Nov. 6, 2013
Watch on ESPN3 | Cincinnati Notes | NCCU Notes | Gameday Info | Cronin Preview Quotes
The University of Cincinnati men's basketball team begins regular-season play Friday when it welcomes North Carolina Central to Fifth Third Arena. The game tips at 8 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN3.
The Bearcats earned a pair of exhibition victories during preseason action, posting a 77-63 win over Canadian power Carleton on Oct. 26 and an 84-72 win against NCAA Division II perennial title contender Bellarmine on Nov. 2.
Senior guard Sean Kilpatrick led the Bearcats in each game and averaged 22.0 points in exhibition action. Senior forward Justin Jackson also recorded a pair of solid performances while averaging 16.5 points and a team-high 8.0 rebounds.
Kilpatrick and Jackson are the two returning starters (and are among eight returning lettermen) from last season's 22-12 squad that made the school's third consecutive appearance at the NCAA tournament.
North Carolina Central posted a 22-9 overall record last season, including a 15-1 mark and second-place finish in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
Friday's matchup will be the first in series history between the two programs.
Fans can purchase tickets to 2013-14 season opener or any regular-season game at GoBEARCATS.com/tickets.
Game at a Glance
Series Info: First Meeting
Coaches: Mick Cronin is in his eighth season at Cincinnati (135-100); 11th season overall (204-124). LeVelle Moton is in his fifth season at NCCU (61-61); fifth season overall (61-61).
Rankings: Cincinnati and North Carolina Central are not ranked in the preseason USA Today or AP polls.
Radio: 700 WLW; Dan Hoard provides play-by-play alongside color analyst Chuck Machock.
TV: ESPN3; Jim Barber provides play-by-play with color analyst Mark Adams. Larry Jacquemotte produces.
UC Twitter Page: @GoBEARCATS
-Cincinnati tips off its 113th season on Friday against North Carolina Central. It marks the earliest season opener in school history. The previous record was Nov. 9, 2007 at home against Belmony (L, 86-75).
-Friday's game also marks the beginning of a seven-game homestand for the Bearcats. The first four contests are part of the Global Sports Shootout.
-The Bearcats are 91-21 (.813) in season openers, including an 80-10 (.889) mark at home.
-The 2013-14 Bearcats return two starters and eight lettermen from last season's team that finished 22-12 overall and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive season.
-Kilpatrick, who was named first team All-American Athletic Conference by the league's coaches, averaged 17.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.41 three-pointers last season and leads all current AAC players with 1,444 career points.
-Senior forwards Justin Jackson and Titus Rubles man the UC frontcourt. Jackson ranked eighth in the BIG EAST Conference in blocks (1.37) last season. Rubles is UC's returning leader in rebounds (5.9) and assists (2.0).
-The Bearcats were picked fourth in the American preseason coaches' poll. UC 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).
-UC earned a pair of exhibition victories at Fifth Third Arena during the past two weeks in preparation for today's season opener. The Bearcats posted a 77-63 win over Carleton University (Canada) on Oct. 26 and an 84-72 victory against Bellarmine on Nov. 2.
-UC is 52-9 (.852) in nonconference home games during the Mick Cronin coaching era. The Bearcats have won 39 of their last 43 non-league home games.
-UC plays host to NC State on Nov. 12 at 5 p.m. ET as part of ESPN's College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon.