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Basketball current event.png For current information on this topic, see 2009-10 Cincinnati Bearcats men's basketball team.
Cincinnati Bearcats
Cincinnati Bearcats athletic logo

University University of Cincinnati
Conference Big East
Location Cincinnati, OH
Head coach Mick Cronin (2nd year)
Arena Fifth Third Arena
(Capacity: 13,176)
Nickname Bearcats
Colors Red and Black

             

Uniforms
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Home jersey
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Team colours
Home
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Away jersey
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Team colours
Away
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Alternate jersey
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Team colours
Alternate
NCAA Tournament champions
1961, 1962
NCAA Tournament Final Four
1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1992
NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
1993, 1996
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
1975, 2001
NCAA Tournament second round
1958, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005
NCAA Tournament appearances
1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1966, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
Conference tournament champions
1976, 1977, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2002, 2004

The Cincinnati Bearcats basketball team is the NCAA Division I men's basketball program of the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio. They currently compete in the Big East Conference. The team last played in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament in 2005. The Cincinnati Bearcats men's basketball team plays their home games at Fifth Third Arena (13,176). The Bearcats are currently coached by Mick Cronin. Cincinnati's men's basketball program has been a member of the Big East Conference since the 2005-06 season. Prior to the 2005-06 season, Cincinnati was a member of Conference USA.

Contents

History

Throughout the program's history, the Cincinnati Bearcats have had six Final Four appearances and back-to-back national championships. UC is one of the winningest teams in NCAA Tournament history. The Bearcats have compiled a 40-23 record in NCAA play for a .635 percentage. Cincinnati’s 1,499-855 record (.635), compiled over 104 seasons, places the school among the top 30 winningest programs. Since post-World War II, the beginning of modern day college basketball, the Bearcats have a 1,161-533 ledger (.685), an average of 19.7 wins per year. The Bearcats have advanced to post-season play 32 times and have been conference champions in 30 seasons. UC’s losses in tournament play have also been noteworthy. Cincinnati has been eliminated from the NCAA playoffs five times by teams which eventually won the title and lost twice to the eventual champ in NIT competition. The Bearcats’ excellence is not portrayed in numbers alone. UC is the alma mater of several of college basketball’s greats—29 Bearcats have earned All-America honors, two went on to become Olympic Gold Medalists and two are enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Early Years

One of the first of Cincinnati’s long list of standouts was Jack Twyman, who earned All-America status in 1954-55. He went on to NBA stardom and is in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Oscar Robertson is still widely-recognized as one of the greatest to ever play the sport—college or professional. A unanimous three-time All-American, he was college basketball’s all-time leading scorer at the close of his career. His 33.8 scoring average today ranks third on the NCAA career charts, and he has the NBA’s third most career assists. The Hall of Famer led the U.S. Olympic team to the 1960 Gold Medal. Sparked by the exploits of Robertson, who became the first player to lead the nation in scoring in three consecutive seasons, Cincinnati advanced to the Final Four in 1958-59 and 1959-60, settling for third place both years. With a rookie head coach and without Robertson, the Bearcats won their first national title in 1960-61. Then to prove that its 1961 championship was no fluke, UC repeated as champion in 1961-62. Cincinnati made a then-unprecedented fifth-straight trip to the Final Four in 1962-63, and narrowly missed capturing a third-straight national crown when Loyola (Ill.) overcame a 15-point deficit and defeated the Bearcats by a basket, 60-58, in overtime. During those five seasons, UC recorded a 37-game win streak and posted a 161-16 ledger. The five straight Final Four appearances is a feat topped only by UCLA.

Connie Dierking (1958), Ralph Davis (1960), Bob Wiesenhahn (1961), Paul Hogue (1961, 1962), Tom Thacker (1963), Tony Yates (1963), Ron Bonham (1963, 1964) and George Wilson (1963) were awarded with All-American recognition with Wilson playing on the U.S. 1964 Olympic gold medal team.

