NCAA Tournament 2012: Getting To Know The Cincinnati Bearcats

What will No. 6 seed Cincinnati mean for Texas in the second round of the NCAA tournament? Let's see...

No. 11 seed Texas and No. 6 seed Cincinnati will play in the East Region on Friday. For a complete printable bracket, click here. Now, the logical question is: who is Cincinnati? Let's run through that exact question:

This season: The Bearcats finished tied for fourth in the Big East with a 12-6 conference record and a 24-10 overall mark. That gave them a two-round bye in the Big East conference tournament and a quarterfinal matchup with Georgetown. Cincinnati won that in two overtimes 72-70 and then beat Syracuse 58-55 in the semifinals before losing to Louisville 50-44 in the conference finals.

Cincinnati went 9-3 in its last 12 games, dropping one to Louisville, at South Florida and at Marquette. After being ranked No. 21 in the preseason polls, the Bearcats dropped off after Nov. 14 and never made a reappearance. They beat Oklahoma, their only Big 12 opponent this season.

The Bearcats averaged 68.5 points per game, giving up 61.2 points per game on defense.

Stat leaders: Sophomore guard Sean Kilpatrick led the Bearcats in scoring, averaging 14.3 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game and 2.1 assists per game. Senior guard Dion Dixon was close behind, averaging 13.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg and 2.1 apg.

Senior forward Yancey Gates was the team's leading rebounder with 9.2 per game. Gates also averaged 12.4 ppg while junior guard Cashmere Wright led the team in assists with 4.6 per game.

Kipatrick was named to the Big East conference second team and was the only one of his teammates honored by the conference.

NCAA history: After making the NCAA tournament 14 straight seasons under then-head coach Bob Huggins, the Bearkats made the tournament for the second straight season. Before that, it had been five seasons since Cincy had made the NCAAs.

This is the 26th overall NCAA appearance for the Bearcats. Cincy has won two national titles in back-to-back seasons in '61 and '62, beating Ohio State both times. The Bearcats made the national finals in '63, but lost to Loyola.

Head coach: Mick Cronin is in his sixth year at Cincy, beginning his coaching carer with Murray State in 2003-2004. He reached the NCAA tournament in two of those three seasons and previously served as an assistant coach under Bob Huggins and Louisville's Rick Pitino.

Cronin has a career record of 180-111 and 111-87 at Cincinnati. He's also got a 1-3 career record in the NCAA tournament. Cronin graduated from Cincinnati, working as an assistant high school coach part-time before getting a job with the Bearcats staff in 1997.

Mascot: Cincinnati isn't the only team with the Bearcat as its mascot, but it's got a unique backstory to why they're called that:

During the second half of that hard-fought football game, UC cheerleader Norman "Pat" Lyon, building on the efforts of fullback Leonard K. "Teddy" Baehr, created the chant: "They may be Wildcats, but we have a Baehr-cat on our side."

The crowd took up the cry: "Come on, Baehr-cat!" Cincinnati prevailed, 14-7, and the victory was memorialized in a cartoon published on the front page of the student newspaper, the weekly University News, on Nov. 3. The cartoon, by John "Paddy" Reece, depicted a bedraggled Kentucky Wildcat being chased by a creature labeled "Cincinnati Bear Cats".

Matchup history with Texas: Much like Lamar, there haven't been any matchups between these two teams since 1979.

For more on this matchup and the impending March Madness season, check out SB Nation's college hoops news hub. Stay tuned to SB Nation Houston for more Longhorns recaps, previews and news updates. Brackets on the brain? Us too! Play Yahoo! Tourney Pick’em and be a part of the craziest month of college basketball. It is fun, easy, and free.

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