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Cincinnati Basketball Timeline

  • 1900-01 After several unsuccessful attempts to organize the sport, basketball became an established part of Cincinnati’s intercollegiate program with the hiring of its first head coach, Henry S. Pratt. No games were played that year.

  • 1901-02 Basketball formally debuted as a selected varsity team played nine games. Cincinnati lost to Yale but defeated a team from the University of Kentucky while compiling a 5-4 record, the remaining games against non-collegiate teams. Home games were played in a gym in the basement of McMicken Hall. Pillars on the court gave UC a home court advantage.

  • 1907-08 Cincinnati completed the season with an unblemished 9-0 record, claiming the mythical Ohio Collegiate Championship.

  • 1910-11 Cincinnati joined the Ohio Athletic Conference, an alliance of Ohio colleges.

  • 1911-12 Schmidlapp Gym was opened as UC’s new home court.

  • 1918-19 Boyd Chambers began his 10-season coaching tenure.

  • 1925-26 Cincinnati and five other Ohio schools bolted the Ohio Athletic Conference to form the Buckeye Athletic Association, also known as the Buckeye Conference. The Bearcats compiled a 17-2 record to capture the first Buckeye cage title.

  • 1927-28 Cincinnati garnered its second Buckeye Conference crown. At the close of the season, UC played Xavier in a game to dedicate the latter’s new gym, a modest beginning for what later developed into a heated crosstown rivalry. Boyd Chambers stepped down as head coach to become Cincinnati’s first full-time athletic director at season’s end, capping a 10-year career during which he compiled a 106-81 record.

  • 1928-29 Frank Rice debuted as Cincinnati’s new head coach and promptly directed UC to the first of two straight Buckeye championships.

  • 1931-32 Chester Smith became the first African-American to play basketball at Cincinnati. After serving as a reserve, he was a regular on the front line for the 1932-33 and 1933-34 seasons.

  • 1942-43 Cincinnati appeared in two doubleheaders at Xavier’s Schmidt Fieldhouse. UC and Xavier played each other for the first time since 1927-28.

  • 1946-47 Fiery John Wiethe was hired as UC’s 17th head coach. Cincinnati, without a conference since the disbanding of the Buckeye Athletic Association in the mid-1930’s, joined the Mid-American Conference and claimed the league’s cage crown in that initial season. The Bearcats played half of their home games in a basketball arena constructed at Music Hall. Dick Dallmer became Cincinnati’s first All-American.

  • 1948-49 The Bearcats won their third straight Mid-American Conference title. A 23-8 season was capped by a championship in the first Cincinnati Invitational, played in the city’s newest sports arena, Cincinnati Gardens. Bill Westerfeld became UC’s first 1000-point scorer, capping his career with 1,092 points.

  • 1949-50 Cincinnati posted a 20-6 ledger en route to a fourth straight MAC crown and another Cincinnati Invitational trophy. Dick Dallmer and Jim Holstein each topped the 1,000-point plateau in career scoring, Dallmer closed his career as the school’s all-time scoring leader with 1,098 points. Cincinnati Gardens became the Bearcats’ playing home.

  • 1950-51 Sophomore Larry Imburgia scored a school-record 40 points in his first game as a Bearcat. After claiming its fifth straight Mid-American Conference title, Cincinnati made its first venture into post-season play with selection to the National Invitation Tournament. UC lost in double overtime to St. Bonaventure in the tourney opener.

  • 1952-53 George Smith succeeded John Wiethe, who was 106-47 in six seasons, as head coach. Cincinnati departed the Mid-American Conference and began national scheduling, appearing in the prestigious Holiday Festival in New York. Jack Twyman made his debut as a Bearcat.

  • 1954-55 Cincinnati opened its new on-campus arena, Armory Fieldhouse, with a 97-65 win over Indiana in the mid-December dedication game. Jack Twyman scored a UC season record 712 points, highlighted by a 49-point outing vs. Western Kentucky. He closed his career owning all of the Bearcat scoring records, including the career mark with 1,598 points, earning second team All-American honors. Frank Nimmo took the spotlight in the Bearcats’ venture in the NIT, earning a berth on the all-tournament team. Cincinnati closed the season with a 21-8 record.

