Cincinnati's home attendance went down 7% last season averaging 8,567 Bearcats fans per contest (Full Story). Well, Mick and co have put together a host of reasons to come to Fifth Third Arena this year and I am officially excited.
The home slate is highlighted by North Carolina Central (Nov. 25), San Diego State (Dec. 17), VCU (Dec. 20) and Xavier (Feb. 18); all of which are tournament teams from last season... not bad. Obviously I'm excited about the Xavier game. I don't think that needs much discussion. But I am looking forward to watching VCU's head coach Shaka Smart. I could have sworn he was scooped up by a big time program, but I guess I was wrong. You may remember this from his Final Four run a couple years back...
VCU Coach Shaka Smart Having Fun at the 2011 Final Four Practice (via houtexusa)
San Diego State for some reason falls off a lot of people's radar. You may remember a guy named Kawhi Leonord who played there? This years NBA Finals MVP? The Aztecs will be highlighted by Junior Winston Shepard this year, who fit the Jeff Fisher mold of do-it-all guys.
North Carolina Central is another one to watch. They played us close last season (74-61) and Mick Cronin was impressed with the Eagles squad (Here are his post game quotes). After beating NC State, winning their conference, and making it the the NCAA Tournament, they lost to 3rd seeded Iowa State in the "2nd" rounds.
We warm up the season with exhibition games at home against Bellermine (Nov. 3) and Fairmont St. (Nov. 8), before easing into the regular season against St. Francis (Nov. 14) and Morehead St. (Nov. 19).
We will see non-conference road contests against Nebraska (Dec. 13) and NC State (Dec. 30). The Emerald Classic will have the Bearcats playing against Eastern Illinois (Nov. 23) and North Carolina Central (Nov. 25) at home, followed by a road trip to Niceville, Florida (sounds like a nice place) to play Middle Tennessee (Nov. 28) and then either a Doug McDermottless Creighton or Ole Miss (Nov. 29).
It is shaping up to be a solid SOS for the Bearcats, with a lot of winnable games. What are my feelings regarding the Bearcats upcoming basketball season? I'll let Bart Scott tell you...
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Bart Scott Can't Wait (via James Dalton)
-Daniele "Da" Bologna