Washington State Cougars

Defense lifts No. 8 Cincinnati over Houston in AAC final

Mick Cronin doesn't have a catchy sales pitch for the stingy brand of basketball No. 8 Cincinnati played to claw its way to the top of the American Athletic Conference.

Stellar defense was a big part of the team's drive to the league's regular-season championship. It also served the top-seeded Bearcats well while they were winning three games in three days to capture the American's conference tournament title.

Now they'll see how far it can carry them in the NCAA Tournament.

"I can sit here and tell you about the culture and try to sell you on everything that we build at Cincinnati," Cronin said after Sunday's 56-55 victory over No. 21 Houston in the AAC...