Wednesday, January 27, 1999

Huggins era: 238 wins, seven NCAA Tournaments - and counting

1989-90: (20-14, NIT)
        Usual starting 5: F Lou Banks, F Levertis Robinson, C Keith Starks, G Steve Sanders, G Andre Tate.
        Top newcomers: G Tarrance Gibson, G Michael Joiner.
        Key dates in season
        • March 29, 1989: Huggins hired as UC coach after successful tenure at Akron.
        • Nov. 25: UC upsets No. 20 Minnesota 66-64 in the debut of both Huggins and Shoemaker Center.
        • Jan. 5, 1990: UC wins 71-66 at No. 8 Louisville.
        • March 20: Playing in the NIT, its first postseason action since the 1985 NIT, Bearcats lose 61-59 at DePaul in second round. Bearcats finish 20-14, their first 20-win season in 13 years.
1990-91: (18-12, NIT)
       Usual starting five: F Herb Jones, F Levertis Robinson, C Keith Starks, G Lou Banks, G A.D. Jackson.
        Top newcomers: F Herb Jones, G A.D. Jackson, C Jeff Scott, F Curtis Bostic.
        Key dates in season:
        • Jan. 26, 1991: UC upsets No. 15 Southern Mississippi 76-69 on the road, lifting its record to 11-6 and spurring NCAA Tournament talk.
        • Feb. 9: UC (15-6) beats South Carolina 68-58 for its seventh straight win, longest winning streak in 14 years.
        • March 18: UC loses in the second round of the NIT at Oklahoma 89-81.
1991-92: (29-5, NCAA Final Four)
       Usual starting five: F Herb Jones, F Terry Nelson, C Corie Blount, G Anthony Buford, G Nick Van Exel.
        Top newcomers: G Nick Van Exel, G Anthony Buford, C Corie Blount, F Terry Nelson, F Erik Martin, F John Jacobs, G LaZelle Durden.
        Key dates in season:
        • Dec. 16, 1991: UC beats Missouri-Kansas City 65-61 to go 7-0, its best start in 15 years.
        • Jan. 29, 1992: UC routs Xavier 93-75, its biggest win over the Muskies in 27 years.
        • Feb. 10: The Bearcats (17-3) enter the Associated Press Top 25 poll at No. 24, their first AP ranking since January 1978.
        • March 15: UC earns its first NCAA Tournament bid in 15 years, winning the Great Midwest Conference tourney.
        • March 29: UC reaches its first Final Four since 1963, beating Memphis 88-57 in an Elite Eight game.
        • April 4: UC loses to Michi gan and its Fab Five freshmen 76-72 in the NCAA Final Four semifinals.
1992-93: (27-5, NCAA Elite Eight)
       Usual starting five: F Erik Martin, F Terry Nelson, C Corie Blount, G Nick Van Exel, G A.D. Jackson.
        Top newcomers: F Keith Gregor, F Mike Harris
        Key dates in season:
        • Jan. 18: UC is No. 9 in the AP poll, its first Top 10 ranking in 16 seasons.
        • Jan. 30: UC ranked No. 4 in both major polls; eventually runs win streak to 14 games.
        • March 13: UC beats Memphis State in the Great Midwest tourney final to reach NCAAs again.
        • March 28: In the Elite Eight, UC loses in overtime 75-68 to eventual NCAA champion North Carolina.
1993-94: (22-10, NCAA first round)
       Usual starting five: F Curtis Bostic, F Dontonio Wingfield, C Mike Harris, G LaZelle Durden, G Damon Flint.
        Top newcomers: F Dontonio Wingfield, G Darnell Burton, G Damon Flint, G Marko Wright, F Jackson Julson.
        Key dates in season:
        • Nov. 17, 1993: Wingfield has the biggest freshman debut in UC history, with 30 points and 12 rebounds in an opening 90-72 win over Butler.
• Dec. 31, 1993: Durden scores 39 points vs. Austin Peay, the top scoring total by a Bearcat in 22 years.
        • Jan. 27, 1994: UC beats No. 8 Massachusetts 78-76 at Shoemaker.
        • March 12: UC wins GMC tournament for the third straight year, but the Bearcats are only a No. 8 NCAA seed and get shipped to Ogden, Utah for the NCAAs.
        • March 17: UC loses its first-round NCAA game to Wisconsin 80-72. Wingfield turns pro after the season.
1994-95:(22-12, NCAA second round)
       Usual starting five: F Curtis Bostic, F Danny Fortson, C Art Long, G LaZelle Durden, G Keith LeGree.
        Top newcomers: F Danny Fortson, G Keith LeGree, C Art Long, F Bobby Brannen.
        Key dates in season:
        • Nov. 26, 1994: Danny Fortson scores 25 points in his college debut, a 108-73 win over Austin Peay.
        • Dec. 17: Durden scores 45 points — most by a Bearcat in 34 years — in an 81-80 win at Wyoming.
        • March 11, 1995: Durden's three-pointer with 1.2 seconds left lifts Cincinnati past St. Louis 67-65 for the Great Midwest Conference tournament championship.
        • March 18: UC loses 96-91 to Connecticut in the second round of the NCAA Tourna ment at Salt Lake City.
• June 27: The UC board of trustees approves a new 10-year contract for Huggins, reportedly worth more than $700,000 per year.
1995-96: (28-5, NCAA Elite Eight)
       Usual starting five: F Keith Gregor, F Danny Fortson, C Art Long, G Keith LeGree, G Damon Flint.
        Top newcomers: F Rod Monroe, G Melvin Levett, F Ryan Fletcher.
        Key dates in season:

