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The Cincinnati Bearcats basketball team is the NCAA Division I men's basketball program of the University of Cincinnatimarker in Cincinnatimarker, Ohiomarker. 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 Arenamarker (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.


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 Famemarker.

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 Famemarker. 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 UCLAmarker.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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


External links

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