East Region - Second Round
(27-6, 15-3 AAC)
Conference: American Athletic Conference
Head coach: Mick Cronin (Larry Davis interim)
How they got here: At-large bid
The Good: Cincy is a team that knows how to focus on and off the court, not missing a beat once head coach Mick Cronin was taken out of the equation with an aneurysm in December. The offense isn’t going to put up big offensive numbers, but it’s a great defensive team that protects the rim better than most teams in the country. Octavius Ellis and Gary Clark are tough to deal with inside.
The Bad: When Cincy gets behind, it just doesn’t have the horsepower to rally. The team has lost four games this season when it didn’t give up more than 60 points, and there simply isn’t a player on the team who can take things over when the going gets tough. The Bearcats are a great team, but it’s the stars who shine brightest in the Big Dance – they don’t have enough of them.
Last Time In The Tournament: 2014, lost to Harvard 61-57 in the round of 64.
How Far Will They Go?: Cincy’s inconsistency is an issue, with just enough potentially make a run if everything breaks right – or go out flaming right away. The latter is the more likely option.
(21-12, 11-5 Big South)
Conference: Ivy League
Head coach: Tommy Amaker
How they got here: Won Ivy League playoff
The Good: The Crimson needed a one-game playoff to earn the Ivy League’s automatic bid, but this was a team that dominated with defense all season. Head coach Tommy Amaker has his team playing with discipline, and they Crimson force opponents to make mistakes. Wesley Saunders is a solid inside-outside scorer, and Steve Moundou-Missi provides plenty of support inside. He’s also a good shot blocker.
The Bad: Harvard pulled off an upset last season, but a lack of offense will be an issue for the Crimson if they get behind. Earlier this year Harvard took on Virginia and scored eight first-half points en route to a 76-27 loss. The Crimson are experienced, but their offensive brownouts are a problem.
Last Time In The Tournament: 2014, lost to Michigan State 80-73 in the round of 32.
How Far Will They Go?: Harvard will give a team headaches and could pull off another upset, but a second weekend isn’t likely.