Men's Hoops Ranked 18th in Final USA Today-ESPN Coaches' Poll
Seniors Dion Dixon (left) and Yancy Gates

April 3, 2012

Final USA Today-ESPN Coaches Poll

CINCINNATI – The University of Cincinnati men’s basketball team earned a No. 18 ranking in the final USA Today-ESPN Coaches Poll released on Tuesday. It marks the Bearcats highest ranking in the poll since 2005 (No. 17 in week 11) and their highest at season’s end since 2004 (No. 18 in week 18).  

The Bearcats earned 216 points in the final poll after ending the season 26-11 overall, advancing to the NCAA Championship East Region semifinals.

The success on the hardwood echoes that achieved on gridiron earlier this season, giving Cincinnati Athletics season-ending Top 25 rankings for both its men’s basketball and football programs for the first time in school history. The football team capped off a 10-3 season with a BIG EAST Conference title and Liberty Bowl victory to rank No. 21 in the final USA Today-ESPN Coaches poll.   

The basketball team’s finish capped off a memorable season for Cincinnati that included a school-record 12 BIG EAST Conference regular-season wins; a school-best fourth-place finish in the league standings; the program’s first appearance in the BIG EAST Championship title game; and UC’s first Sweet 16 appearance since 2001.

The Bearcats defeated a school-record eight ranked opponents during the year, including No. 2 Syracuse in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship.

UC’s No. 18 ranking is its highest ranking in any poll this season. The Bearcats were pegged No. 21 in the Associated Press poll and No. 22 in the USA Today-ESPN poll in the preseason. The school climbed to No. 20 in both polls on Nov. 14.

After UC started the season 5-3 and dropped from both polls, the Bearcats went on to win 21 of their last 29 contests – including nine of their last 12 games – to finish the season with 26 wins for the second consecutive season. The Bearcats managed to receive votes in the polls in March but were not ranked among the nation’s Top 25 until the final USA Today-ESPN Coaches poll released Tuesday.    

UC was listed among schools receiving votes in the last Associated Press Poll released on March 14.