For the last few years, I would make my NCAA Tournament projections on YACS (Your Average College Student), which I made, shockingly, while in college. Now, that I am out, I have decided to move my bracketology to Curse of Bo! While football season was disappointing for the city of Cincinnati, college basketball has been an electrifying experience. Xavier is currently ranked 4th, and Cincinnati is 10th, but both spent time in the top 5 together for the first time ever. Not only that, just across the river, Northern Kentucky is tied atop the Horizon League looking for its second straight tournament appearance. Now, to the bracket!
Xavier (24-4) – 1 Seed, Midwest – The Musketeers are enjoying their best season in program history. Currently ranked as 4th in the AP (their highest ever), they have a half game lead in the Big East over fellow top seed Villanova, although ‘Nova has beaten them both times this season. Their only other losses have come on a neutral site to Arizona State, and at Providence. Xavier has never been on the #1 seed line, and with a strong finish, probably going to take winning the next 5, it is within reach.
Cincinnati (23-4) – 3 Seed, East – Xavier isn’t the only team experiencing a program-changing season. Before this week, Cincinnati still had top seed aspirations, but after losses @ Houston and home vs. Wichita St, those dreams are all but gone. The reality of a weak conference will hurt them some come Selection Sunday, but the Bearcats have taken care of business all year long. All four losses have come to tournament teams, and the margin of victory is where it should be for a Final Four contender. Winning out would put them in the conversation for as high as a two-seed, but that is probably their ceiling.
Northern Kentucky (20-8) – Not In – After winning the Horizon League Tournament last year and punching their ticket in their first year of eligibility, the Norse are right in the hunt again. Returning 4 starters, the expectations were high. They are currently tied atop the league standings with Wright St. However, to get back to the Big Dance, they will probably have to do something they haven’t done in two tries this season – beat the Raiders.