The Big East has released the 2011-2012 home and away schedules for its 16 member teams, including the Cincinnati Bearcats.
This years slate of games, as with every year's, will evoke excitement in Bearcats fans at the number of big named, high-caliber teams that will be playing on the Cats' home turf at the Shoemaker Center. Most fans will also experience a feeling of nauseousness at the number of high-caliber teams UC will be playing on the road.
The Bearcats will play the following Big East home games: DePaul, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Villanova.
The Bearcats' road games will be at the following: Connecticut (defending National Champions), Georgetown, Marquette, Pittsburgh (defending Big East Champions), Rutgers, St. John's, South Florida, Villanova, West Virginia.
Cincinnati will play home and away games against Marquette, St. John's and Villanova, all NCAA Tournament teams from 2011. With the Big East schedule alone, the Bearcats will play 13 games against Tournament teams from last year.
The Big East is coming off of a record setting 2010-2011 season that saw 11 of its 16 teams land spots in the NCAA Tournament. As a result, the 2011-2012 docket of games creates 131 games – or 91 percent of the conference ledger – that will feature at least one NCAA tournament team from last year. Sixty-seven games – 47 percent of the schedule – will be between two of the conference’ s NCAA tournament teams.
Despite the imposing schedule, the Bearcats head into this season as the only team in the country to improve its win total over the last 5 consecutive years. The 'Cats finished last season with a 26-9 record (11-7 Big East), losing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to eventual National Champion Connecticut.
Cincinnati can rightfully expect to increase its win total yet again in 2011-2012, however. The Bearcats return its top four scorers from 2010-11 in Yancy Gates, Dion Dixon, Sean Kilpatrick and Cashmere Wright. To those four, they will add a highly touted recruiting class, including Jeremiah Davis (6'3" Shooting Guard), Octavius Ellis (6'8" Power Forward), Ge'Lawn Guyn (6'2" Point Guard), Cheikh Mbodj (6'9" Power Forward), Jermaine Sanders (6'4" Forward), Shaquille Thomas (6'6" Forward), as well as redshirt freshman Kelvin Gaines (6'10" Center) to the squad.