UC Men's Basketball to Face Weber State in First Round of NIT

March 14, 2010

CINCINNATI - The University of Cincinnati men's basketball team earned its 10th trip to the National Invitational Tournament on Sunday, as the Bearcats received an at-large bid from the tournament selection committee. UC will face Weber State (20-10) from the Big Sky Conference at home on Wednesday, March 17, at 7 p.m. in Fifth Third Arena.


Wednesday's game will be televised live on ESPN2. In addition, Voice of the Bearcats Dan Hoard and color analyst Chuck Machock will have the call 700 WLW with the pre-game show beginning 30 minutes before tipoff. The radio broadcast also is available live on www.GoBEARCATS.com.


The Bearcats finished the regular season with a record of 18-15, its second consecutive winning season under head coach Mick Cronin. The Bearcats are led by the trio of 2010 BIG EAST Conference Rookie of the year Lance Stephenson (12.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg), senior guard Deonta Vaughn (11.1 ppg, 3.4 apg), and sophomore forward Yancy Gates (10.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg).




The Illinois Regional bracket also includes #1 Illinois (19-14) at #8 Stony Brook (22-9), #6 Illinois State (22-10) at # 3 Dayton (20-12), and #5 Tulsa (23-11) at #4 Kent State (23-9). The top-seeded team plays host in the first three rounds. Should the Bearcats advance, they will welcome the winner of the Illinois State-Dayton game into Fifth Third Arena.


The other No. 1 seeds in the 2010 NIT are Arizona State (22-10), Mississippi State (23-11), and Virginia Tech (23-8).


UC's opponent, Weber State, owns an overall record of 20-10 and claimed the Big Sky Conference regular-season championship before falling in the championship game of its league tournament, 66-65, to Montana. Weber State is coached by Randy Rahe who is in his fourth year mentoring the Wildcats. Weber State is making its second straight and third appearance overall in the NIT.


The Wildcats rank second in the Big Sky Conference in scoring, averaging 76.6 ppg, and boasting the league's MVP and leading scorer, Damian Lillard, who averages 19.7 ppg. Franklin Session leads the team in rebounding with 6.0 rpg.


Wednesday's meeting between UC and Weber State will be the first meeting between the schools.


This is Cincinnati's 10th appearance in the NIT and it owns a record of 7-9. The tournament, which began in 1938, is the oldest in college basketball and was the first national postseason collegiate tournament to be played in the country, predating the NCAA Tournament by one year.


The Bearcats last trip to the NIT came in 2006 as it advanced to the quarterfinals, knocking off Charlotte (86-80) and Minnesota (76-62) before losing to South Carolina (65-62). UC has made it to the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden once in program history, finishing third in 1955.


Tickets for the Bearcats first round game of the NIT vs. Weber State will go on sale on Monday, March 15 at 8:30 a.m. by calling 1-877-CATS-TIX or going online at www.CATSTIX.com.  Tickets are $25 for lower level, $20 for upper level chair, $10 for upper level bench, $4 for students with a valid ID, and $15 for youth age 12 and under. 


2009-10 men's basketball season ticket holders will have until 6 p.m. on Monday to order their tickets and retain their regular-season ticket locations.


Student tickets will available online at www.CATSTIX.com starting Monday. Any student who has not purchased a ticket online by the day of the game will have to go in person to the Richard E. Lindner Center Athletics Ticket office to purchase a seat.


Fans are encouraged to use www.CATSTIX.com to purchase their tickets and avoid long lines at the UC Athletics Ticket office on game night.