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TheOpenThread: Cincinnati Bearcats vs. UConn Huskies

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Survive and advance, survive and advance. That's the mantra I always repeat to myself this time of year when the true terror of the NCAA tournament's single-elimination format begins to set in. I'm not sure if it does anything because I'm going to be worried no matter what, but it does allow me to keep focused on what matters: winning. It does not matter if you win ugly, or get lucky or whatever else. All that matters is that you win.

There is a lot that worries me about tonight's game. The biggest factor, which Meacham touched on in his preview, is that Cincinnati has seen us before. I'll take UConn's odds against almost anyone if they only have a handful of hours to put in a defense to stop Kemba Walker. Unfortunately, Cincinnati already has a defense to stop Walker and they've seen it work (albeit in a game the Huskies won). It's a lot easier to refine something you've already done in a day than it is to draw something up from scratch.

The other thing that bothers me? Superstition. I was very public in my desire to avoid playing Missouri tonight and while I'm glad we've avoided the Tigers, I'm always wary of getting what I wished for. It's backfired against me before (no one wanted to see G#$%^# M@%#& more than me in 2006), although that is not always the case (I was pretty happy to duck Memphis in '09).

What makes me feel good? Well, for starters Cincinnati was one of the hottest teams in the Big East down the stretch winning four of their last five. The one loss? A home game against UConn. Plus, as hot as they were, the Huskies have been hotter. Plus, we have Kemba Walker and they don't.

You know who else we have? Jim Calhoun. I suspect we will be in for a far-too-close-for-comfort game tonight and when the chips are down I'm taking Calhoun over Mick Cronin every time.

The game is scheduled for an 9:40 tip on TBS (but will almost certainly start later than that). It's online on as part of MMOD. This is your OpenThread. Join the discussion. Go Huskies.