Even with Selection Sunday five weeks away, there's never a bad time to check two popular mock brackets to see where our locals stand. Sadly, unless someone in the group makes a spectacular run through a conference tournament (or in Penn's case, sweep the Ivy League and hope for Harvard to fall), the only City Six team penciled in at the moment for March Madness is Villanova. The Wildcats are seeded second by Joe Lunardi of ESPN, and third by Jerry Palm of CBSSports.com. Interestingly, Lunardi has 'Nova in a second-round matchup in Buffalo against American, a rematch of an opponent in the Cats' 2009 Final Four run, and Palm matches Villanova with Stephen F. Austin in Raleigh, N.C.
Cats on the rocks

Arizona showed Thursday night it's going to struggle with 6-foot-8 starting forward Brandon Ashley out for the season because of a broken right foot. The Wildcats, who suffered their first loss last weekend against California, a game where Ashley was injured early, barely beat Oregon at home while struggling with their shooting and their rebounding. Free throws remain an issue as Arizona went 19 of 35 from the line. But the Wildcats pulled it out with the help of former Chester High star Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who took Ashley's place in the starting line and had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Best of American

Cincinnati is threatening to run away with the regular-season crown of the American Athletic Conference, thanks in no small part to senior guard Sean Kilpatrick. The Bearcats improved to 11-0 in league play Thursday night with their 16th straight victory, a 63-58 win over Connecticut. Kilpatrick had 26 points, 12 rebounds and six assists against the Huskies; he has averaged 24 points in his last three games and 19.7 points for the season. "The mark of great players is that they rise to the occasion," UC coach Mick Cronin said in his post-game interview. "He has the ability to rise to the occasion.
Meanwhile, in Chapel Hill

People were giving up on North Carolina after the Tar Heels sputtered to an 1-4 start in ACC play. Now, however, Carolina has revived itself with a four-game winning streak entering Saturday's game at Notre Dame. After defeating three ranked teams – Michigan State, Louisville and Kentucky – and losing to the likes of Belmont, UAB and Wake Forest, the Tar Heels now are showing more consistency behind the play of James Michael McAdoo and Marcus Paige. And with home games coming up next week against archrival Duke and Pittsburgh, this turnaround couldn't come around at a better time.

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