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Big East Tournament Day Four

by Photo of Ross Bernhardt

Cincinnati and Louisville impressed en route to the Big East Championship Game.

Big East Tournament Day Four

The Big East Tournament didn't play out like most people, including I, thought it would.  The big boys in the conference, Syracuse, Marquette, and Georgetown, are all gone. The two schools left standing after the gigantic 16-team tournament are Louisville and Cincinnati.  How did they get there?

Cincinnati 71 - Syracuse 68

The Bearcats jumped out on Syracuse in the first half by hitting 8 of their first 10 three pointers.  The long-range barrage definitely stunned 'Cuse, who trailed by 12 at the half.  Cincinnati built their lead as high as 17 at one point in the first half, but their shooting predictably cooled off.  Syracuse slowly chipped away.  Dion Waiters shot the Orange back into it and he finished with a game-high 28 points.  

Cincinnati didn't succumb to the Syracuse run though.  Yancy Gates and Sean Kilpatrick both finished with 18 points, and Gates' presence inside was a huge boost for the Bearcats.  Syracuse had a chance to tie in the final minutes down three, but a Cincinnati foul gave them just two free throws with five seconds left.  Justin Jackson beat the Syracuse press down the court and finished the game off with an emphatic slam.  Cincinnati is clicking at just the right time.

Louisville 64 - Notre Dame 50

Peyton Siva is playing out of his mind during the Big East Tournament, and the same was true last night.  During the three-game stretch, Siva has scored 45 points, grabbed 21 rebounds, dished out 18 assists, nabbed 11 steals, and turned the ball over just 10 times.  When Siva plays at this high a level on both ends of the floor, Louisville is one of the toughest teams in the country.

Notre Dame found that out last night.  Siva and the Cardinals blitzed the Fighting Irish, who just couldn't match up with the quickness and aggressiveness of Louisville's pressure defense.  Siva weaved his way into the lane with ease, setting up guys like 7-footer Gorgui Dieng for easy finishes.  Notre Dame trailed by 16 at the half and couldn't cut the lead down in the second half.

What To Expect Tonight:

This should be a highly energetic championship game.  Both teams are locks for the NCAA Tournament at this point, so there will be no bid stealing tonight.  The key things to watch tonight are how Siva continues to play against the strong, quick guards of Cincinnati and if Yancy Gates can continue to be a presence inside for the Bearcats against Louisville's tight pressure.  I haven't expected much of Cincinnati throughout this tournament and they've proved me wrong every single time.  I think Cincinnati wins this in a close one, with Cashmere Wright hitting a big bucket down the stretch to clinch it.

Let CHARGED.fm get you tickets to see your favorite team live.

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