Bringing an 11-2 record into conference play, the Cincinnati Bearcats are poised to make a solid showing in the inaugural season of the American Athletic Conference. Although most of their wins so far this season can be seen as “gimme” games, they did pass an early test against a talented North Carolina State team and a more recent defensive battle against Pittsburgh where they won 44-43 in what must have been an absolute treat to watch.
Head Coach Mick Cronin certainly has had success stressing defense, and his team has not allowed more than 67 points in a game this season. The Bearcats have held North Carolina State to 57, New Mexico to 63, Xavier to 64, and Pittsburgh to 43. However, offensively, the team has not been consistent, especially against the four talented teams they’ve played. Their two losses came against New Mexico and Xavier where they produced just 54 points and 47 points respectively.
Cincinnati does have Sean Kilpatrick, arguably the most dynamic scorer in the AAC. He is currently putting up 19.1 points per game and will be an absolute nightmare to defend for guards in the conference.
Here are my predictions for Cincinnati.
Overall, they will go 10-8 in the AAC and finish 21-10, which will be better than I originally predicted them to be at year’s end. But they will fall short of an NCAA Tournament berth, unless they make a run in the AAC Tournament, and will ultimately be left outside of the bubble.