UC gears up for C-USA


BY MIKE DeCOURCY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — If Conference USA competition is as kind to the Cincinnati Bearcats as non-league games have been, it will be as good to them as C-USA competition always is.

The Bearcats, who have owned the conference since its formation in 1995, will play their initial C-USA game Tuesday against Houston, which is coached by former NBA All-Star Clyde Drexler. It is the first time in 15 years, since Dec. 29, 1983, the Bearcats have played a league opponent in December.

Whereas Houston has finished near the bottom of the league in its two seasons in Conference USA and is expected to wind up there again, the Bearcats have claimed each of the first three regular-season titles and suggested they again would be the team to beat by winning their first nine non-conference games. UC's record in C-USA is 37-7, an .841 winning percentage.

The question for now seems not to be which team can challenge UC, but which one or two might be in position to inflict a loss on the Bearcats.

Overall, C-USA is 65-34 against out-of-conference competition. No other league member but South Florida (6-1, Feb. 26) and Louisville (3-2, Jan. 21 and Feb. 21) has fewer than three defeats.

UC 86, UNLV 73
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