Cincinnati Bearcats basketball tips off in 54 days! Bearcats open the season in Columbus to face the Buckeyes, who beat them in Cincinnati to open up 2018-19.
It’s been a while since we, at Down the Drive, checked in on the basketball team so let’s check out the latest news and notes.
We are still waiting for the AAC conference schedule to be released (should be soon). But last month, the non-conference schedule was released and there are plenty of juicy storylines and games to look forward to.
One thing that could cause stress and panic among UC fans is the gametime of the annual Xavier game. While UC has not announced, nor confirmed anything, Xavier’s schedule revealed that the December 7th game will tip off at 5pm. December 7th is the same day as the AAC Football Championship game, which kicks off at 3:30. It’s possibly (pending results on 10/4) that Cincinnati could play in this game. It’s also possible Cincinnati could host the game at Nippert Stadium (team with best record hosts). Would fans go to Nippert and support a potential Cotton Bowl bid or would they stay home to watch the biggest annual basketball game?
New 2020 recruits
Gabe and Mason Madsen, from Minnesota, committed to the Bearcats during Labor Day weekend.
- Gabe is a three-star ranked, 181 by 247Sports. He chose Cincinnati over Iowa, Marquette and hometown Minnesota. He is a 6’6 three point shooting threat.
- Mason is also a three-star, ranked outside the top 300 over Colorado State and Cal Poly. He is 6’3 and is not the shooter his brother is, he is more of a ball handling, combo guard.
Cincinnati has two more scholarships available for 2020.
For the Madsen twins, the goal was to play college ball together. It didn’t seem possible at times, but for Gabe and Mason, they’ve found their home and Cincinnati is getting two of the best players in Minnesota @MayoSpartyhoops https://t.co/2b9TEkO3Z7— Zach Gilleland (@ZachGKIMT) September 3, 2019
For the first time in 15 times, Cincinnati will host Midnight Madness. Mick Cronin was not a fan of the event, which fans haven’t seen since Bob Huggins was in charge.
Cincinnati made the announcement in the middle of the UCLA football game on 8/29.
IT’S BACK !!! #Bearcats pic.twitter.com/qJ2dyI3nYO— Cincinnati W. Hoops (@GoBearcatsWBB) August 29, 2019
With a new head coach and a largely new roster, this year is as good as any to bring back this fun tradition. This will give fans a way to get introduced to the new guys and get excited for basketball season, while continuing to show off the shiny new Fifth Third Arena.
The timing is interesting too as it will take place the night of Friday October 4th, immediately after the UCF football game. Fans may be extremely riled up and overly enthusiastic following one of the biggest win in a decade, or it could be a somber crowd.
Midnight Madness will also be a great tool to familiarize fans with the women’s team. Last year’s team won 24 games and went 12-4 in conference play in Michelle Clark-Heard’s first season as head coach. The season ended in the Elite 8 of the Women’s NIT. This season, the team is aspiring to make the field of 64.
ESPN’s Top 25
Jeff Borzello, ESPN’s college basketball insider released an updated top 25 rankings. Cincinnati was the 5th team under “next in line” and three 2019-20 opponents are ranked in the top 20 - #13 Ohio State, #14 Memphis, #20 Xavier.
The no longer Way-Too-Early Preseason Top 25 is up. The next update will come after the season starts. (Feels good to say that.)— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) September 12, 2019
Michigan State stays at No. 1, Oregon all the way up to No. 7. ACC, Big East and Pac-12 lead the way with four teams apiece. https://t.co/6NztuUsenX
Checking in on Bearcats in the Pros
Troy Caupain, who averaged 9.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game in four years (137 games total) at Cincinnati signed a contract with the Portland Trail Blazers. Caupain was impressive in the summer league playing for the Wizards and spent the last two seasons as part of the Orlando Magic organization, mostly playing in the G-League.
Gary Clark enters his second year with the Houston Rockets and Jacob Evans III will be in his second year with the Warriors. Golden State is going through a slight transition and star guard Klay Thompson will miss the first few months, which could open the door for more playing time and bigger opportunity for the 2018 first round pick.
Sean Kilpatrick remains unsigned and Lance Stephenson will play professionally in China, after signing a one year contract to play for the Liaoning Flying Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association.