Just like that, there is only one week left in the 2022-23 college basketball regular season. As we approach the final days of February, March Madness is just around the corner for the most wonderful time of the year.
Barring a magical run through the American Athletic Conference tournament, the Cincinnati men’s basketball team is unlikely to be in the NCAA Tournament picture. The Bearcats are 19-10 overall, including 10-6 in league play heading into the final week of the season.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t take a look at where Wes Miller’s squad stands entering the home stretch.
Cincinnati is ranked No. 67 in Ken Pomeroy’s latest overall ratings, while Bart Torvik lists this team at No. 42 in the country. Both rankings suggest there might be some value on the Bearcats moving forward, at least for how long their season lasts.
The Bearcats are set to travel to Memphis on Sunday, with KenPom projecting the home team to prevail 80-74. The Tigers won the first meeting 75-68 on Jan. 22 and recently added their best player, Kendric Davis, back into the lineup.
Cincinnati then closes out the regular season with a home tilt against SMU on Sunday, March 5. KenPom likes Cincinnati’s chances in that one, projecting a 79-67 victory in the regular-season finale.
As one of five teams in the conference with double-digit victories during league play, the Bearcats sit fourth in the AAC standings. Where they end up could have huge implications on how far their run goes in the conference tourney.
In fact, delaying a meeting with Houston in the conference tournament for as long as possible will be the goal for most of the contenders. The No. 4 seed or No. 5 seed would have to face the Cougars in the semifinals, while a No. 2 seed or No. 3 seed could avoid that potential matchup until the championship game.
With Houston locked in as the top seed, FanDuel Sportsbook has odds for the AAC tournament already. The Cougars are the favorite at -280, but Memphis has the second-best price at +500. Cincinnati and Tulane are both listed at 16/1, while UCF comes in at 20/1. The tourney will begin on Thursday, March 9 and wrap up on Sunday, March 12.
TeamRankings currently gives Houston a 72.4% chance of winning the conference tournament, with Memphis having a 12.4% chance. Cincinnati has a 6.2% chance of winning the whole thing and a 15.9% chance of reaching the championship game.
Even if the Bearcats don’t make it to Sunday, there could still be opportunities to bet on them in the tourney. Cincinnati is 14-7 against the spread as a favorite this season, but just 4-3 as an underdog. Keep those trends in mind as the campaign comes to a close in the coming weeks.