  • 1957-58 Oscar Robertson made his debut, and quickly emerged as one of the top college players in the country. He scored over 50 points in three different games and was the nation’s leading scorer with a school season record 984 points. The Bearcats celebrated their entry into the Missouri Valley Conference by winning the league title. Cincinnati made its first NCAA tournament appearance, losing to Kansas State in overtime at the Midwest Regional.

  • 1958-59 Buoyed by the offense of Oscar Robertson—the junior repeated as national scoring champ—Cincinnati compiled a 26-4 ledger and a second straight Missouri Valley crown. UC breezed through the Midwest Regional to make its first appearance in the NCAA Final Four, The Bearcats lost to eventual champion California, but rebounded with a win over Louisville in the consolation game for a third place finish.

  • 1959-60 Oscar Robertson scored a school record 62 points in an early-February game vs. North Texas State and in the process became the NCAA’s all-time leading career scorer. Robertson claimed national player of the year honors for the third straight year while Cincinnati won its third straight Missouri Valley title. The Bearcats made their second trip to the Final Four. California again turned back UC’s title hopes as UC finished third. George Smith stepped down as head coach to become athletic director, capping a career in which he posted a 154-56 record in eight years.

  • 1960-61 Largely an unknown team, without Robertson, and with a new head coach, Ed Jucker, in command, Cincinnati stumbled to a 5-3 start. The Bearcats then won their next 22 contests, garnering a league title, a then-unprecedented third straight trip to the Final Four, and a national championship. In the first-ever championship game matchup of two teams from the same state, UC defeated Ohio State in overtime, 70-65.

  • 1961-62 Cincinnati fashioned a 28-2 record, but the Bearcats had to defeat Bradley in a league playoff game to defend their national title. UC won the Midwest Regional to earn its fourth straight trip to the Final Four. After edging UCLA, 72-70, in the semifinals, Cincinnati became a repeat champion with a 71-59 win over Ohio State. Paul Hogue was the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

  • 1962-63 UC breezed to its fifth straight Missouri Valley Conference crown and, after winning the Midwest Regional, a fifth straight trip to the Final Four. An 80-46 win over Oregon in the semifinals put the Bearcats in position to win a then-unprecedented third straight national title. Cincinnati held a 15-point lead over Loyola (Ill.) in the second half of the championship game, only to have the Ramblers come back to win, 60-58, in overtime. Cincinnati led the nation in defense.

  • 1963-64 One of the longest home winning streaks in college basketball history was snapped when Kansas defeated Cincinnati in Armory Fieldhouse in early December. During the streak, UC won 72 straight games in Armory Fieldhouse plus 18 in Cincinnati Gardens for a home win streak of 90 games.

  • 1964-65 Ed Jucker announced his retirement as head coach in February, and the Bearcats won their final three games to send their mentor out with a winning record. Jucker’s six-season ledger of 113-28 gave him the school’s best winning percentage (.801).

  • 1965-66 Tay Baker succeeded Ed Jucker as head coach and directed Cincinnati to a 21-7 campaign, a Missouri Valley Conference title and an NCAA tourney berth. The Bearcats were defeated by Texas-El Paso, the eventual tourney champion, in the Midwest Regional.

  • 1969-70 Cincinnati compiled a 21-6 record and was selected to the NIT. Jim Ard earned All-American honors.

  • 1972-73 Gale Catlett succeeded Tay Baker as head coach. Lloyd Batts was a first team All-American pick.

  • 1973-74 Cincinnati, which finished with a 19-8 record, advanced to the NIT.

  • 1974-75 Buoyed by the recruitment of five high school All-Americans, the Bearcats compiled a 23-6 record to return to the NCAA Tournament.

  • 1975-76 Cincinnati joined six other schools in forming the Metro Conference, then won the league’s initial tournament. The title advanced the Bearcats to their second straight NCAA tourney appearance.

  • 1976-77 Riverfront Coliseum became the new home of the Bearcats, and UC celebrated by winning its first 23 games in the new arena. Cincinnati posted a 25-5 ledger and won its second straight Metro tourney crown to advance to the NCAA Midwest Regional. The Bearcats lost to Marquette, which went on to win the national title.

