CINCINNATI – The University of Cincinnati men’s basketball team travels north of the border for a five-day, three-game tour of portions of Canada, Aug. 4-8.
The Bearcats start in Montreal on Sunday, Aug. 5 with a neutral-site contest against the Ottawa Gee Gees at College Jean de Brebéu. Tip time is set for 2 p.m. ET. A video stream of the game will be available. Details to come.
A trip to Ottawa highlights the schedule on Monday, Aug. 6 with Cincinnati taking on Carleton at their home venue, the Ravens Nest, at 7 p.m. ET. This is no video stream available for this game.
The competition portion of the trip concludes Tuesday, Aug. 7 when the Bearcats visit McGill’s Love Competition Hall for a 7 p.m. ET contest. A video stream of the game will be available. Details to come.
This week’s trip to Canada marks Cincinnati’s second during the Mick Cronin coaching era (since 2006-07). The Bearcats played three games north of the border in August 2010 against McGill, Carleton and Ottawa.
// QUOTING UC HEAD COACH MICK CRONIN
“We haven’t scouted our opponents. That’s not what this is about. It’s almost like spring football. You get a chance to get extra practices and play some games. It’s great for us this year because we’ve got a lot of guys in new roles, obviously with the departure of the three key players from, not just last year, but the last couple of years. Nysier (Brooks) and Tre (Scott) in particular, but even Eliel (Nsosome) and Jarron (Cumberland), everybody is moving one seat down. Guys that maybe weren’t asked to score as much (last season) are going to be asked to score more. Guys that didn’t have to play 10 minutes (last season) now have to play 26.”
// SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
OTTAWA GEE-GEES: The Gee-Gees have been consistently ranked in the Top 10 nationally over the last decade with multiple national championship tournament appearances, advancing to the finals in 2014 and 2015.
Ottawa posted a 17-7 mark in 2017-18, advancing to the OHA quarterfinals behind leading scorer and rebounder forward Jean Emmanuel Pierre-Charles (13.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, .592 field goal percentage), who was named an OHA second team all-star in his final season.
The Gee-Gees are 5-3 against Division I competition in the past two seasons with wins over Canisius, New Hampshire, Norfolk State, Boise State, and Liberty.
Ottawa’s contest with Cincinnati is the first of four summer exhibition games against NCAA Division I opponents. The Gee-Gees also will face Ole Miss (Aug. 9), Vermont (Aug. 10) and South Dakota State (Aug. 11).
Cincinnati defeated Ottawa 79-57 on Sept. 5 in Ottawa during the 2010 preseason trip to Canada. UC also defeated Ottawa 81-59 in preseason exhibition game at Fifth Third Arena on Nov. 4, 2006.
CARLETON RAVENS: Winners of 13 of the last 16 Canadian university championships, Carleton won 24 consecutive games to start the 2017-18 season before suffering its first loss. The Ravens earned a bronze medal finish by defeating McGill in the national tournament, finishing with a 25-1 record.
Yasiin Joseph (14.7 points, 3.9 assists, 47 three-pointers) and Eddie Ekiyor (14.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, .590 field goal percentage) led the Ravens last season.
Carleton won preseason games over Alabama and Vanderbilt (twice) in August 2017. The Ravens’ August 2018 schedule lists visits from Ole Miss (Aug. 8), South Dakota State (Aug. 10 and Aug. 12) and Maryland Eastern Shore (Aug. 14).
Cincinnati is 4-0 against Carleton during the Cronin era. The Bearcats posted an 87-70 victory over the Ravens on Sept. 4, 2010, during UC’s last trip to Canada. UC also has won all three preseason exhibition games against Carleton in Cincinnati: 64-54 on Nov. 1, 2008; 89-57 on Nov. 1, 2010; and 77-63 on Oct. 26, 2013.
McGILL REDMEN: The Redmen have appeared in each of the last five national tournaments having won six consecutive conference regular-season championships and five consecutive league tournament titles. McGill has made five appearances at the U Sports Final Eight Tournament under head coach David DeAverio.
Last season, McGill captured a third consecutive Quebec conference title – their fifth in six years – posting a 26-12 record, two wins shy of a single-season school best. One starter, point guard Alex Paquin (12.8 points, 2.7 assists) returns in 2018-19.
The Redmen were 4-6 against NCAA Div. 1 opponents last season. McGill’s August 2018 schedule also includes Ole Miss (Aug. 5), South Dakota State (Aug. 9), Vermont (Aug. 12) and Duke (Aug. 19).
Cincinnati owns a 2-0 mark against McGill, registering an 89-58 win on Sept. 3, 2010, in Ottawa and a 75-41 preseason exhibition win on Nov. 1, 2011, at Fifth Third Arena.
// ABOUT THE BEARCATS
Cincinnati hopes to retool in 2018-19 after the graduation of Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American and 2018 American Athletic Conference Player of the Year Gary Clark and all-league performer Kyle Washington. In addition, AAC first team honoree junior Jacob Evans III declared for the NBA draft and was selected as the 28th overall pick by the champion Golden State Warriors.
The new-look Bearcats will return starting guards Jarron Cumberland (11.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and a team-high 60 three-pointers) and Justin Jenifer (4.8 points, 3.79-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio) along with UC’s top performing reserve guard Cane Broome (7.9 points, 2.8 assists). Along with eight other returning lettermen and a trio of newcomers, the new squad will gain valuable time developing together during its experience in Canada.
// 2017-18 BEARCATS HIGHLIGHTS
– Finished 31-5, tying the school record for wins in a season (31-4 in 2001-02).
– Won 30 or more games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history.
– Cincinnati’s 61 wins over the past two seasons ranks fourth most in the nation.
– Won the American Athletic Conference
– regular-season championship, marking Cincinnati’s first outright conference title since 2002.
– Won the AAC Tournament championship, marking Cincinnati’s first conference tournament title since 2004.
– Ranked in Associated Press Top 25 poll every week, climbing as high as No. 5 – highest of the Mick Cronin coaching era.
– Ranked sixth in the final AP poll of the season – highest end-of-season ranking of Cronin era.
– Made eighth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance – one of six schools along with Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Michigan State and North Carolina.
– Won 16 consecutive games – the nation’s longest win streak at the time it ended.
– Extended its home win streak to 39 games before suffering a loss – the program’s second-longest win streak since 1990.
– Recorded a 15-1 mark at BB&T Arena in 2017-18, the home venue for UC while Fifth Third Arena underwent an $87 million renovation.
– Climbed to 14th in the nation with 1,788 all-time wins.
– Won the inaugural Cayman Islands Classic.
– Mick Cronin was named the Sporting News Coach of the Year.
– The Bearcats held opponents to 37.4 percent shooting from the field, the lowest percentage in the Mick Cronin coaching era and the lowest at Cincinnati since the 1961-62 campaign (.369).
– The Bearcats limited opponents to 57.5 points per game, the second fewest of the Cronin era (55.8 in 2014-15) and the second fewest since 1962-63 (52.9).
– Led the nation in scoring margin (+16.7).