CINCINNATI – The University of Cincinnati men’s basketball 2014-15 schedule was announced Thursday by the American Athletic Conference. It features at least 22 games on national television and potentially 19 contests against teams that advanced to postseason play last season.
The Bearcats’ 31-game regular-season slate includes a potential 13 contests against teams that participated in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, including two nationally televised matchups against defending national champion UConn (Jan. 10 in Connecticut/ESPN2 and Jan. 29 in Cincinnati/ESPN2). Eighteen of UC’s foes this season won at least 17 games a year ago.
“We have a great home schedule for our fans with Top-25 teams, the defending national champion and some of the best coaches in college basketball coming to Fifth Third Arena this year,” UC head coach Mick Cronin said. “ESPN and CBS have featured us in a number of games and our brand of Cincinnati Basketball is as strong as ever.”
Having won a share of the regular-season American Athletic Conference crown a year ago, UC looks to defend its title in the new-look league’s second season. The 11-team conference sees the addition of East Carolina, Tulsa and Tulane for the 2014-15 campaign. UC will play eight of its 10 opponents twice (UCF, UConn, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, SMU, Temple and Tulane), and the other two opponents once each - one at home (USF) and one away (Tulsa).
Some television assignments and tip times on the Bearcats’ schedule have not yet been determined.
Beginning with a pair of exhibition games, UC plays 10 of its first 13 games at Fifth Third Arena. The exhibition schedule includes contests against Bellarmine (Nov. 3) and Fairmont State (Nov. 8). Both games will be available on Bearcats TV.
The Bearcats tip off the regular season against St. Francis [Pa.] (Nov. 14) and take on Morehead State (Nov. 19) before beginning play in the Emerald Coast Classic with a pair of home games against Eastern Illinois (Nov. 23) and NCAA Tournament qualifier N.C. Central (Nov. 25). UC then heads to Niceville, Florida, to complete play in the tournament with matchups against Middle Tennessee (Nov. 28) and either NCAA Tournament qualifier Creighton or Ole Miss (Nov. 29).
UC plays host to Stony Brook (Dec. 2) then breaks for final exams before playing its first true road contest at NCAA Tournament qualifier Nebraska (Dec. 13).
Back-to-back home contests against NCAA Tournament participants San Diego State (Dec. 17 on ESPN2) and VCU (Dec. 20 on ESPNU) as well as a matchup with Wagner (Dec. 23) highlight the Bearcats’ December home slate. UC also travels to NCAA Tournament qualifier NC State (Dec. 30 on ESPNU) prior to starting league action.
UC’s other nonconference contest is a home matchup with intra-city rival and NCAA Tournament qualifier Xavier (Feb. 18 on ESPN/ESPN2) in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout.
The Bearcats open American play at home against NIT finalist SMU on Jan. 3 on ESPN2. Other UC league home contests include CollegeInsider.com participant East Carolina (Jan. 6 on ESPNU), Temple (Jan. 17 on ESPNU), Houston (Jan. 21 on ESPNews), defending national champion UConn (Jan. 29 on ESPN2), USF (Feb. 7 on CBS Sports Network), College Basketball Invitational participant Tulane (Feb. 14 on ESPNU), UCF (Feb. 25 on CBS Sports Network) and NCAA Tournament participant Memphis (March 8 on CBS).
UC’s first two conference road games are trips to face UConn (Jan. 10 on ESPN2) and Memphis (Jan. 15 on ESPN/ESPN2). Other road matchups include UCF (Jan. 25 on CBS Sports Network), East Carolina (Feb. 1 on CBS Sports Network), SMU (Feb. 5 on ESPN/ESPN2), Temple (Feb. 10 on CBS Sports Network), Houston (Feb. 21 on ESPNU), Tulane (Feb. 28 on ESPNews) and NCAA Tournament participant Tulsa (March 4 on CBS Sports Network).
The 2015 American Athletic Conference Championship will be played March 12-15 at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. All 11 league schools will participate in the championship with the format calling for three first-round games on March 12, followed by four quarterfinal games on March 13, two semifinals on March 14 and the championship game on March 15. The entire tournament will be available across ESPN's national outlets.
Coming off their fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the Bearcats return six lettermen, including a pair of starters while welcoming seven newcomers this season.