Saturday, February 27, 1999
Tie would leave UC co-champs
BY MIKE DeCOURCY
The Cincinnati Enquirer
MEMPHIS, Tenn. If UC and Louisville end the regular season with the same league mark, the Bearcats will proclaim themselves as Conference USA champions. The league would recognize the Cardinals as co-champions of the regular season.
UC won both regular-season games against Louisville by double-digit margins, which gave the Bearcats the tiebreaker edge for the No.1 conference tournament seed.
Co-champions were declared in the first year of the league, 1995-96, when Memphis and Cincinnati both went 11-3 over a 14-game schedule.
The understanding then, however, was co-champs were declared because UC had the advantage of playing the only game between the two on its home court. This time, Louisville had two shots at the Bearcats, one at Freedom Hall. UC won, 81-55.
UC's victory Thursday over South Florida clinched at least a No.2 seed and a first-round bye in the Conference USA Tournament. The Bearcats could guarantee the No.1 seed and a fourth consecutive Conference USA title by winning at Memphis today, but they also could get both without a victory provided Louisville loses at Southern Mississippi.
The Cardinals own the same league mark as UC 11-4 but the Bearcats own the tiebreaker edge by virtue of their season sweep. Louisville seems unlikely to lose, given its seven victories in the past eight games and USM's eight defeats in the past nine games.
UC junior guard Alvin Mitchell did not play against South Florida because of a wrist injury that occurred when he fell in practice.
UC coach Bob Huggins said he's not sure whether Mitchell will be able to make a contribution against Memphis.
Sophomore forward Aaron McGhee did not play against USF because his practice effort was not what his coaches wanted to see.
There were some positive statistics in UC's victory over South Florida, despite the offensive collapse that took place over the final 30 minutes.
UC outrebounded USF 44-31, its second double-figure rebounding margin in the past three games.
UC had 16 assists on 24 baskets, its third-highest ratio of the season. The number of assists per basket can indicate how selflessly a team is playing or how well it is executing.
USF shot .365 from the field, becoming the 12th opponent in a row to shoot under .420.
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LAS VEGAS 3, CYCLONES 2
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