Well the day everyone has been waiting for is here. UK/UC who could have ever thought the two teams would be meeting this season?
Cats vs. Cats are the talk of the town. With Coach Bob Huggins looking for win number 400, and the Bearcats looking to make it past the second round of the tournament, this is a big day. What many are calling a "Cat Fight" has national talk radio ablaze with talk about this game.
Cincinnati vs. Kentucky
Radio: 700 WLW
Game Time: 8:30 p.m.
Where: RCA Dome, Indianapolis, Indiana
Series: 26-11 Kentucky leads
Official Press Release UC: Cincinnati Official Release and Game Notes
CINCINNATI PROBABLE STARTERS 2004-05 Statistics
For Cincinnati to advance in the tournament, they will need to be physical and smart. If they can match their play from Iowa they will give the Wildcats fits. The leadership of Jason Maxiell will be needed tonight more than ever.
The Bearcats need to take smart shots, box-out and be aggressive with the Wildcats. Their normal style of play could be more than the young Wildcats are use to. But, if the Bearcats are reading or listening to the media that is giving them props for the first time in a long time, they better watch out.
I'm not going to write a lot about this game. I know the fans who visit this site already know what this game is about, and don't need me to remind them.
A Bearcat victory would be a giant step for the Bearcats and Bearcat fans looking for some bragging rights. But the big question from this game is the following. Will it be another 15 years before these two teams meet again?
Enjoy the game and Go Bearcats!!!!!!!
SETTING THE SCENE: Two of college basketballs
most-storied programs, which are separated by less than 100 miles, meet for the first time
in 15 years on Saturday night, when Cincinnati and Kentucky face off in the second round
of the NCAA Tournament at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. No. 7 seed Cincinnati, 25-7,
advanced to the round of 32 for the 10th time in the last 11 years with a 76-64 win over
No. 10 seed Iowa on Thursday. Second seeded Kentucky, 26-5, defeated No. 15 seed Eastern
Kentucky, 72-64, in the opening round.
MATCHUP AT A GLANCE: Cincinnati reached the second round of NCAA Tournament play for the 10th time in the past 11 seasons with a 76-64 win over No. 10 seed Iowa on Thursday. Kentucky bested No. 15 seed Eastern Kentucky, 72-64.
CINCINNATI IN THE NCAA: Cincinnati is making its 14th straight NCAA Tournament appearance, the schools longest streak of consecutive NCAA berths, and the third-longest active streak in the nation, trailing only Arizona and Kansas. Overall, this is UCs 24th trek to the NCAAs. The Bearcats have a 40-22 record in NCAA tourney play. Cincinnati has won six regional championships, made six trips to the Final Four, posted two third place finishes, had one runner-up showing (1960) and won national titles in 1961 and 1962.
UC VS. UK: Cincinnati and Kentucky have met 37 times with UK owning a 26-11 lead in the series. The two teams have played only five times since the 1947-48 season, the most recent in 1990-91. UK has won the last 14 meetings.
BEARCATS IN THE POLLS: Cincinnati is No. 23 this week in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls, the 16th straight week UC has been ranked this season. In the computer ratings, UC ended the season ranked No. 23 in the Sagarin Index and No. 24 in the RPI.
Cincinnati and Kentucky are tied for the third-longest active streak of NCAA Tournament appearances. Both are making their 14th straight NCAA appearance.
A win on Saturday will put the Bearcats in the NCAA Sweet 16 for the fifth time in the last 15 years and the 10th time in school history.
Cincinnati head coach Bob Huggins and Kentucky mentor Tubby Smith enter Saturdays contest tied for seventh place among the nations active Division I head coaches in winning percentage, both at .741. Huggins is 567-198 in 24 seasons as a head coach while Smith is 341-119 in 14 years.
Cincinnati would like to extend a Conference USA streak when meeting Kentucky on Saturday. C-USA teams have eliminated the Wildcats in the NCAA Tournament in each of the last two seasons; Marquette in the Midwest Regional final in 2003 and UAB in the second round last season.
Jason Maxiell needs three more points to record the 29th 500-point season. Twenty UC players have scored 500 or more points in a season 28 times.
