The non-conference games that stick out to me are Iowa State, Butler, Naismith Memorial that will be Rhode Island and potentially Duke or Penn State, Xavier being in January and Fairleigh Dickinson taking the place of Michigan (cough, cough). The Bearcats have both Iowa State and Butler on the road this season.
The University of Cincinnati 2016-17 men’s basketball schedule was announced Thursday by the American Athletic Conference. It features at least 25 Bearcats games on national television and potentially 14 contests against teams that advanced to postseason play a year ago.
The 31-game regular-season slate includes potentially 12 matchups against teams that participated in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Fifteen of UC’s possible opponents won at least 17 games last season.
The 2016-17 season marks the final campaign inside the 27-year old Fifth Third Arena before it undergoes an $87 million renovation with a scheduled reopening for 2018-19.
The Bearcats are coming off their sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and return First Team American Athletic Conference selection Troy Caupain and the league’s defensive player of the year and second-team honoree Gary Clark.
“We are very excited for the upcoming season,” UC head coach Mick Cronin said. “We return two all-league players and add another one potentially in Kyle Washington. Plus, we’re bringing in three promising freshmen. So we hope to have high expectations.
“The key for our team this season will be developing our toughness and togetherness,” Cronin said. “We’ve worked hard this summer and the development process has been off to a strong start. We’ve raised the bar on this group and I believe they will respond. They have the character to become a great team.”
// SCHEDULE HIGHLIGHTS
· The Bearcats will be tested early in the season at the Naismith Hall of Fame Tip-Off in Uncasville, Connecticut, in a pair of games against possible preseason Top 25 opponent Rhode Island (Nov. 19 on ESPN3) and either probable preseason No. 1 Duke or Penn State (Nov. 20 on ESPN or ESPN2).
· Cincinnati also faces difficult road challenges at 2016 NCAA Tournament participants Iowa State (Dec. 1 on ESPN2) and Butler (Dec. 10; TV is TBA).
· The annual Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout returns to Fifth Third Arena when the Bearcats battle city-rival Xavier (Jan. 26 on ESPN2).
· The Bearcats welcome popular conference rival and probable preseason Top 25 UConn to Fifth Third Arena (Feb. 4 on ESPN or ESPN2) with the game under consideration for ESPN College Gameday. The Bearcats and Huskies later meet in Storrs, Connecticut (Mar. 5 on CBS) to wrap up the regular-season schedule.
· UC faces The American’s 2016 regular-season champion Temple twice during the regular season: in the conference opener in Philadelphia (Dec. 28 on ESPNU) and three weeks later in Cincinnati (Jan. 18 on CBS Sports Network).
The 116th season of Cincinnati basketball tips off against Brown (Nov. 11 on ESPN3) before the Bearcats play host to Albany (Nov. 14 on ESPNU) three days later. Both campus games are part of the Naismith Hall of Fame Tip-Off event.
Other nonconference home contests at Fifth Third Arena include visits from Samford (Nov. 23 on ESPN3), Lipscomb (Nov. 26 on ESPN3), Bowling Green (Dec. 4; TV is TBA), 2016 NCAA Tournament participants Texas Southern (Dec. 13 on ESPN3) and Fairleigh Dickinson (Dec. 17 on ESPN3) as well as Marshall (Dec. 22 on CBS Sports Network).
Cincinnati plays its first conference home game on New Year’s Day against Tulane (Jan. 1 on CBS Sports Network). Other league home games include matchups with SMU (Jan. 12 on ESPN or ESPN2), USF (Jan. 29 on CBS Sports Network), UCF (Feb. 8 on ESPNU), Tulsa (Feb. 18 on ESPNU), long-time rival Memphis (Feb. 23 on ESPN or ESPN2) and Houston (Mar. 2 on ESPN or ESPN2).
Other conference road games include visits to Houston (Jan. 7 on ESPNU), East Carolina (Jan. 15 on CBS Sports Network), Tulane (Jan. 21 on CBS Sports Network), Tulsa (Feb. 1 on CBS Sports Network), SMU (Feb. 12 on ESPN), USF (Feb. 15 on ESPNU) and UCF (Feb. 26 on CBS Sports Network).
UC will play one exhibition game during the preseason against Bellarmine (Nov. 2, streaming live on BearcatsTV).
All of the games included in the ESPN package (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPNEWS) will be available through WatchESPN, accessible online at WatchESPN.com, and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app. CBS Sports also will stream on CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports mobile app games airing on CBS.
Some television assignments and tip times will be announced at a later date.