After months of anticipation and waiting, the American Athletic Conference finally got around to releasing their men’s basketball schedule for 2019-20. The non-conference schedule has been released for some time and we have already shared our thoughts on the exciting opponents and storylines.
Now, it’s time to share some thoughts on the conference portion of the schedule.
The season is less than 7 weeks away and there are many reasons to be excited - here’s 50 of those reasons.
College Gameday is not as big of a deal in basketball as it is in football. But wouldn’t it be awesome to see Jay Bilas, Seth Greenberg and Rece Davis on the floor of Fifth Third Arena, putting the spotlight on the Bearcats?
There is one major game to circle on the calendar that as Gameday potential - Saturday 2/1 vs Houston. This game is at 6:00 on ESPN2. The last couple of years, the Gameday games have been at 6, due to the NBA on ABC deal at 8:00.
There is certainly precedence for Gameday going to an AAC school. Just last year they went to Houston, for their game against UCF. In 2015, they were at SMU for UConn game. It certainly depends on the schedule that day, but this is as good of a chance as Cincinnati has ever had to host the event.
Memphis is one of Cincinnati’s oldest rivals, having played them more times than anyone except Louisville and Xavier. Cincinnati has won the last 6 meetings and 10 of 12 overall since Memphis joined the AAC before the 2013-14 season.
Penny Hardaway enters his second year as Memphis Head Coach and has the #1 recruiting class in the country. Crazy. Higher than Duke, Kentucky and others. The class is led by #1 prospect James Wiseman plus Precious Achiuwa, Boogie Ellis, and DJ Jeffries, just to name a few.
Both 2019 Memphis games are on Thursday nights on ESPN. The first is on the road on 1/16 and on 2/13, the Tigers come to Fifth Third Arena.
No CBS game
Cincinnati has finished the last five regular seasons playing on CBS at noon on the final Sunday of the season. It seems as if that run is over. Cincinnati ends the regular season Saturday night on CBS Sports Net against Temple, while Memphis and Houston take their annual CBS slot on Sunday.
- 2019 - lost to Houston, giving Houston the outright AAC Championship
- 2018 - beat Wichita State on the road, giving Cincinnati the outright AAC Championship
- 2017 - beat UConn on the road
- 2016 - beat SMU at home
- 2015 - beat Memphis at home
At the conclusion of the 2020 season, UConn will no longer be a member of the AAC. They are going back to the Big East. That sucks for Cincinnati, who was won 7 in a row over the Huskies and 9 of the last 10. That just means Cincinnati has to work harder to beat better teams annually, since they lose two “gimme games”.
In all seriousness, the UConn rivalry certainly developed into a fun one. There was the Sean Kilpatrick buzzer beat in Storrs. There was the Cane Broome clutch shot last year. There was that one time where....nope, nevermind, not talking about “that”.
Cincinnati opens AAC play with UConn at home on New Year’s Day and will make their final trip to Connecticut on Sunday February 9th.
- First road game is January 4th at Tulane. Bearcats are familiar with new Tulane coach Ron Hunter, who previously worked at Georgia State. The last time Cincinnati won an NCAA Tournament game was the first round in 2018 against Hunter’s Georgia State team.
- Bearcats play at UCF on Saturday 1/11 and at East Carolina on Sunday 2/16. Half of their AAC losses, came on the road to those two teams in 2019.
- In 2018, Wichita State ended the Bearcats long home winning streak and Cincinnati returned the favor by winning on the road, to clinch the outright AAC title. Shockers had a down year in 2019, and lost all three meetings to Cincinnati. This year’s team should be much improved and Cincinnati goes there Thursday 2/6 and Sunday 2/23.
- Remember in 2007, when Cincinnati played in the first ever CBI (College Basketball Invitational)? Well, that tournament is still around and South Florida won it in 2019. Cincinnati plays the Bulls just once, in Tampa on Tuesday 3/3.