The Cincinnati Bearcats and Houston Cougars will go for the AAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament when they meet in the conference title game on Sunday, March 14th. Plenty of eyes will be on Dickie’s Arena in Fort Worth as Cincinnati could steal a bid over an at-large bubble team if they complete their AAC run to the ring.
Cincinnati entered the tourney as the No. 5 seed and beat top-seeded Wichita State Shockers 60-59 on Saturday in the semifinal round. It was a balanced effort on the offensive end for the Bearcats, as reserve freshman guard Mason Madsen was the only player on the roster to score double digit points with 10. All eight players who entered the game scored for the Bearcats, which rank as the No. 110 team in the latest KenPom ratings.
Houston earned a No. 3 seed and earned a 76-74 victory over the Memphis Tigers on Saturday. The Cougars had four players score in double digits in the victory, led by Quentin Grimes, who put up 21 points. Houston ranks inside the top 16 in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency this season. They look to be a real contender to make a run during the NCAA Tournament.
Let’s take a look at all the action from the Dickies Arena in Forth Worth, Texas.
Cincinnati vs. Houston, 3:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
Point Spread: Houston -13.5
Point Total: 136
Cincinnati did not put together that great of a regular season, but they need just one victory to advance to the big dance. The Bearcats were impressive in a pair of close wins over higher-seeded teams, and they’ll see their toughest test by far with Houston. The Cougars should come out of this game with a win but with so much on the line, the motivation factor has to belong to Cincinnati. Let’s go with the Bearcats as the underdogs.
The pick: Cincinnati +13.5
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