Bearcats win AAC final; No. 2 seed for NCAA Tournament

The Cincinnati Bearcats celebrate their championship over Houston Cougars at the final game of the 2018 AAC Basketball Championship at Amway Center on March 11, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

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The Cincinnati Bearcats celebrate their championship over Houston Cougars at the final game of the 2018 AAC Basketball Championship at Amway Center on March 11, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

The Cincinnati Bearcats won their first conference tournament title since 2004 on Sunday and earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament.

No. 10-ranked UC (30-4) will face Sun Belt tournament champion Georgia State (24-10) in a South Region opener Friday in Nashville. The Bearcats are playing in their eighth straight NCAA appearance but have made it past the first weekend just once in the last seven years, a Sweet 16 trip in 2012.

Cincinnati beat No. 21 Houston 56-55 on Sunday in the American Athletic Conference final. Prior to the tournament, senior forward Gary Clark was named a unanimous first-team pick, as well as the AAC Defensive Player of the Year and AAC Player of the Year.

The Panthers dropped four of their last six games in the regular season but closed with a win over South Alabama and rolled through the Sun Belt tournament, beating UT-Arlington 74-61 in the final Sunday.

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