CINCINNATI — The 2007-08 University of Cincinnati men's basketball season, which opens Nov. 9-11 with the inaugural Peggy Cronin Classic, will feature 16 games against teams that participated in postseason action last March.
The Bearcats will be pitted against 11 squads that made last year's NCAA Tournament, including two Sweet Sixteen teams and Final Four participant Georgetown, the defending BIG EAST Conference champion.
The inaugural Peggy Cronin Classic, which is named for head coach Mick Cronin's late-mother, tips off the season on Friday-Sunday, Nov. 9-11. The three-day round-robin tournament includes Bowling Green, Western Carolina, and Belmont, which captured the Atlantic Sun title and a trip to the NCAA's in 2007.
"This season's schedule is very challenging to say the least," said head coach Mick Cronin. "We have some quality non-conference teams coming to Fifth Third Arena to start off the season in the Peggy Cronin Classic. Obviously this is a special event for my entire family, as we plan to donate sponsorship proceeds to cancer research.
Cronin continued, "The schedule gets tough quickly as we have only one game on campus in December, versus Memphis, who is preseason No. 1 in the nation. The road games versus UAB, Illinois State, Xavier and NC State will prepare us for what we will see in the Big East. We are young and this is a challenging non-league schedule. Our fans will get to see us with a full roster and playing exciting up-tempo basketball that will be fun to watch."
Following road games at UAB (Dec. 1) and Illinois State (Dec. 8), the Bearcats will travel across town to the Cintas Center on Wednesday, Dec. 12 to renew the annual Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout versus Xavier University. The game will be broadcast at 7 p.m. on ESPN2 and is the first of three straight nationally televised games for UC.
Following the Musketeers, Cincinnati will return to Fifth Third Arena on Dec. 19 to take on former Conference USA rival Memphis on Dec. 19 on ESPN2 before traveling to North Carolina State on Dec. 23 for a rematch of last year's 80-71 Bearcat victory at Fifth Third Arena. The NC State game will air on Fox Sports Net at 7:30 p.m.
The Bearcats close out the non-conference portion of its schedule Saturday, Dec. 29 with its annual holiday matchup versus Miami University (OH) at U.S. Bank Arena.
For the first time since 1998-99, the BIG EAST will be playing an 18-game league schedule after playing 16 games the last eight years. The new 18-game format has schools playing each league opponent once and three teams twice.
"The Big East schedule is going to be tough as always and we hope that we will grow as a team in time for conference play, said Cronin. "This is a very big year for us towards building our program back to national prominence. I am very pleased to say the least with our recruiting efforts in the last 17 months and that has put us in position to be optimistic about the upcoming season."
Cincinnati will face Connecticut, Pittsburgh, and St. John's in three home-and-home series. Connecticut, along with Marquette, are the two teams Cincinnati did not face in BIG EAST play last season.
UC's road schedule does not get any easier as it includes trips to reigning BIG EAST Regular-Season and Tournament champion Georgetown along with Louisville, Notre Dame, and West Virginia, the winner of last year's National Invitation Tournament (NIT).
Season tickets for men's basketball are on sale now and can be purchased by calling the Athletics Ticket Office at 1-877-CATS-TIX or by going online at www.CATSTIX.com.