  • 1979-80 Eddie Lee broke a 20-year old Oscar Robertson UC record by dishing out 15 assists in a win over Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden. Pat Cummings concluded his career with 1,762 points, second only to Robertson.

  • 1980-81 The Bearcats rebound from a 3-5 start to post a 16-13 ledger. After finishing third in the Metro regular season race, UC advanced to the championship game of the conference tournament, where the Bearcats finished on the short end of a 42-31 slowdown contest with Louisville.

  • 1981-82 Cincinnati and Bradley battled for seven overtimes, an NCAA record, before the Bearcats prevailed, 75-73, in the longest NCAA Division I basketball game ever.

  • 1983-84 Tony Yates, who had been part of Cincinnati’s NCAA championship success as a player, returned as head coach.

  • 1984-85 Cincinnati, 3-25 the season before, posted a 17-14 ledger. Tony Wilson fired in a 54-foot shot at the buzzer to defeat UAB, 69-67, in early December, one of five games won with a basket in the final minute. UC advanced to the second round of the NIT.

  • 1985-86 Roger McClendon scored 35 points, the most by a Bearcat in seven years, to spark an 84-82 win over Louisville.

  • 1986-87 Joe Stiffend’s 15-foot jumper at the buzzer boosted UC to a 75-73 win over cross-town rival Xavier.

  • 1987-88 With the completion of its new on-campus arena two years away, Cincinnati moved its home games from Riverfront Coliseum to Cincinnati Gardens. Roger McClendon, benefiting from college basketball’s adoption of the 3-point field goal a year earlier, finished his career as the No. 2 Bearcat career scorer with 1,789 points.

  • 1989-90 Bob Huggins debuted as head coach. Huggins directed a team, whose fifth starter was a walk-on from the football team, to a 20-14 ledger and the NIT. That football player, Steve Sanders, sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift UC to a 66-64 win over nationally ranked Minnesota in the inaugural game in the new Shoemaker Center. Cincinnati advanced to the second round of the NIT, losing to DePaul on a buzzer-beater.

  • 1990-91 Cincinnati had a 15-7 record in mid-February, but injuries contributed to a 2-5 ledger in the final three weeks of the season and the Bearcats settled for a return trip to the NIT.

  • 1991-92 The Bearcats opened play in the Great Midwest Conference and marked their debut in this new league by sharing the regular season title and winning the tournament crown. Cincinnati made its first appearance in two decades in the Top 20 rankings. The Bearcats were seeded fourth in the Midwest Regional. UC defeated its four regional foes by an average margin of 20.8 points to make its sixth appearance in the Final Four. Michigan edged UC, 76-72, in the semifinal.

  • 1992-93 Cincinnati picked up where it left off, winning 17 of its first 18 games to earn a No. 4 national ranking. UC claimed the Great Midwest regular season outright, then won its second straight league tournament. The Bearcats were seeded No. 3 in the East Regional. UC handily won its first three NCAA tourney contests by an average margin of 27 points. An overtime loss to eventual NCAA champ North Carolina prevented UC from making a second straight trip to the Final Four. Nick Van Exel earned third team All-American honors.

  • 1993-94 After finishing fourth in the regular season race, Cincinnati won its third straight Great Midwest tournament and advanced to the West Regional, where UC suffered a first-round loss. Dontonio Wingfield, who earned Freshman All-American honors, declared himself eligible for the NBA draft that spring.

  • 1994-95 UC closed out the Great Midwest Conference with a fourth straight tournament championship. LaZelle Durden fired in the game-winning shot with 1.2 seconds to play in the championship game win over Saint Louis. Durden had scored 45 points, the most by a Bearcat in 34 years, in a mid-December win over Wyoming, clinching the 81-80 victory with three free throws after time expired. UC made its second straight trip to the West Regional, advancing to the second round.

