Men’s Basketball Announces 2018-19 Schedule

 In Marketing, Press Release

CINCINNATI – The 2018-19 University of Cincinnati men’s basketball schedule released Wednesday couples a demanding nonconference slate with a challenging lineup of 18 American Athletic Conference matchups. The 31-game regular-season schedule includes at least 24 games on national television and potentially 12 contests against teams that advanced to postseason play last season.

The newly renovated Fifth Third Arena serves as the backdrop for 19 home dates, including one exhibition game.

Led by junior guard Jarron Cumberland and senior guards Justin Jenifer and Cane Broome, the Bearcats are coming off back-to-back 30-win seasons for the first time in program history and look to defend their 2017-18 AAC regular-season and tournament championships.

“We are extremely excited to get back on campus and play in the brand new Fifth Third Arena,” UC head coach Mick Cronin said. “We worked very hard to put together an excellent non-league schedule for our fans. I believe The American will be very tough this year with multiple NCAA tournament teams. Combined with our non-league opponents, we have a great schedule and a lot of work to do to prepare.”

// SCHEDULE HIGHLIGHTS

Cincinnati returns to Fifth Third Arena in 2018-19 after a 20-month, $87-million renovation by welcoming Ohio State in the season opener on Wednesday, Nov. 7 (6 p.m. ET on ESPN2). It marks the first time the in-state rivals have played on UC’s campus since 1920.

The Bearcats welcome city-rival Xavier back to Clifton for the 86th annual Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout on Saturday, Dec. 8 (2 p.m. on ESPN2).

UCLA visits Cincinnati for the first time in series history on Wednesday, Dec. 19 (9 p.m. ET on ESPN2).

Cincinnati welcomes the NKU Norse to Fifth Third Arena on Tuesday, Dec. 4 (7 p.m., TV is TBA).

The Bearcats will spend the Thanksgiving Holiday at the Emerald Coast Classic in Niceville, Florida. The tournament includes a pair of on-campus games in Cincinnati against North Carolina Central on Friday, Nov. 13 (7 p.m., TV is TBA) and Western Michigan on Monday, Nov. 19 (7 p.m., TV is TBA). The remaining two contests will take place on the campus of Northwest Florida State College when UC faces George Mason on Friday, Nov. 23 (7 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network) before battling either Baylor or Ole Miss on Saturday, Nov. 24. If the Bearcats advance to the championship game, the contest will tip at 7 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network. The consolation game starts at 4 p.m. ET. Advanced ticket sales to the games in Niceville, Fla., begin Sept. 24.

UC plays a pair of December nonconference road games. The Bearcats visit UNLV on Saturday, Dec. 1 (6 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network) and travel to Mississippi State on Saturday, Dec. 15 (8:30 p.m. ET on SEC Network).

Other nonconference home dates include games against Milwaukee on Friday, Nov. 16 (7 p.m., TV is TBA), Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday, Nov. 27 (7 p.m. ET/TV is TBA) and South Carolina State on Saturday, Dec. 22 (2 p.m., TV is TBA).

The Bearcats start defense of their 2017-18 AAC crown when they play host to Tulane on Wednesday, Jan. 2. (6:30 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network) in the league opener.

UC returns to the site where it secured the 2017-18 regular-season crown, when it plays at Wichita State, Saturday, Jan. 19 (2 p.m. ET on CBS). The Bearcats welcome the Shockers to Fifth Third Arena on Sunday, Feb. 17 (1 p.m. on ESPN).

The Bearcats match up against their foe from the 2018 AAC Championship title game twice as well, visiting Houston and its new Fertitta Center on Sunday, Feb. 10 (4 p.m. ET on ESPN). UC welcomes Houston in the regular-season finale, Sunday, March 10 (noon ET on CBS).

UC will face the trio of new coaches in the league for five games in 2018-19. The Bearcats face Joe Dooley’s ECU Pirates on Saturday, Jan. 5 (1 p.m. on CBS Sports Network). UC battles Dan Hurley and UConn in Cincinnati on Saturday, Jan. 12 (8 p.m. ET on ESPN2 of ESPNU) and in Hartford, Conn., on Sunday, Feb. 24 (2 p.m. on ESPN). The Bearcats take on head coach Penny Hardaway and Memphis at FedExFourm on Thursday, Feb. 7 (7 p.m. ET on ESPN or ESPN2) and at Fifth Third Arena on Saturday, March 2 (8 p.m. on ESPN or ESPN2).

Cincinnati faces SMU twice: Saturday, Feb. 2 (8 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network) at Fifth Third Arena and Wednesday, Feb. 27 (9 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network) at Moody Coliseum in Dallas. Cincinnati (2014 and 2018) and SMU (2015 and 2017) are the only schools to win multiple regular-season league championships in The American.

The Bearcats take on UCF twice this season as well: Thursday, Feb. 21 (7 p.m. on ESPN or ESPN2) in Cincinnati and Thursday, March 7 (7 p.m. on ESPN or ESPN2) in Orlando. Fla.

Other conference home games include USF on Tuesday, Jan. 15 (7 p.m. on ESPNews) and Tulsa on Thursday, Jan. 24 (7 p.m. on ESPN or ESPN2). Other league road contests include Tulsa on Thursday, Jan. 10 (7 p.m. ET on ESPN or ESPN2) in Tulsa, Okla., and Temple on Sunday, Jan. 27 (noon on CBS Sports Network) in Philadelphia.

Fans can get their first glimpse of Fifth Third Arena during UC’s lone exhibition game against Tusculum on Thursday, Nov. 1 (7 p.m., TV is TBA).

// SECURE YOUR SEASON TICKETS TODAY

Fans can purchase their 2018-19 men’s basketball tickets by logging on to GoBearcats.com/tickets, by calling 1-877-CATS-TIX or by visiting the Athletics Ticket Office on the fourth floor of the Richard E. Lindner Center, week days from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.

An estimated 97 percent of available season tickets for the arena’s 12,012 seats have been sold for the coming 2018-19 campaign leaving less than 400 remaining tickets and only two of 12 price points.

With such high demand, purchasing season tickets will be the only way fans can guarantee their seats for Bearcats’ home games against both Ohio State and Xavier (Saturday, Dec. 8). Those opponents will not be included together in future potential mini plans. Possible mini plans and single-game ticket sales will be announced at a later date.

// FOLLOW THE RENOVATION PROJECT

Additional arena project information is available at OurHouse2018.com.

The privately funded $87 million renovation of Fifth Third Arena began in March 2017.

// FOLLOW THE TEAM

Stay connected with Cincinnati men’s basketball on Facebook (GoBearcatsMBB), Twitter (@GoBearcatsMBB) and Instagram (GoBearcatsMBB).