Cincinnati is in a peculiar spot right now. They somehow only got a 7th seed despite being ranked in the top 25 before the conference tournament and then went on to win the tournament while upsetting Houston along the way. Although they are the 7th seed, they are going to get to play in Ohio (Columbus) which they can consider a home game in a way.
Regardless of the location, the seeding is still extremely disrespectful to Cincy, and don’t doubt that they are going to play with a fire because of it. One player in particular who will be ready is Jarron Cumberland.
Cumberland was a man amongst boys in the American Athletic Conference Championship where he went for 33 points. Honestly, it wasn’t even about the 33 points since he actually wasn’t his normal self from beyond the arc (1-7 3PT). What was so impressive was how he was getting his buckets. Jarron absolutely took over the championship game against Houston.
He showed the ability to drive to the lane and finish with some finesse.
He took Corey Davis Jr. off the dribble down the stretch of the game and hit some pretty impressive shots.
He used his strength and body control to finish.
And he was even helping on the offensive glass while showing, again, that strength of his.
It was just so easy for him. Every time he touched the ball in that game, you just knew that he was getting the shot he wanted, when he wanted, and how he wanted it. He’s simply a remarkable ball player who will be trusted in big game situations.
That brings us to now.
Cincinnati will face off, in their first game, against Iowa on Friday at 12:15 PM (EST). If they win that, they’ll set themselves up with a matchup with a tough Tennessee team. Based off of the bracket, the Elite Eight is a very real possibility. Iowa has been VERY shaky as of late, winning only 1 of their last 6 games. Tyler Cooke’s play lately hasn’t been up to par and its shown.
It’s not just Cooke though. The whole Iowa team has just not been playing well as a unit. In their last game against Michigan, they shot 1-16 from 3 as a team. That’s not going to beat anyone and certainly not a hot Cincinnati team.
In this matchup we have a team that’s hot and a team that is not. It’s easy to just pick Cincinnati, but one of the main reasons is truly because of Cumberland. For every team to succeed in the tournament they need a star.
2018 Villanova had DiVincenzo.
2017 North Carolina had Justin Jackson.
2016 Villanova had Josh Hart.
We could go on. Now, we are not saying Cincinnati is going to win the Championship, but they do have the star to make that a reality.
And that star’s name is Jarron Cumberland.