  • 1995-96 The Bearcats captured both the regular season and tournament titles in the debut season of Conference USA. Seeded No. 2 in the Southeast Regional, Cincinnati made its third appearance in the NCAA tourney Elite Eight in the past five years. Danny Fortson, who garnered C-USA Most Outstanding Player honors and was tournament MVP, was a first team All-American selection by Basketball Weekly and College Sports, and earned second team All-America honors by five other polls. UC finished ranked No. 7 by AP and No. 6 by USA Today/CNN.

  • 1996-97 The Bearcats began the season as the consensus No. 1-ranked team and junior Danny Fortson was a consensus preseason All-American. UC rolled to a 26-8 season, capturing the Conference USA regular season title, and made its sixth straight NCAA appearance. Fortson, who elected to turn pro following the season, finished as the school’s No. 2 scorer (1,881 points) and first consensus first team All-American in 34 years.

  • 1997-98 With but one returning starter the Bearcats posted a 27-6 record, claimed both the C-USA regular season and tournament titles and garnered a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. Kenyon Martin recorded UC’s first triple-double in 31 years with 24 points, 23 rebounds and 10 blocks in a late February win over DePaul. Martin was MVP of the C-USA tournament, Ruben Patterson was named third team All-American while Cincinnati posted its third straight top-10 poll finish.

  • 1998-99 Cincinnati won its first 15 games, including an upset of No. 1-ranked Duke, en route to a fourth straight C-USA regular season crown. The Bearcats earned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA East Regional. Melvin Levett and Kenyon Martin earned honorable mention All-American recognition.

  • 1999-00 Cincinnati was the nation’s top team and Kenyon Martin was college basketball’s top player. UC was ranked No. 1 in the national polls for 12 of 18 weeks and Martin made a clean sweep of the national player of the year awards (Naismith, Wooden, Rupp, Robertson, NABC). The Bearcats tied a school record for victories with a 29-4 record and won their fifth straight Conference USA regular season title. UC seemed poised for a run for the national title until Martin suffered a broken leg in the Conference USA Tournament. Martin was a unanimous first team All-American with Pete Mickeal earning honorable mention honors.

  • 2000-01 With but one returning starter, Cincinnati got off to a 12-6 start and a meager 3-3 ledger in Conference USA play. The Bearcats won nine of their final 11 regular season games to claim their sixth straight C-USA season crown. After finishing runner-up in the C-USA tournament, UC was seeded No. 5 in the West Regional and parlayed that position to advance to the Sweet 16. Steve Logan, who hiked his scoring output by 50 percent during the Bearcats’ final 21 games, was named C-USA Player of the Year.

  • 2001-02 Unranked in the major polls at the start of the season, the Bearcats posted a 31-4 record—setting a new standard for victories—won a seventh consecutive Conference USA regular season championship, captured the C-USA tournament crown and earned their first-ever No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Steve Logan earned his second straight Conference USA Player of the Year award, was a consensus All-American and a finalist for every national player of the year honor.

  • 2002-03 Though the Bearcats had but one returning starter, they nonetheless were in contention for an eighth straight C-USA title and made a 12th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. And though Bob Huggins suffered a major heart attack in late September, the coach was with the team for its first practice two weeks later and continued to direct UC with his intensity.

  • 2003-04 Cincinnati returned to the Top 25, raising as high as No. 5 in the weekly polls en route to a 25-7 campaign. The Bearcats finished in a five-way tie for the Conference USA regular season title, then swept up the league’s tournament crown and made its 13th straight NCAA Tournament appearance

  • 2004-05 The Bearcats finished second in their final season in Conference USA, but made their 14th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the third-longest active streak in the nation. UC also finished in the Top 25 in the final polls. Jason Maxiell, who concluded his career as the No. 11 all-time UC scorer and No. 2 in blocked shots, was drafted in the first round by the Detroit Pistons.

  • 2005-06 In UC’s first season in the BIG EAST, interim head coach Andy Kennedy guided the Bearcats to a 21-13 record and reached the NIT quarterfinals, despite finishing the season with just seven scholarship players. Eric Hicks broke Kenyon Martin’s single-season blocks record and James White was drafted inthe second round by the Portland Trailblazers.

  • 2006-07 Mick Cronin, a UC graduate and former assistant coach, takes over as the 26th head coach in Bearcats Basketball history.


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