It's the final tune-up before the night's event(s), and it should be a pretty good one between a pair of teams with top 25 aspirations.
5:34 - We join our AAC and ACC heroes with just a little over 8 minutes remaining in the first half. Cincinnati leads 23-19 thanks in large part to Sean Kilpatrick's 10 points.
5:36 - Both teams already in the bonus here, too. If this one isn't over before 7:30, Big Blue Nation will have the worldwide leader exiled.
5:50 - Both teams now have three starters with two fouls, but they're still competing hard in the paint. The Pack now owns a 32-31 lead in what has been another extremely competitive first half.
5:53 - Nice:
5:56 - Really good first half in Cincinnati. Both teams head to the locker room with 35 points.
6:15 - Easily the worst thing about staying awake for 24 hours to watch basketball is being borderline delirious once the event's best games roll around. That's especially true when said games involve four of the top five teams in the country.
6:28 - Cincinnati wins the first segment of the second half, scoring 11 points and snagging a 46-43 lead.
6:37 - Anthony "Cat" Barber with a nice theft for NC State. The Pack have scored the last five and lead 48-46 at the under 12.
6:39 - Meanwhile in Bloomington, Indiana trails LIU Brooklyn 24-16 deep into the second half.
6:45 - Kilpatrick and Titus Rubles teaming up to push UC back in front. The Bearcats have been a team of bursts in the second half, and the latest has them up 53-48 at the under 8. Kilpatrick has 15 points, Rubles 12.
7:02 - Cincy defense has completely intimidated NC State. Bearcats also aren't allowing any opportunities for second chance points. The home team leads 62-53 with exactly two minutes to go. It's difficult to see the Pack walking out of here with a W.
7:04 - This one's over. Bring on the main course.
7:10 - Final: Cincinnati 68, NC State 57