Sunday, March 11, 2001

Huggins expects No. 5 seed for UC

That may be too optimistic after losing C-USA final

By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LOUISVILLE — The University of Cincinnati players were taking little consolation in the fact that despite losing Saturday's Ohio Casualty Group Conference USA Tournament final, they should not have to sweat out the NCAA Tournament draw.

        The top-seeded Bearcats lost to No.3 seed Charlotte 80-72, ending their six-game winning streak, but would seem a lock for an at-large bid — and a 10th straight NCAA berth — when the field of 65 is announced today.

        The only questions: Against whom, when and where?

        “I would guess a five seed,” UC coach Bob Huggins said. “I think (winning) today would've really helped that. I'm thinking we win today we get a four. But I can't imagine we're any lower than six. Of course, I don't remember the last time I was right.”

        The Bearcats (23-9) probably are looking more at a seven or eight seed. They were No.28 in the Ratings Percentage Index before Saturday's loss.

        “What's the difference?” Huggins said. “You just go play. What I think doesn't matter; that's very apparent.”

        Charlotte (21-10), which earned the league's automatic bid, was No.57 in the RPI. It's unlikely C-USA will get any other team in the NCAA.

        The Bearcats' locker room was fairly subdued.

        Said junior guard Steve Logan: “A loss is always going to be a loss. I haven't won a tournament championship since I've been here. I really wanted this one.”

        Cincinnati has not won the tournament since 1998.


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