College Basketball

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(21) Connecticut (25-7) vs. (13) Cincinnati (27-5)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Friday, March 14, 9 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: FedExForum (18,119) -- Memphis, Tennessee. Television: ESPN 2. Home Record: UConn 15-3, Cincinnati 18-1. Away Record: UConn 6-4, Cincinnati 9-2. Neutral Record: UConn 4-0, Cincinnati 2-1. Conference Record: UConn 12-6, Cincinnati 15-3. Series Record: Connecticut leads, 9-5.

GAME NOTES: Former Big East foes collide when the top-seeded Cincinnati Huskies meet up with the fourth-seeded Connecticut Huskies in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament on Friday night at FedExForum.

Although these teams both made the move to the AAC from the Big East this past year, they didn't have a particularly long history against one another. UConn has won nine of 14 all-time meetings. Two of those came this season, with the teams trading victories on their home floors. The winner this time moves on to the title tilt to face either Louisville or Houston.

Perhaps having a bye in the first round worked against Cincinnati, which nearly got knocked off by ninth-seeded UCF in the quarterfinals, before pulling out a 61-58 victory. The Bearcats have still won three straight overall and tied Louisville for the regular-season title.

Having the homecourt advantage didn't help Memphis against UConn in the quarterfinals as the Huskies ran over the Tigers, 72-53. The win was the fourth in the last five games dating back to the regular season for UConn, which is now 25-7 overall.

Niels Giffey drained 6-of-8 shots from beyond the arc and finished with a game-high 24 points, as the Huskies defeated Memphis. Giffey's shooting from distance wasn't the only thing that pushed the Huskies forward, as they clamped down on defense and limited the Tigers to 26.4 percent shooting.

Shabazz Napier (17.6 ppg, 6 rpg, 5.1 apg) is the primary scorer and ball- handler for the Huskies, as he leads the way in scoring, rebounding and assists. He was rewarded for his efforts this season when he was named the AAC's Player of the Year earlier this week. Napier gets plenty of support in the backcourt. Ryan Boatright (11.9 ppg, 3.6 apg) serves as an effective complement on the wings, while Giffey (8.5 ppg) sinks 52.1 percent of his 3- point attempts. DeAndre Daniels (12.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg) is the primary threat on the interior.

Sean Kilpatrick simply willed the Bearcats to their win over UCF, posting 21 points and nine rebounds in the three-point victory. Kilpatrick scored five of the final 11 points for Cincinnati, which limited the Knights to 37.7 percent shooting.

Kilpatrick (20.9 ppg) has been incredible this season. He earned a spot on the All-AAC First Team after leading the conference in scoring. Justin Jackson (11.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.9 bpg) hasn't gotten the same amount of publicity, but his work on defense as the league's leader in blocks can't be understated. With Jackson anchoring the squad in the paint, the Bearcats have continued their run as one of the better defensive teams in the country, ranking fourth in points allowed (58.3 ppg) and 17th in opponent field goal percentage (.393).

This certainly won't be an easy game for either team. Cincinnati showed some weakness against UCF, but Kilpatrick and the Bearcats' always steady defense led to victory. Expect the same combination to get the job done once again.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cincinnati 67, Connecticut 65

03/14 10:33:01 ET

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Final
NCCU 55
DELST 54
 
Final
UNC 93
SYR 83
7:30pm Tonight
CAR
TAM
 
7:30pm Monday
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POR 0
7:30pm Monday
NYK 0
SAC 0
Final
OKC 92
MIN 84
Final
MEM 103
ORL 94
Final
NOP 99
PHI 74
Final
UTA 90
BOS 99
Final
LAC 102
DEN 98
7:00pm Tonight
IND
TOR
 
7:30pm Tonight
DET
CLE
 
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MIA
MIL
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
MEM
 
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
CHI
 
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LAL
WAS
 
Final
AMER 66
ARMY 68
 
Final
OU 59
CLST 56
 
Final
NCCU 55
DELST 54
 
Final
PBY 54
HIGH 63
 
Final
UNC 93
SYR 83
Final
DET 53
WRST 64
 
Final
NCAT 71
COPST 84
 
Final
SCST 65
HAMP 56
 
Final
COOK 42
HOW 45
 
Final
NWST 80
NICST 51
 
Final
NO 87
CARK 67
 
Final
CAMP 78
GWEBB 59
 
Final
FAM 65
MDES 72
 
Final
INCWORD 86
MCNST 84
 
Final
SAV 54
NORST 70
 
Final
ABCHRIST 63
SHSU 80
 
Final
LAM 65
STEPH 82
 
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SELA 61
TAMCC 70
 
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VALPO 73
UWMIL 48
 
Final
ALAAM 78
ALCOR 66
 
Final
ALAST 63
SOUTH 59
 
Final
ARKPB 105
PVU 68
 
Final
ISU 89
TEX 86
Final
MVSU 84
TXSOU 85
 
7:00pm Tonight
AKR
BST
 
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CMICH
 
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GWU
 
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PITT
 
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WIN
 
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DAL
 
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ANA