Ever wanted to see Cincinnati play Brown University? Well you are in luck. The teams in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament (nice succinct name there) were announced today and Cincinnati is among the eight schools that will participate. The others are Duke, Penn State, Rhode Island, Albany, Brown, Grand Canyon and Marist.
The eight teams are split into two groups and will play a selection of teams from the opposite side before taking part in a four-team bracket at Mogehan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut on Nov. 19 and Nov. 20. UC is grouped in with Duke, Penn State and URI. The Bearcats will play the Rams in the first round of the bracket round and then, after they win that one, they will face the victor between Duke and Penn State. (If they lose, they face the loser of that contest, but let's not think like that).
Prior to the actual bracket-style portion of the event, UC will play satellite games against Brown and Albany. It will take on the Ivy League Bears on Nov. 11 and the Great Danes on Nov. 14, hosting both contests.
"We are thrilled to be invited to participate in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament and represent the University of Cincinnati," said Mick Cronin, (Cincinnati's head coach for those who accidentally stumbled onto this site). "The field of teams is extremely competitive and the Hall of Fame always does great things for college basketball. It should be a fun event."
Spare us the PR talk Mick, what this announcement really says is that UC is going to get a shot at the Blue Devils, or at least be given the chance to get a shot at them. There is no long standing rivalry here. The Bearcats are 1-2 all-time against the Dukies, with a 77-75 win in favor of the good guys during the 1998-99 season the most recent result.
However, getting a chance to play a Coach K team, one that is pretty much a lock for the Top 25 next year is a nice place to start building that NCAA Tournament resume. Last year, UC boasted a number of solid non-conference contests (Butler, Xavier, Iowa State) but Duke's pedigree is a step above those programs. Of course, UC still has to find a way to finish off those difficult non-league foes, since they were unable to secure that one marquee top-25 victory outside of AAC competition in 2015-16.
Another wrinkle in this story is the fact that transfer Kyle Washington used to tangle with the Blue Devils twice a year back when he played for NC State. The Wolfpack went 1-3 against Duke in Washington's two seasons and the 6-foot-9 forward only averaged 4.75 points per game in those matchups. That information is purely trivia fodder, as that was against totally different teams and while Washington was (obviously) playing for an entirely different team himself.