Cincinnati Bearcats, Xavier Musketeers miss same NCAA Tournament again

Xavier Musketeers guard Dwon Odom (11) rises to the basket as Cincinnati Bearcats guard Mike Saunders (3) defends in the second half of the 89th Annual Crosstown Shootout college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021, at Cintas Center in Cincinnati. The Xavier Musketeers won, 83-63.
Xavier Musketeers guard Dwon Odom (11) rises to the basket as Cincinnati Bearcats guard Mike Saunders (3) defends in the second half of the 89th Annual Crosstown Shootout college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021, at Cintas Center in Cincinnati. The Xavier Musketeers won, 83-63.

Last year, the University of Cincinnati Bearcats and Xavier University Musketeers failed to earn NCAA Tournament bids - the first time in 36 years (since the 1984-85 season) that neither team participated in the Big Dance.

It happened again this year after both teams failed to get hot enough down the stretch.

The Bearcats fell to top seed Houston in the second round of the American Athletic Conference tournament. Having entered the conference tournament 17-14 this season - 7-11 in the AAC - after a five-point loss to SMU in their regular-season finale, UC would have needed to win the AAC tournament to earn the league's NCAA Tournament automatic bid.

Before last year, the Bearcats hadn't missed the NCAA Tournament since the 2009-10 season, when they were in the Big East under head coach Mick Cronin.

From The Enquirer's Keith Jenkins via Twitter:

Xavier lost to Butler in the first round of the Big East Tournament. On the bubble for an at-large bid, the Musketeers needed a strong showing in the conference tournament - which they entered 18-12 overall, 8-11 in the Big East - last week at New York City's Madison Square Garden.

Xavier was not among the "First Four Out." Seth Davis said on CBS that he had XU in the field and was surprised the Muskies weren't among the "First Four Out."

The Musketeers haven't made the Big Dance since Travis Steele took over as head coach before the 2018-19 season, though there was no postseason held in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

From The Enquirer's Adam Baum via Twitter:

UC and XU also missed consecutive NCAA Tournaments in 1984 and 1985.

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This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: UC Bearcats, Xavier miss same NCAA Tournament again