The No. 8 Providence Friars and No. 9 Cincinnati Bearcats kick off the second round of the 2013 Big East Tournament on Wednesday. While a win would only slightly help either team's case for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid, a loss would be detrimental.
Both teams are widely thought of as being near the bottom or, in the case of Providence, outside of the field of 68. SB Nation bracket expert Chris Dobbertean had Cincinnati in as a No. 12 seed as of Monday morning, but the Bearcats are in a downward spiral, going 3-6 in their last nine games. A loss would only continue that negative late-season trend. The Friars, who only appear on Dobbertean's "also considered" list, simply can't afford a second-round exit at the hands of Cincinnati.
Cincinnati is led by Sean Kilpatrick and Cashmere Wright, a pair of guards who can score but require a lot of shots to do so. Kilpatrick tops the squad with 17.3 points per game, but he's had many poor shooting nights during the Bearcats' recent stretch of mediocrity.
Providence has a pair of scorers that rival Kilpatrick and Wright in Bryce Cotton and Kadeem Batts. Cotton leads the team with 19.6 points per game and is the Friars' top three-point shooter, while Batts' solid inside game has resulted in 15.2 points per game on 49-percent shooting.
Game time, TV: Noon ET, ESPN/WatchESPN
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City