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Cincinnati Looks To Make A Name For Itself At 2011 NCAA Tournament

The Verizon Center is hosting four first round games of the 2011 NCAA Tournament on Thursday that will feature some of the best teams in the Nation. You can find the schedule for Thursday's games here. We're going to preview each of the eight teams that will be playing on Thursday.

Cincinnati Bearcats:

Coach: Mick Cronin

Conference: Big East (Sixth)

Record: 25-8 (11-7)

Best Player And Why: Yancy Gates is an absolute man-child in the post. He hasn't developed all the skills he will need to single handily take over Tournament games, but he has all the physical tools necessary to be a huge matchup problem for whichever team he faces.

Strength: Against Missouri at least, it will be their size. The Tigers won't have anyone who can match up with Gates, and they should have a size advantage at most of the positions on the floor. Also, on a less serious note, their starting five has the best names of any unit in the Tournament. Not sure how that will help, but it has to.

Weakness: They don't have the go-to scorer that is needed when the opposition shuts down your half court offense. Gates is their leading scorer, but he only averages a shade under 12 points per game. When his offense isn't working, they don't have someone that they can hand the ball to that can create their own shot.

Starting Lineup: Cashmere Wright - Dion Dixon - Rashad Bishop - Ibrahima Thomas - Yancy Gates

Prediction: I think the lack of a go-to scorer is going to doom the Bearcats. Missouri doesn't have anyone to match up with Gates, but I think they can play the game at a pace that is fast enough to neutralize him to some extent. I like Missouri.

If you haven't filled out your bracket yet, it's not too late! We have a printable bracket that's been updated to reflect the results of the first-four wins.