Hoyas and Bearcats collide in Big East quarterfinals

The fifth-seeded Georgetown Hoyas will try to seeded Cincinnati Bearcats, in the quarterfinal round of the Big East Conference Tournament at Madison Square Garden.

The winner of this bout will advance to face the winner of the Connecticut/Syracuse game matchup.

The Hoyas and Bearcats' initial encounter of this season was a very hard- fought affair. Cincinnati managed to pick up a 68-64 victory in Washington D.C. after a late comeback in the second half. Georgetown let one slip away in the contest, as it wasted a 59.1 percent shooting performance with five costly turnovers in the final six minutes.

Coach John Thompson III led his team to a 64-52 victory over Pitt in the second round on Wednesday to advance to today's collision with UC. Georgetown (23-7) showed its strong rebounding ability in the contest, as it outboarded the Panthers, 36-25. The Hoyas are one of the top defensive teams in the nation this season, as they have allowed opponents to average only 58.7 ppg. GU's superb defense was on display on Wednesday right away, as it held Pitt to 27.6 percent shooting and just 23 points in the opening 20 minutes.

Playing away from home for Cincinnati (22-7) has not been an issue this season, as its seven wins on the road ranked second in the Big East behind Syracuse. Coach Mick Cronin had a roller coaster season at the helm of the program. The Bearcats managed to overcome suspensions to key players after the late-game brawl with Xavier and win eight in a row. After Cincinnati looked like it was heading for a late collapse with a three game losing slide in late January, it came together to win seven of its last nine to close out the regular season and finish in fourth place in the league standings. The Bearcats' resilience, depth, and talent will give them a great shot at the program's first ever Big East Conference Tournament title.

To get that first trophy, UC will need to find a way to slow down the Hoyas' frontline. Center Henry Sims and forward Otto Porter posted 20 points each on Wednesday as Georgetown avenged a loss to Pitt. Sims also grabbed 13 rebounds and handed out five assists in the contest. The Bearcats will need to contain Sims or they too will watch as Georgetown gets revenge.

Cincinnati's guards Sean Kilpatrick and Dion Dixon combined to score 49 points against Georgetown the first time these programs met this season. Kilpatrick is leading the team in scoring with 14.6 ppg, while Dixon averages 13.5 ppg to rank second on the squad. The Bearcats' will assign senior forward Yancy Gates the assignment of stopping GU's Sims. Gates has consistently brought inside intensity for the Bearcats and is 32nd in the NCAA in rebounds per game (9.5).