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2000-01: A Year of Transition

The 2000-01 basketball season was a year of transition for the University of Cincinnati.

The Bearcats began the season minus four starters and five of the top seven scorers from the 1999-00 squad which posted one of the school’s most successful seasons. Even head coach Bob Huggins, who eschews the term “rebuilding,” conceded that the 2000-01 team would be his youngest and least experienced quint of his 12-season tenure at UC.

That youth and inexperience made Cincinnati somewhat unpredictable. The Bearcats rose to the occasion to upset Top 25-ranked Alabama and Wake Forest and record impressive road victories over surging Memphis and Southern Mississippi. UC’s callowness proved to be a factor in six losses in which the Bearcats held significant leads and/or had the chance to win or tie the game at the buzzer.

Cincinnati remained the class of Conference USA. The Bearcats rebounded for a 4-4 start in league play to win their sixth consecutive regular season C-USA championship. On a national scale, UC was the lone C-USA team to receive recognition in the national polls throughout the season and was the league’s highest-ranked team in the Sagarin and RPI computer indexes.

The Bearcats rallied to win seven of their final eight regular season games and built a 25-9 record, topping the 25-win mark for the sixth consecutive season. UC earned a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the fourth time in the past 10 years. The good news is that the terms “young” and “inexperienced” will not be as applicable to the Bearcats in the near future.

Logan, Satterfield Lead Offense
The backcourt tandem of Kenny Satterfield and Steve Logan were viewed as Cincinnati’s strength when the season began and that duo lived up to those expectations.

Satterfield shouldered the major scoring role during the first month of the season. The 6-2 sophomore averaged 18.9 points while leading the Bearcats to a 9-2 start. Satterfield opened the season with a career-high 27 point to spark Cincinnati to a 73-61 win over Boise State.

Satterfield and Logan combined for one half of Cincinnati’s points in the 82-75 win at No. 24 Dayton. Logan tallied 21 points, hitting three 3-pointers in a scoring run which erased a 12-point deficit and put UC in front for good. Satterfield added 20 points, eight in the final six minutes.

Satterfield tallied 26 points in the mid-December crosstown clash with Xavier but couldn’t sink the game-winning try in the final seconds of the 69-67 loss. He atoned for that a week later with a 22-point, 8-assist effort vs. Clemson and 23 points, six in overtime, vs. No. 17 Alabama to lead Cincinnati to the title of the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic. Satterfield earned tourney MVP honors.

Logan picked up his scoring pace in late December. Playing before many hometown friends and family members in Cleveland, the 6-foot junior scored 18 points in a 69-66 loss to Toledo at the Rock-N-Roll Shootout to earn the game’s John McLendon MVP award.

Logan and Satter-field scored 18 each as Cincinnati opened Conference USA play with a 76-66 victory over Charlotte.

Following an offensive meltdown at Marquette, during which the Bearcats were held to an 11-year scoring low in a 47-44 loss, Logan became determined to become more assertive.

Logan exploded for 27 points in a 72-52 win at Louisville to begin what has become termed Logan’s run. In the run, he led the team in scoring for 11 straight games, the longest streak since Pat Cummings’ 19 game streak in 1978-79, and boosted his scoring average to 17.6 points. Logan finished with a 17.6-point average to rank as the sixth-ranked scorer in Conference USA. He averaged 20.9 points in C-USA games, tops in the league.

A Season of Ebbs and Flows
The 2000-01 season had its share of ebbs and flows, and that was just in playing dates. The Bearcats played their first four games in 11 days, then had a 12-day layoff.

Cincinnati opened its 100th season of competition with a 73-61 win over Boise State and turned back Marshall, 79-75, three days later. UC rebounded from a 69-51 loss to No. 14 Notre Dame at the John Wooden Tradition with an 82-75 win over No. 24 Dayton.

The Bearcats resumed play following their layoff with a 97-58 rout of Oakland, a warm-up for their annual crosstown clash with Xavier three days later. In what became the first of a series of disheartening finishes, the Musketeers overtook the Bearcats in the final 32 seconds for a 69-67 upset.

