Men's Basketball |
MEMPHIS, Tenn. –The University of Cincinnati men’s basketball team has been picked fourth in the American Athletic Conference preseason coaches’ poll the league announced Wednesday at its inaugural basketball media day at FedExForum.
The Bearcats received 58 points to finish behind predicted league champion Louisville (81 points), UConn (69) and Memphis (68). Temple was picked fifth with 40 points, followed by SMU (39), Houston (28), USF (27), UCF (24) and Rutgers (16) in the 10-team conference.
The Cardinals were a unanimous preseason favorite to win the league, receiving all nine eligible first-place votes in the balloting of the coaches, who could not vote for their own teams. UConn, which received the other first-place vote, edged Memphis for second in the preseason poll.
UC senior guard Sean Kilpatrick was selected to the preseason first team along with UConn’s Shabazz Napier, Louisville’s Chane Behanan and Russ Smith and Memphis’ Joe Jackson.
The preseason second team included UCF’s Isaiah Sykes, UConn’s Ryan Boatwright, Houston’s TaShawn Thomas, Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell and USF’s Anthony Collins.
Louisville’s Russ Smith was tabbed the conference’s preseason player of the year while SMU’s Keith Frazier was chosen as the league’s preseason rookie of the year.
Kilpatrick enters his final campaign at UC as a three-time all-conference selection in the former BIG EAST Conference. He earned back-to-back second team all-league honors in 2012 and 2013. As a junior, Kilpatrick averaged 17.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.4 three-pointers, ranking fifth in the league in scoring and fourth in three-pointers made.
The Bearcats return two starters and eight lettermen from the 2012-13 squad that finished 22-12 overall and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive year.
UC takes the floor at Fifth Third Arena for the first time in a preseason exhibition contest with Carleton on Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. ET. The regular season begins Nov. 8 at home against North Carolina Central, starting at 8 p.m.
UC will celebrate the start of the 2013-14 season with Bearcats Basketball Midday Madness presented by Skyline Chili on Thursday, Oct. 17, on an outdoor court at Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati. The hour-long public event is free and starts at Noon. It will feature coach and player introductions, friendly basketball competitions on the court, and the UC spirit squads.
Season tickets and mini plans for Bearcats men's basketball are available now at GoBearcats.com/tickets or by calling 1-877-CATS-TIX.
2013-14 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE PRESEASON COACHES’ POLL
1. Louisville (9) * 81
2. UConn (1) 69
3. Memphis 68
4. Cincinnati 58
5. Temple 40
6. SMU 39
7. Houston 28
8. USF 27
9. UCF 24
10. Rutgers 16
2013-14 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE PRESEASON INDIVIDUAL HONORS
Preseason Player of the Year
Russ Smith, G, Sr., Louisville
Preseason Rookie of the Year
Keith Frazier, G, Fr., SMU
Preseason All-Conference Teams
Sean Kilpatrick, G, Cincinnati
Shabazz Napier, G, UConn *
Chane Behanan, F, Louisville
Russ Smith, G, Louisville *
Joe Jackson, G, Memphis *
Isaiah Sykes, G, UCF
Ryan Boatright, G, UConn
TaShawn Thomas, F, Houston
Montrezl Harrell, F, Louisville
Anthony Collins, G, USF
Victor Rudd, F, USF
* unanimous selection
American Conference Team-by-Team Capsules
Louisville won its third NCAA title last season, becoming one of just eight schools with at least three national championships. The Cardinals closed the 2012-13 season with 16 consecutive wins, capped by successful runs in the Big East and NCAA tournaments, to finish 35-5. Louisville is led by Smith, who averaged 18.7 points per game to go with 82 steals and 116 assists. Forward Chane Behanan, who averaged 9.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, joins Smith on the Preseason All-Conference First Team, while forward Montrezl Harrell (5.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg) was named to the second team. The Cardinals also return forward Luke Hancock, who was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player and averaged 8.1 points per game for the season.
UConn, which had 69 points in the preseason poll, went 20-10 in its first year under Kevin Ollie, who became the first Huskies coach in to win 20 games in his first season. The Huskies, who are two years removed from an NCAA title of their own, return all five starters and their top six scorers from 2012-13. Guard Shabazz Napier, who averaged 17.1 points per game last season, was unanimously chosen to The American Preseason All-Conference First Team, while guard Ryan Boatright (15.4 ppg, 131 assists) was named to the Second Team. Memphis was third in the preseason poll as the Tigers were one point shy of UConn’s total.
Memphis, which has registered 11 straight 20-win seasons, enjoyed a 31-5 season in 2012-13, capped by regular-season and tournament titles in Conference USA. The Tigers went 16-0 in league play last season and advanced to the third round of the NCAA Championship. Guard Joe Jackson was a unanimous Preseason All-Conference First Team choice after he averaged 13.6 points per game last season.
Cincinnati was fourth in the preseason poll with 58 points. The Bearcats look to make their fourth straight NCAA Championship appearance in 2014 as they return a pair of starters from last year’s 22-12 squad. Guard Sean Kilpatrick, who earned all-conference honors in each of his first three seasons, averaged 17.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per game last season and was selected to the Preseason All-Conference First Team.
Temple was picked fifth in the preseason poll with 40 points. The Owls have made six straight NCAA tournament appearances and return two starters from last year’s squad, which went 24-10 and dropped a close battle with top-seeded Indiana in the third round of the national tournament. Forward Anthony Lee, who averaged 9.8 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game last year, is the top returning player.
SMU was tabbed sixth in the preseason poll with 39 points. The Mustangs return all five starters from last year’s 15-17 team, but coach Larry Brown expects that group to be challenged by an influx of highly regarded newcomers. Guard Nick Russell averaged 14.0 points per game last year to lead the returning players, while Frazier, a native of Dallas, comes in as a McDonald’s All-America selection from Dallas Kimball HS.
Houston was seventh in the preseason poll with 28 points. The Cougars, who won 20 games last season and reached the second round of the College Basketball Invitational tournament, have three starters back from 2012-13. Forward TaShawn Thomas averaged 16.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game last year and was one of just two players to rank in the top five in Conference USA in both categories. Thomas was a Preseason All-Conference Second Team choice.
USF was eighth in the poll. The Bulls were 12-19 a year ago, but return a pair of Preseason All-Conference selections. Guard Anthony Collins, a two-year starter, averaged 8.6 points per game and had 194 assists last year, while forward Victor Rudd was the team’s leading scorer (12.3 ppg) and rebounder (6.9 rpg). Both players were second-team selections to the preseason team.
UCF was picked ninth in the preseason poll. The Knights return four starters from a team that went 20-11 last season, including versatile guard Isaiah Sykes. Sykes, a Preseason All-Conference Second Team selection, was the only player nationally to average at least 16 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals last season.
Rutgers was tabbed for 10th in the preseason poll in the first year on the bench for Eddie Jordan at his alma mater. The Scarlet Knights have three starters returning from a team that went 15-16 last season and should receive a boost from the immediate eligibility of some key transfers. Guard Myles Mack, the top returning scorer, averaged 13.6 points per game and was the top 3-point shooter in the Big East (.462).