1970's-1990's

The Bearcats success continued in the 1970’s, during which UC compiled a 170-85 record (.667). Cincinnati inaugurated the Metro Conference by winning the league’s first two tournament championships and made four post-season appearances. Jim Ard (1970), Lloyd Batts (1973), Steve Collier (1976), Gary Yoder (1977), Bob Miller (1978) and Pat Cummings (1979) earned All-American recognition. Cummings closed his illustrious career as UC’s No. 2 leading scorer of all-time. The 1980’s saw Roger McClendon, capitalizing on the new 3-point field goal rule, take over as the No. 2 career scorer. While UC made only one postseason appearance, groundwork was laid which would make Cincinnati a dominant team in the 1990’s. The last 17 seasons has been one of the brightest periods in the University of Cincinnati’s rich basketball history. In fact, only the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, during which the Bearcats made five straight trips to the Final Four and won back-to-back national championships, shines brighter.

Cincinnati, while having a rich history had fallen under hard times. The once proud program that had been to 5 consecutive Final Fours from 1959 to 1963-- including a pair of national championships in 1961 and 1962--had not been to the NCAA tournament since 1977 when Huggins arrived in 1989.Bob Huggins, who was named head coach in 1989, rekindled those national championship expectations in only his third season at the helm when he directed UC to the Final Four. The Bearcats have advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament three times and have reached the Sweet 16 four times. Cincinnati has won its conference season and/or tournament title in 12 of the last 15 seasons. UC has claimed eight league tournament titles and 10 regular season crowns during this span. After being relegated to the NIT his first two years, Huggins would take the Bearcats to the Final Four in his third season--the first of 14 straight NCAA tournament appearances.

Huggins compiled a 399–127 record (.759) in his 16 years at Cincinnati, making him the winningest coach in terms of victories and percentage in the school's basketball history. Huggins directed Cincinnati to ten conference regular-season titles and eight league tournament titles. The Bearcats appeared in post-season play in each of Huggins' 16 seasons at U.C., advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament two times in 1993 and 1996 and, in 1991–92, appearing once in the Final Four.

Huggins earned the Ray Meyer Award as the Conference USA Coach of the Year a record three times (1997–98, 1998–99, and 1999–2000), and was a unanimous choice for C-USA Coach of the Decade. He was selected national coach of the year by ESPN.com in 2001–02. His teams won five consecutive conference tournament titles--all four Great Midwest Conference titles from 1992 to 1995 and the first Conference USA tournament in 1996. He was named co-national coach of the year by The Sporting News last season and was Basketball Times' national coach of the year in 1997–98. He earned national coach of the year recognition from Hoop Scoop in 1991–92 and Playboy in 1992–93.

During this time the program also gained a reputation for a rough style of play and academic under-performance. Huggins routinely graduated only 30 percent of his players, compared with half of nonathletes at UC. Several of his players were also arrested and convicted on criminal charges.[6]The program was placed on probation in 1998 for a lack of institutional control.

During his tenure, Huggins coached three consensus All-Americans--Danny Fortson, Kenyon Martin (the consensus player of the year in 1999–2000) and Steve Logan.

He often developed young and inexperienced teams with as many as three freshmen starters into championship squads. For example, Huggins surprised some astute college basketball followers in 1997–98 by directing a team which had only one returning starter to a 27–6 record, conference regular season, and tournament titles, a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament and a Top-10 finish in the polls. The team was then upset by West Virginia in the tournament.

Recent Years

The Bearcats have finished in the Top 10 of the final polls in seven of the past 13 years. During this time, Cincinnati has ranked among the nation’s winningest programs both in terms of winning percentage and victories. Fifteen Bearcats have garnered first team all-conference honors during this era with three of those, Danny Fortson, Kenyon Martin, and Steve Logan, picking up a total of four C-USA Most Outstanding Player Awards.Fortson, Nick Van Exel, Ruben Patterson, Bobby Brannen, Melvin Levett, Logan, Martin, and Pete Mickeal have joined Cincinnati’s list of All-Americans. Fortson was a consensus first team All-American in 1996-97 after receiving second team recognition in 1995-96. Martin was college basketball’s top player of the 1999-2000 season, making a clean sweep of the national player of the year awards. Logan was a consensus All-American in 2001-02 and a finalist for every national player of the year award. As further evidence of Cincinnati’s excellence, 13 Bearcats have been selected in the NBA Draft, three of whom were top 10 picks. The headliner of this list is Martin who was the No. 1 pick of the entire 2000 draft by the New Jersey Nets. DerMarr Johnson was the No. 6 pick of the 2000 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks.
Huggins' 2001–02 team, unranked when the season began, posted a 31–4 record, setting a school record for wins, made a clean sweep of the Conference USA regular season and tournament titles, and was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, where they lost in double overtime to No 8 seed UCLA. In 2002–03, Huggins suffered a major heart attack on the last Saturday of September, but was present for the team's first practice two weeks later and coached the Bearcats with the same intensity that has become his trademark. Not surprisingly given the season's rocky start, the team qualified for the NCAA tournament only as an 8 seed, and were ousted in the first round by Gonzaga.
The 2003–04 season was business as usual for Huggins, who piloted the Bearcats to regular-season and tournament titles, and an NCAA tournament berth while amassing a 25–7 record. Despite a favorable draw — the team was sent to nearby Columbus for the first two rounds of the tournament — the Bearcats were mauled by the Illinois Fighting Illini, losing by 24 points in the second round. The 2004–05 Bearcats posted a 25–8 ledger, the ninth season in the past ten years that U.C. has won 25 or more games. They received only a 7 seed in the tournament, however, and gave eventual Elite Eight participant Kentucky a spirited game before falling in the second round.

