The first season of the University of Cincinnati’s men’s basketball team in the Big 12 is upon us. With the iconic XII symbol gracing the court, head coach Wes Miller aims to build on the success of last year’s NIT quarterfinals run. A berth in the NCAA tournament is on every Bearcats mind.
Despite the accomplishments of the previous season, the team underwent a significant transformation from players transferring and graduating. Notable departures included point guard David DeJulius and Landers Nolley II. Jeremiah Davenport left for Arkansas, while Jarrett Hensley transferred to Southern Illinois. When Mika-Adams Woods departed for Saint Bonaventure, Miller turned to the transfer portal to restock the team.
Photo Cred: SI
Head coach Miller expressed his outlook with the team’s approach, “I have been pretty pleased with their approach. There’s some ability out there, there’s some depth out there, and there’s some things to work with.”
Miller recruited Jamille Reynolds from Temple, Aziz Bandaogo from Utah Valley, Simas Lukosius from Butler, and CJ Frederick from Kentucky to fill out the roster. In addition to these transfers, Miller secured two promising four-star high school recruits, shooting guard Rayvon Griffith and point guard Jizzle James.
Now competing in the Big 12 conference, Miller plans to rely on experienced veterans John Newman III, Viktor Lakhin, and Ody Oguama to mentor the youthful roster and led the team to March. Miller emphasized the importance of the newcomers, saying, “The one thing we do have is a solid nucleus of returners, which makes it feel like it’s not just a brand-new team.”
Photo Cred: College Hoops Today
The highly anticipated game is the Crosstown Shootout on Saturday, December 9th, at the Cintas Center. UC seeks to break Xavier’s streak of four consecutive wins in the rivalry, with the all-time series lead in the Bearcats’ favor at 49-32.
For the first time in over a decade, Cincinnati will compete against Dayton in the Hoops Classic on December 16th.
Conference play opens on January 6th. The team’s league opener will be on the road against BYU in Provo, followed by their Big 12 home opener three days later against Texas on January 9th at 7 P.M. ET.
The Bearcats will play 18 conference games, with nine at the Fifth Third Arena. The regular season will conclude with a matchup against West Virginia before the team heads to Kansas City for the Big 12 Championship Tournament.