Men's Hoops Opens Season with UT Martin|
Nov. 10, 2012
CINCINNATI - The 24th-ranked University of Cincinnati men's basketball team opens the 2012-13 season Sunday when it welcomes UT Martin to Fifth Third Arena for a 2 p.m. ET contest. The game will be televised by FOX Sports Ohio and can be heard on 55 KRC.
The Bearcats (0-0) return three starters and 10 lettermen from last season's squad that posted a 26-11 overall record; appeared in its first BIG EAST Championship title game and returned to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time since 2001.
The Skyhawks (0-1) return four starters and eight lettermen from last season's squad that finished 4-27 overall and 0-16 in the Ohio Valley Conference. UT Martin welcomes six newcomers to its roster. UT Martin suffered an 84-68 setback at Arkansas-Little Rock on Friday evening. The Skyhawks were led by sophomore forward Myles Taylor's game-high 24 points.
Sunday's game marks the third meeting in series history with UC claiming victory in both prior contests. The Bearcats defeated the Skyhawks 110-56 on Dec. 10, 1994 and 67-49 on Nov. 11, 2006. Both games were played at Fifth Third Arena.
The contest is the first of four consecutive home games for UC to tipoff the new season. The Bearcats play host to Mississippi Valley State on Tuesday at 7 p.m. UC also plays North Carolina A&T (Nov. 18 at 2 p.m.) and Campbell (Nov. 20 at 7 p.m.) at Fifth Third Arena as part of the Global Sports Invitational.
Series Info: Third meeting; UC owns a 2-0 lead overall in series history. The Bearcats lead 2-0 in Cincinnati. The teams have not played in Martin, Tenn., or at a neutral site.
-The Bearcats return three starters and 10 lettermen from last season's squad that posted a 26-11 overall record; appeared in their first BIG EAST Championship title game and returned to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time since 2001. The squad set school records for best finish in the BIG EAST regular season (tied for fourth) and most league wins (12) while also defeating a school-best eight ranked teams during the year.
-This season's squad features one of the best backcourts in the BIG EAST Conference with junior guard Sean Kilpatrick and senior guards Cashmere Wright and JaQuon Parker.
-Kilpatrick was named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list on Thursday. He was tabbed a first team All-BIG EAST selection by the league's coaches in October. He returns as UC's leading scorer from last season, averaging 14.3 points. His 92 three-pointers ranked first among all BIG EAST players.
-The Bearcats were picked to finish fourth in the BIG EAST according to a preseason poll of the league's coaches.
-UC enters the season ranked in the Associated Press preseason poll for the second consecutive season. Last year, UC was No. 21 in the initial poll.
-Cincinnati opens its 112th season of varsity men's basketball Sunday against UT Martin.
-UC owns a record of 90-21 (.811) in season openers, including a 79-10 (.888) mark at home.
-The Bearcats are 17-2 (.895) against nonconference opponents at home during the past two seasons.
-Mick Cronin can take sole possession of fifth place on the UC career coaching wins ledger with a victory on Sunday. His 113 victories at UC are currently tied with legend Ed Jucker.
SCOUTING UT MARTIN
UT Martin returns four starters and eight lettermen from last season's squad that finished 4-27 overall and 0-16 in the Ohio Valley Conference.
The Skyhawks return three of their top five scorers from last season, led by junior swingman Mike Liabo who averaged 15.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game a year ago. Liabo ranked fourth in the league in three-pointers made (2.3 per game) and seventh in scoring (15.2 ppg).
Sophomore forward Myles Taylor led the team in rebounding (5.2 rpg) and blocks (0.8 bpg) last season. Taylor earned OVC Freshman of the Year and All-Newcomer honors last season.
Senior forward Corderio Maclin averaged 6.3 points in 30 games last season.
Cincinnati holds a 37-3 record all-time against teams from the Ohio Valley Conference with games against nine of the 11 current members: Austin Peay (5-0), Eastern Kentucky (10-0), Jacksonville State (2-0), Morehead State (10-2), Murray State (1-0) Southeast Missouri (2-0), Tennessee State (3-1), Tennessee Tech (2-0) and UT Martin (2-0).
UC's last loss to an OVC team came in a 67-56 setback to Tennessee State on Feb. 14, 1987 at Riverfront Coliseum.
UC SEASON OPENERS
Basketball formally debuted as a selected varsity team in 1901-02, playing nine games and finishing with a 5-4 record.
Cincinnati owns a record of 90-21 (.811) in season openers, including a 79-10 (.888) mark at home.
The Red and Black are 29-2 in its last 31 season openers (69-62 loss at Oklahoma State on 11/16/2001 and 86-75 loss at home to Belmont 11/9/2007).
The Bearcats are 19-1 (.950) in season openers at Fifth Third Arena at the Shoemaker Center since it opened in 1989-90 with a 66-64 win over Minnesota on Nov. 25. UC has opened a season away from Fifth Third three times since it opened.
UC is 93-17 (.845) in home openers (during the 1906-07 season UC did not play a home game) and has won 46 of its last 47 home debuts dating back to 1965-66. The lone loss was to Belmont, 86-75, in 2007-08.
FIFTH THIRD ADVANTAGE
Under Mick Cronin, UC is 71-31 (.696) in Fifth Third Arena.
The Bearcats concluded the 2011-12 season with a 14-4 home record, second only to the 2010-11 home record of 15-4 for most home wins during the Cronin era.
UC was 7-2 at home against BIG EAST foes last season, including a 2-1 mark against ranked opponents.