In August 2005, the University of Cincinnati bought out the final three years of his contract in exchange for his resignation. UC President Nancy L. Zimpher gave Huggins an ultimatum—take a $3 million buyout, be reassigned outside the athletic department for the balance of his contract, or be fired. Zimpher said that the Bearcat program under Huggins didn't fit with her plan to upgrade UC's academic reputation.[7] However, she'd been seriously considering ousting Huggins since he was arrested for driving under the influence in 2004. He ultimately pleaded no contest to DUI. The traffic stop was recorded by police and aired on national tv. Huggins was quoted as saying, "Do you know who I am," and "You can't do this to me" to the officers. In the police report a reference was made to the fact Huggins had vomited on his Lexus door. According to the police report, Huggins said he had been with a recruit.
At the time, Huggins' contract had a rollover clause which added a year every summer. Zimpher revoked that clause on June 11, 2004 after his conviction and suspended him for two months. Huggins was allowed to return for the 2004–05 basketball season. On May 11, 2005, he was given the option of leaving or finishing the last two years remaining on his contract. In a May 16, 2005 press conference, Huggins announced that he was staying until his contract expired on June 30, 2007, thus agreeing to the terms offered him by the University.
After publicly agreeing to work with no rollover, Huggins privately changed course. According to an August 23 letter from the University to Huggins attorney, Huggins approached the University "at least four occasions" during the summer of 2005 and asked that the rollover be reinstated.
Huggins did not even find out about Zimpher's mandate until he checked his phone while in Las Vegas, and that he immediately flew home and found that his items at his desk had been taken without his knowledge and shipped back to his house. On August 8, 2005, in written correspondence to Huggins' attorney Richard Katz, the University said, "Because these differences are so fundamental, extending Mr. Huggins' contract beyond its current term does not constitute a viable option for resolving the present situation." On August 15, 2005, a letter to Katz from university legal counsel said, "Suffice it to say that our clients have remarkably different perspectives on the present situation, lending further credence to the notion that it is time for the University and Mr. Huggins to part company," and suggested to Katz that the parties "facilitate this process in as expeditious and professional manner as possible." The August 15 letter summarized by saying, "In sum, UC intends to terminate your client's contract with the University...and to sever its employment relationship him on date certain." On August 19, 2005, Mr. Katz met with the University to discuss the termination of Mr. Huggins' employment and told Katz they would need to hear from him by Wednesday, August 24, 2pm or the University would exercise its right to terminate Mr. Huggins' employment. This ultimatum and a summary of events were reiterated in a letter to Katz on August 23, 2005.
Huggins was replaced by assistant head coach Andy Kennedy, but his dismissal was the hot topic for the entire season. Many players and coaches (including Kennedy) paid homage to Huggins throughout the season.

NCAA Tournament Results

The Bearcats have appeared in 24 NCAA Tournaments. Their combined record is 44-22.

Year Result
1958 Second Round
1959 Third Place
1960 Third Place
1961 Champion
1962 Champion
1963 Runner Up
1966 First Round
1975 Sweet Sixteen
1976 First Round
1977 First Round
1992 Semifinalist
1993 Elite Eight
1994 First Round
1995 Second Round
1996 Elite Eight
1997 Second Round
1998 Second Round
1999 Second Round
2000 Second Round
2001 Sweet Sixteen
2002 Second Round
2003 First Round
2004 Second Round
2005 Second Round

Bearcats currently in the NBA

Awards and honors

See also

References

External links

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