ineffectual offense all-too reliant on guard play. Though athletic, lanky and long inside, Cincy’s frontcourt never materialized on the offensive end, lacking the requisite toughness and refined skill to hang with the better frontcourts in the league. As a result, Cincinnati’s offense degenerated into a lot of hero ball meted out among the trio of Cashmere Wright, Sean Kilpatrick and JaQuon Parker.

Poor outside shooting, no inside presence, nagging injuries to Wright and just three competent creators in all added up to an offensive engine that ranks outside of the Top 100 nationally in adjusted scoring efficiency.

Cincinnati’s Big East affiliation, embellished by early non-conference wins over Iowa State (neutral), Oregon (neutral) and Alabama (home), have advanced the perception that the Bearcats are a tournament lock. Since a statement road win at Pittsburgh to tip off Big East play — capping off a 13-1 start to the season — Cincy has been absent from the bubble conversation. Pundits and bracketologists have largely overlooked the team’s downward trend onto the bubble, but a lackluster non-conference slate combined with a weak finish to the season has reopened the discussion.

Are the Cats deserving of an at-large invitation? View their portfolio below, then decide for yourself. The arrows in the right-hand column represent how Cincinnati stacks up with other bubble teams in each criterion. The upward arrow denotes “better than the average bubble team,” the downward arrow denotes worse and the lateral two-way arrow suggests Cincinnati is about on par with the field in that particular category.




Overall Record


Conference Record


Conference RPI Rank


Team RPI


Strength of Schedule


Non-Conference SOS








Record vs. RPI Top 25


Record vs. RPI Top 50


Record vs. RPI Top 100


Last 10 Games


Best Win

vs. RPI #11 (Home)

Worst Loss

vs. RPI #91 (Home)


Are the Cincinnati Bearcats deserving of an NCAA tournament at-large bid?

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