East Region Second Round Picks: Bearcats Battle Longhorns on Friday

2012 NCAA Tournament
Round of 64 – East Region
Friday, 3/16/12, 12:15 p.m. Eastern, TV: CBS
#6  Cincinnati Bearcats (24-10, 12-6 Big East) vs. #11 Texas Longhorns (20-13, 9-9 Big 12)
Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN
Opening Line: Cincinnati -2
Current Line: Cincinnati -2
Opening Total: 130
Current Total: 129
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Cincinnati vs. Texas NCAA Tournament Betting Preview
Yancy Gates and the Bearcats will look to continue their hot play against the Longhorns as 2-point favorites.

The sixth-seeded Cincinnati Bearcats made a great run in the Big East Conference tournament last week in New York City and will take their act to the Music City on Friday for a second-round matchup with the 11th-seeded Texas Longhorns in the East Region of the NCAA tournament.  The Bearcats (24-10, 12-6 Big East) made it all the way to the Big East tourney title game last Saturday before losing 50-44 to Louisville and hope that experience will carry over to this game against the Longhorns (20-13, 9-9 Big 12).

Cincinnati (-2, O/U 129) lost to eventual national champion UConn 69-58 in the third round of last year’s Big Dance after beating Missouri 78-63 in the second.  The Bearcats came back stronger this season, led by senior forward Yancy Gates, who is averaging 12.4 points and a team-high 9.2 rebounds per game.  Gates had 18 points and seven boards in a 71-68 upset of top seed Syracuse in the semifinals of the Big East tournament last Friday to help his team cover the spread for the sixth straight time before losing to the Cardinals.

Cincy hopes to follow the lead of fellow Big East teams such as the Orange, Marquette and Louisville, all of which advanced to the next round after wins on Thursday.  The defending NCAA champion Huskies and West Virginia both fell in their first games while Notre Dame, Georgetown and South Florida will join the Bearcats as other conference teams in action on Friday.

Meanwhile, Texas is a young team with six freshmen who will be playing in their first-ever Big Dance.  The Longhorns needed a 71-65 victory against Iowa State in the Big 12 tournament last Thursday to get into the NCAA tournament, as a loss would have likely kept them out.  The Cyclones made the conference proud with a 77-64 win over UConn on Thursday while Baylor and Kansas State also got past their second-round games to make it a perfect 3-0 for the Big 12.

The youth and lack of experience could be a good thing for Texas, as head coach Rick Barnes has done worse with better teams that disappointed in the NCAA tournament.  The Longhorns do have one key veteran in junior J’Covan Brown, who led the league in scoring with 20.1 points per game.  Cincinnati will need to hold Brown in check and not look past Texas if the Bearcats are going to move on.

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