Cincinnati rebounded two days later with a convincing 90-72 win at UNLV. That victory began a five-game win streak—the longest of the season—and was part of an eight-day road trip. UC collected wins over Youngstown State, Clemson and No. 17 Alabama to win the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic, then returned home to top UNC Wilmington, 65-55. A 69-66 loss to Toledo at the Rock-N-Roll Shootout ended the win streak as well as a string of 54 consecutive polls in which the Bearcats had been ranked in the Top 25.

Cincinnati began Conference USA play with three wins in its first four games. UC opened with a 76-66 win over Charlotte but was shocked by a 47-44 loss at Marquette. The Bearcats rebounded with wins over Louisville (72-52) and UAB (90-83). Cincinnati then suffered consecutive losses for the first time in three seasons, losing in overtime at Saint Louis (71-62) and suffering a 63-54 loss at home to the Louisville team it had beaten by 20 points 11 days earlier.

With No. 8 Wake Forest invading three days later, the Bearcats’ record of having never suffered consecutive home defeats in the Shoemaker Center appeared in jeopardy. Cincinnati saw a 10-point lead disappear in the final 4:44 of regulation but recovered for a 78-72 victory in overtime.

UC returned to conference play with a 3-3 ledger, but won four of its next five games to move into contention for a sixth straight C-USA regular season crown. After routing Tulane, 105-57, Cincinnati was edged at Charlotte, 60-58. After convincing wins over DePaul (91-70) and Southern Mississippi (64-52), the Bearcats edged league-leading Memphis, 66-65. Having been the victim of final second comebacks, UC notched one of its own when Kenny Satterfield hit the game-winning basket with less than a second to play.

That win moved Cincinnati within a half game of the C-USA lead. Marquette squelched UC’s advance with a 66-63 overtime defeat. The Bearcats rebounded to win their final four contests, defeating Saint Louis (68-61) and Houston (85-50) at home and turning back South Florida (77-66) and DePaul (75-62) on the road. UC clinched its sixth straight C-USA regular season crown and the No. 1 seed for the league’s postseason tournament. There was little question that Cincinnati was playing its best basketball of the year.

C-USA: The Lo and Satt Show
Cincinnati’s run for a third Conference USA tournament title was more of the Logan and Satterfield show. Other Bearcats made key contributions. Immanuel McElroy averaged 10.3 points over the three games and Leonard Stokes came off the bench to score 16 and 15 points in two of the contests.

The Bearcat starting guards played the main roles, combining to average 39.0 points and 8.7 assists, while their careful distribution of the ball helped UC commit a miserly 18 turnovers in the three contests.

Satterfield stepped up in the quarterfinal win over UAB to score 17 points. He scored seven of Cincinnati’s nine points in the last three minutes of play, during which UCrallied from a three-point deficit to a 73-70 victory.

Logan exploded for 32 points in the 89-79 win over Memphis in the semifinals. When the Tigers took a four-point lead with 4:28 to play, Satterfield again rallied the Bearcats, converting a three-point play and dishing to McElroy on a fast break dunk which reclaimed the advantage. Satterfield scored 22 of his 24 points in the second half.

Fatigue—the two played an average of 33 and 34 minutes in the three contests—may have led to the fall-off in their shooting in the championship game. The duo combined for 32 points, Satterfield getting 18, but shot a combined 33 percent from the floor as the Bearcats fell, 80-72.

Bearcats Taste Sweet 16
Cincinnati was rewarded for its strong season-ending finish with a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Bearcats were sent to the West Regional where they showed they were worthy of that high seed with a pair of convincing wins.

While Logan and Satterfield continued to lead the offense, others stepped up. B.J. Grove scored six of UC’s first 13 points and finished with 11 points and Antwan Jones came off the bench to contribute 11 in the 84-59 win over Brigham Young.

Jamaal Davis tied a career high with 16 points and grabbed a personal best 10 rebounds in the 66-43 victory over Kent State.

Cincinnati shot .538 for the two games while holding the opposition to a .337 field goal percentage. UC also outrebounded its two foes by 29 while earning its ninth trip to the Sweet 16.

The Bearcats’ shooting eye left them—UC shot just .397 from the field—while Stanford scortched the nets at a .628 pace as the No. 2 Cardinal posted a 78-65 win over Cincinnati. A 15-7 scoring run in the final four minutes gave UC a 38-34 halftime lead. Stanford regained the lead three minutes into the second half and took command with a 15-4 run.

 

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