UC Men's Basketball Picked to Finish 12th in BIG EAST

Oct. 20, 2010

NEW YORK - The University of Cincinnati men's basketball team was picked to finish 12th in a preseason poll of BIG EAST Conference coaches, the league office announced today. Junior forward Yancy Gates (Cincinnati, Ohio/Withrow), a 2008-09 BIG EAST All-Rookie team selection, earned preseason honorable mention accolades.

Pittsburgh was the choice to win the 2010-11 BIG EAST men's basketball regular-season crown in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches' Poll, collecting 12 first-place votes from the head coaches.

Villanova follows Pitt in the poll in second place. The Wildcats had 208 points which included one first-place vote. Syracuse, last year's regular-season league champion, was picked third followed by Georgetown in fourth.

West Virginia, who won the BIG EAST Champion last season in Madison Square Garden was slotted for fifth place. St. John's received one first-place vote and finished sixth in the poll. Notre Dame picked seventh place with 123 points followed by Louisville and Marquette who tied for eighth place in the poll.

The coaches put Connecticut 10th and Seton Hall 11th. Both teams were NIT participants last season along with UC.

The Bearcats were selected in 12th place with 91 points. Last year, the Bearcats tied Connecticut for 11th place in the standings with a 7-11 BIG EAST mark. Cincinnati finished 19-16 overall and made the NIT. Cincinnati was followed in the poll by USF, Providence, Rutgers and DePaul.

Gates is the fourth different Bearcats basketball player to earn preseason all-league honors since UC joined the BIG EAST in 2005. Gates is the team's top returning scorer (10.4 ppg) and rebounder (5.9 rpg) from last year's squad that finished 19-16 overall and made its first appearance in the NIT under head coach Mick Cronin. The Bearcats made it to the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship last spring after posting two wins before losing to West Virginia in the quarterfinals.



Cincinnati enters the 2010-11 season with three starters and 11 letterwinners from last year's squad. Besides Gates, fellow returning starters include senior center Ibrahima Thomas (5.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and sophomore guard JaQuon Parker (4.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg). The Bearcats will add depth to the front court with the additions of 6-foot-8 freshman forward Justin Jackson and 6-foot-10 freshman center Kelvin Gaines.

The Bearcats open up the 2010-11 season against Carleton University on Monday, Nov. 1 and Indiana University Southeast on Tuesday, Nov. 9 in preseason exhibition games at Fifth Third Arena. Both games are slated for a 7 p.m. tip-off.