UC needs to block one more shot to reach the school record of 223, set in 1999-00.
Bob Huggins will be seeking his 400th win as Cincinnatis head coach during Saturdays contest. Huggins is 399-126 in 16 seasons at UC.
Huggins, with a win on Saturday, will move into a tie for 33rd place in all-time career victories among all Division I coaches, active and retired.
Cincinnati and Kentucky have played two common opponents. UC is 1-2 vs. those foes while Kentucky is 3-0.
Cincinnati has played eight games against six teams in the 2005 NCAA Tournament field, compiling a 3-5 record. UC beat Charlotte, UAB, and Northern Iowa, while losing to Louisville (twice), Wake Forest, Charlotte and Illinois.
UC IN INDY: Cincinnati is now 2-0 this season in games played in Indianapolis. The Bearcats defeated Purdue, 79-59 on Nov. 27, at the John Wooden Tradition which was played at Conseco Fieldhouse.
MARCH MADNESS: Over the past 13 years, Cincinnati has posted a 59-26 record during the month of March, underscoring the Bearcats reputation as a team which is primed for postseason. Since the 1957-58 season, when UC first qualified for the NCAA Tournament, Cincinnati has compiled a 119-61 (.661) ledger in games played in the month of March.
UC-IOWA GAME RECAP:
Jason Maxiell scored the first two 3-point baskets of his UC career en route to a game-high 22 points.
Maxiell became the ninth Bearcat to top the 900 mark in career rebounds and finished the game with 904. With six blocks, he also upped his season blocks total to 89, the second-highest single season total by a Bearcat.
Iowa became the 22nd opponent that UC held to sub-.400 shooting.
Eric Hicks 10 points was his fourth straight double-figure scoring game and 23rd of the season.
LAST TIME IN THE NCAA TOURNEY: Seeded No. 4 in the 2004 NCAA Tournament and playing first round games in Columbus, Ohio, the Bearcats opened with an 80-77 win over No. 13 seed East Tennessee State. Tony Bobbitts 3-pointer with 16.9 seconds to play provided the winning points as UC rallied from a three-point deficit in the final 1:48.
Deron Williams exploded for 31 points as No. 5 seed Illinois dominated Cincinnati, 92-68, in the second round. The Illini shot .636 from the field and took command with a 25-10 run late in the first half.
Cincinnati has posted victory margins of 10 or more points in 21 of its 25 wins and has beaten 16 of those foes by at least 16 points. UC is second in C-USA and 12th nationally in average scoring margin.
UC has averaged 16.4 assists over its last five games. The Bearcats have had an assist on 82 of their 131 field goals during this span, a .626 percentage.
The Bearcats have held 22 opponents to sub-.400 shooting, nine to 32 percent or less. UC has held five opponents, Detroit (.293), Jackson State (.239), Charlotte (.295), USF (.259) and Xavier (.298) under 30 percent.
UC has had four or more players reach double figures in scoring in 15 games this season. UC is 13-2 when this occurs. Five players have reached double digits in two games and six reached the twins mark in two other contests.
Cincinnati is ranked No. 1 nationally in field goal percentage defense (.370) and No. 2 in blocked shots (6.9).
UC posted an average rebounding margin of +13.3 during its recent six-game win streak. The Bearcats have a +7.2 rebounding margin in their victories and -4.9 in their losses. Cincinnati is third in C-USA in rebounding margin (+4.8).
The Bearcats have won 27 of 34 jump balls, with Jason Maxiell doing all of the jumping. UC has taken the opening tip in 25 of its 32 contests and won both overtime period jump balls.
UC has made more free throws (593) than its opponents have attempted (580).
Nineteen of UCs 32 foes appeared in postseason play in 2003-04.
Four of the Bearcats losses were to ranked teams: No. 1 (Illinois), No. 3 (Wake Forest), No. 9 (Louisville) and No. 18 (Louisville) at the time the Bearcats played them.
