Hug a Cincinnati fan. Not only did the Bearcats lose the two biggest final games of the season in heartbreaking, close games, both losses came down to split seconds.
Last week in the American Athletic Conference Tournament, they were leading UConn by three points with .8 seconds left in triple overtime. Then Jalen Adams hit this 70-footer:
Adams released the ball with .2 seconds left on the game clock:
Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin protested, claiming there was no way a player could catch and shoot a shot of that power in such little time and ripping the referees and clock operators. He was wrong: The ball was in Adams' hand for 45 frames, or .75 seconds. Even if the clock was perfectly operated, Adams would've released the ball with the clock on .1.
Friday night in the NCAA Tournament, Cincinnati trailed St. Joseph's by two points with the clock winding down. The ball got to Octavius Ellis, and he slammed a dunk home ... but it came just too late.
As you can see, the ball is still in Ellis' hand with 0.0 displaying on the clock.
If the ball is still touching a player's hand with 0.0 on the clock, the period is over, and any shot the player is taking does not count. This is why a dunk can be a bad option with the clock about to expire. There's a chance a layup might've been a tenth of a second or so quicker, and that might've sent this game to overtime.
To be fair, neither play technically lost the game for them. They still could've beaten UConn in quadruple overtime, and they still would've needed to beat St. Joe's in overtime.
But if Adams' shot was in his hands for two-tenths of a second longer, Cincinnati gets to play for the AAC title. If Ellis' dunk got out of his hands a tenth of a second faster, the Bearcats get to go to OT against St. Joe's. Instead, the season ends with two gut-wrenching losses, a miracle and a heartbreaker.
Hug a Cincinnati fan. And make sure you hold onto them for more than .3 seconds. They really need it.