Everyone loves upsets in the NCAA tournament – the 12 seed over the 5 seed, or the 11 over the 6. Missouri over Cincinnati at Verizon Center is one of those popular upset picks, thanks to the Tigers’ 40 minutes of hell style of play.
“Hell? They ain’t seen in yet,” Cincinnati big man Anthony McClain joked on Wednesday afternoon, as teammate Larry Davis chimed in with: “We can put you through hell, on defense too.”
This isn’t to say Missouri might not upset Cincinnati – it very well could happen. But more than anything else, it could be the most interesting game in Washington on Thursday night (by the way, it’s an approximate 9:50 p.m. start).
“We have seen that Cincinnati presses, and I think it’s going to be an exciting game. Two teams who really get after it and like the up-tempo type game by using their press,” Missouri’s Laurence Bowers said. “They’re very athletic from what we’ve seen, but Coach [Mike Anderson] always said we just gotta worry about what we do. And what we gotta do is force our will on them. And I think if we do that, that the game will be entertaining, but it will favor us.”
That’s not the feeling in the Bearcats locker room, which featured a very loose group on Wednesday afternoon. Davis was clowning around – as per usual – and Darnell Wilks, McClain and teammates were playing along.
By the time the conversation got serious, though, Cincinnati made it clear it’s not taking Missouri lightly.
“They pressure, and they trap and they press the whole game,” Sean Kilpatrick said, “but we do the exact same, so we should be fine.”