HIGH FIVE: Cincinnati has five players averaging double figures in scoring for all games (Maxiell, Hicks, Kirkland, Muhammad, White). Only five times in UCs basketball history have Bearcat teams finished the season with five players scoring in double figures, the most recent the 1976-77 season when Robert Miller (14.2), Gary Yoder (13.6), Brian Williams (12.7), Mike Jones (12.2) and Steve Collier (12.0) accomplished the feat. The others occurred in 1956-57, 1955-56, 1954-55 and 1952-53.
TERRIFIC 25S: With Thursdays win over Iowa, Cincinnati reached the 25-win mark for the ninth time in the past 10 seasons. UC has garnered 14 20-win seasons in the last 16 campaigns, and has 27 20-win seasons in school history.
BEARCATS TIE FOR SECOND: For only the second time in the leagues 10-year history, Cincinnati did not win or tie for the regular season Conference USA championship. The Bearcats finished in a tie with Charlotte for second place. UC has claimed all or a share of 26 conference basketball titles in its history, the seventh-most of any Division I institution.
KINGS OF C-USA: Cincinnati closed its reign of Conference USA as the winningest team in the history of Conference USA, both in league play and overall. The Bearcats compiled a 123-33 ledger (.788) in C-USA play, winning or sharing the regular season crown in all but two of those years. The Bearcats have posted a 259-69 (.790) overall record during this span. With the inclusion of Cincinnatis four previous seasons in the Great Midwest Conference, the Bearcats have been regular season champions 10 times in the past 14 seasons. UC has won either a regular season or tournament title in 12 of the past 14 seasons, and six times during that span, UC has claimed both during the same season.
MAXS MILESTONES: Jason Maxiell continues to rack up milestones:
Maxiell has averaged 17.0 points over his last eight games, shooting .589 from the field. He has scored at a 21.5 clip with a .636 percentage over the past two games.
Has averaged 9.0 rebounds over his last seven contests, reaching double figures three times.
The 6-7 senior is in 11th place on UCs career scoring list with 1,557 points and 13th on the all-time C-USA list.
Max has played in 128 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in Cincinnati history. The record is 131 set by Keith Gregor (1992-96).
Maxiells 250 career blocks ranks second at UC to Kenyon Martin and fourth in C-USA.
His 89 blocks this season is the second-highest single season total by a Bearcat.
He ranks ninth at UC in career rebounds with 904, which is fourth on the C-USA career rebounding list.
HICKS A HERO: Eric Hicks has been one of Cincinnatis most productive players this year:
The 6-6 junior has averaged 14.9 points and 9.2 rebounds over the last 12 games, shooting .581 from the field.
Has reached double digits in rebounding in five of his last 10 games, averaging 10.0 rebounds for that span.
Has scored in double figures 23 times, including 13 of his last 15 games.
Hicks ranks third in C-USA and 28th nationally in rejections (2.3).
He ranks fourth in C-USA and 36th nationally in rebounds (8.9).
His defensive performance was credited with the effort that limited then-C-USA scoring leader Quemont Greer to 12 points, 10 under his average, in the Jan. 6 win over DePaul.
Hicks held USFs Terrence Leather, C-USAs No. 3 scorer, scoreless in the Jan. 27 win over the Bulls.
UCS POINT FORWARD: James White, a forward by trade, is Cincinnatis assist leader. The 6-7 junior has a season average of 3.2. White ranks ninth in C-USA in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.55:1).
BLOCK PARTY: Cincinnati leads Conference USA and is ranked second nationally in blocked shots (6.9). Jason Maxiell leads C-USA and 16th nationally in blocks (2.8), with Eric Hicks (2.3) third in C-USA and 28th nationally. The Bearcats recorded a season-high 13 blocks in their Dec. 27 win over Miami (Ohio) and have had 10 or more blocks in eight games this season. Maxiell has had five or more rejections in six games this year, highlighted by a career-high eight blocks vs. Houston on Jan. 29. As a team, UC has 222 rejections, while opponents have only 69.
DIFFERENT LOOK: UC has started new lineups in nine of its last 11 games and has used 13 different lineups this season.
LOOKING AHEAD: A win will put the Bearcats in the NCAA Sweet 16 for the fifth time in the last 15 years and the 10th time in school history. A UC victory would send the Bearcats to Austin, Texas next week.