Bearcats Open Exhibition Season with NKU

Oct. 31, 2007

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·          The University of Cincinnati men's basketball teams starts its 107th season of basketball off by hosting the Northern Kentucky University Norse in a preseason exhibition at Fifth Third Arena.


·          Head coach Mick Cronin begins his second season directing his alma mater after taking over the program in March 2006. Last season, Cronin lead the Bearcats to a 11-19 overall record.


·          Tonight's exhibition game vs. NKU is the first of two home preseason contests for the Bearcats. Cincinnati will take on Bellarmine University on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m. UC opens the regular season hosting the inaugural Peggy Cronin Classic on Nov. 9-11.


·          The Bearcats and Northern Kentucky are opening up the year with a preseason exhibition for the seventh consecutive year. UC is 13-0 all-time versus the Norse, including seven regular-season victories. NKU was picked to finish second this year in the East Division of the Great Lakes Valley Conference.


THE OPENING TIP:  The University of Cincinnati gets its preseason portion of its 2007-08 season underway Wednesday, Oct. 31 at Fifth Third Arena with a 7:30 p.m. tip vs. area Division-II power Northern Kentucky University. The Bearcats, under second year head coach Mick Cronin, have eight new faces joining the team as they look to improve on last year's 11-19 mark record. The Norse, who were regional finalists and finished the year with a mark of 24-9, bring in a veteran squad with just two true freshmen.


EXHIBIT NO. 1 of 2:   Wednesday's contest is the first of two preseason exhibitions that the Bearcats will host.  Cincinnati will face another Division-II foe in Bellarmine University on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m.


ABOUT NKU:  The Norse are one of the winningest teams in the NCAA Division II Tournament, twice reaching the tourney finals.  The Norse were runners up in 1996 and 1997 and last season were a regional finalist after going 24-9 overall.  NKU was picked to finish second in the Great Lakes Valley Conference East Division in the league's preseason poll.  Northern Kentucky augmented its  team with transfers, including shooting guard Dennis Gagai, a 6-foot-4 transfer from West Virginia University who averaged 22.4 points per game as a senior at Ironton (Ohio) High School.


PLAY IT AGAIN:  Saturday's game will mark the seventh consecutive season in which Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky have met in a preseason exhibition contest.  The Bearcats have won all six previous meetings by an average of 30.3 points.  The teams previously played seven regular-season contests between 1981-82 and 1988-89 with UC winning all seven match-ups.


SEVENTH YEAR FOR DIVISION II ACTION:  Prior to 2001-02, preseason basketball games featured touring foreign teams and amateur club squads from the U.S.  An NCAA rule was implemented to permit a Division I team to schedule exhibition contests against Division II or Division III teams.  


107TH CAMPAIGN:  The 2007-08 season will be Cincinnati's 107th year of basketball competition.  The school has compiled a 1,531-887 record for a .633 percentage.


TALKING ABOUT THE BEARCATS: The 2007-08 Bearcats return six letterwinners and four starters from last season's squad that finished 11-19 overall and 2-14 in the BIG EAST Conference. Sophomore guard Deonta Vaughn (14.5 ppg) and senior forward John Williamson (13.5 ppg) are both double-digit scorers, while Vaughn also led the team in assists (106) and Williamson was the team's top rebounder (7.3 rpg). Seniors Marcus Sikes (9.5 ppg) and Marvin Gentry (7.4 ppg) round out the returning starters. Eight new faces join the squad this year, including six incoming freshmen. Senior  Adam Hrycaniuk, a 6-10 center who sat our last season, will give the Bearcats some much needed size up front while 6-11 freshman center Anthony McClain makes the adjustment to the college game. Freshman forward Alvin Mitchell is expected to make an immediate impact.


BEARCATS UNBEATABLE IN 5/3 ARENA:  Cincinnati enters its 19th season in Fifth Third Arena at Shoemaker Center with a 245-43 record a .851 winning percentage.  UC is 81-19 in Fifth Third over the last six seasons.


LOOKING AHEAD:  The Bearcats will open the 2007-08 season hosting the Peggy Cronin Classic, an exempted round-robin tournament, on Nov. 9-11 at Fifth Third Arena.  UC will face Belmont on Nov. 9 at 8 p.m., Western Carolina on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m., and Bowling Green on Nov. 11 at 8 p.m.