AAC Tournament Championship Game: Will SMU beat Cincinnati? 3/12/17

AAC Tournament Championship Game: Will SMU beat Cincinnati? 3/12/17

AAC Tournament Championship Game: Will SMU beat Cincinnati? 3/12/17

The Cincinnati Bearcats play the SMU Mustangs in the AAC Tournament basketball final game on Sunday, start time at 3:15 PM ET, at XL Center. Their reward - a 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and the possibility of facing nearby Baylor in the second round.

Cincinnati is one of eight teams to appear in the NCAA Tournament each of the last six seasons (along with Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan State, North Carolina, VCU and Wisconsin). Both junior Semi Ojeleye and senior Ben Moore came one rebound short of a double-double as the former had 14 points while the latter had 12.

"Let's be honest, CT did a great job feeding off that crowd", Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. Even after Sunday's loss to SMU, the Bearcats posted a 29-5 record to this point and were a lock for most bracketologists throughout the season.

"I just want to thank the crowd, they were awesome", UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. "From that, there was no looking back".

While the threes made the difference on the score sheet, Cincinnati shot just 31.1 percent overall from the field, including 16.7 percent from deep. The Mustangs are a team that could very well make it to the Sweet 16. "They were just a better team today". The Bearcats, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, routed the Huskies by 20 on March 5, their second victory this season over sixth-seeded UConn, which is the only non-top 4 seed in the semifinals.

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SMU was seeded fourth in 1957, fifth in 1985 tournament and received a sixth seed in 2015 after winning the AAC Tournament in Hartford. UC is a No. 6 seed for the third time in its postseason history, all under Head Coach Mick Cronin, and is seeded in the South Region for the first time since 2004. The Bearcats claimed 66-64 victory at Fifth Third Arena on January 12 while SMU grabbed a 60-51 win at Moody Coliseum on February 12. "I think my teammates are doing a great job being able to present me with some possessions".

The SMU Mustangs (29-4) are coming from a 70-59 win over UCF in which Sterling Brown scored 22 points in 6-for-9 shooting from the field and 7-for-7 from the free throw line. Head Coach Bruce Weber will be leading his Wildcats into the NCAA Tournament for the third time in his five seasons in Manhattan.

The 34 games played so far were just a prelude.

Cincinnati's win on Saturday marked its first semifinal victory since a 71-68 victory over No. 2 Syracuse at the 2014 BIG EAST Championship at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Bearcats, a sixth seed, will play the Wake Forest-Kansas State victor Friday.

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