        • Jan. 17, 1996: Fortson gets 40 points and 17 rebounds as UC beats Xavier 99-90. It lifts UC to 12-0, the school's best start in 19 years.
        • Jan. 21: UC's win streak ends with a 70-68 upset loss at UAB.
        • March 9: UC wins the inaugural Conference USA tournament, its fifth straight league tourney title, and gains a No. 2 NCAA seed.
        • March 24: The Bearcats lose 73-63 to Mississippi State in their third Elite Eight appearance in eight years.
1996-97: (26-8, NCAA second round)
       Usual starting five: F Danny Fortson, F Ruben Patterson, C Jackson Julson, G Damon Flint, G Charles Williams.
        Top newcomers: F Ruben Patterson, G Charles Williams, G D'Juan Baker, F Kenyon Martin.
        Key dates in season:

        • Nov. 26: The Bearcats, ranked No.1 by most major polls, fall victim to the Sports Illustrated cover jinx (Fortson was out front that week) in a shocking 71-69 loss to rival Xavier.
        • Jan. 10, 1997: UC (11-2) runs its winning streak to nine games by thrashing Miami 91-61.
        • Feb. 27: Point guard Charles Williams is withheld from the lineup pending an investigation of his eligibility. It begins a trail of events that lead to UC being placed on NCAA probation in November 1998.
        • March 7: Marquette ends UC's run of league tournament titles by beating UC 91-79 in the C-USA semifinals.
        • March 15: UC loses 67-66 to Iowa State in the NCAA second round. Fortson turns pro after the season.
1997-98: (27-6, NCAA second round)
       Usual starting five: F Ruben Patterson, F Bobby Brannen, C Kenyon Martin, G D'Juan Baker, G Michael Horton.
        Top newcomers: G Michael Horton, G John Carson, G Shawn Myrick.
        Key dates in season:
        • Nov. 19, 1997: Brannen has career highs of 24 points and 15 rebounds in an opening 76-66 win over Detroit in the preseason NIT.
        • Dec. 20: Levett scores 42 points in a 106-53 rout of Eastern Kentucky.
        • Jan. 18, 1998: Star forward Patterson returns after a 14-game NCAA suspension for receiving extra benefits.
        • Feb. 19: Patterson, after learning of his mother's death that morning, scores a career-high 32 points as UC beats UAB 93-76.
        • March 7: UC wins the C-USA tournament and gets a No. 2 seed in the West regional of the NCAA Tournament.
        • March 14: UC is upset by West Virginia on a three-point shot in the final second, ending the season with a second-round 75-74 NCAA loss.
1998-99: (18-1, ranked No. 5 by AP)
       Usual starting five: F Pete Mickeal, F Jermaine Tate, C Kenyon Martin, G Melvin Levett, G Steve Logan.
        Top newcomers:
F Pete Mickeal, G Steve Logan, F Jermaine Tate, G Alvin Mitchell, F Eugene Land, F Aaron McGhee, C Donald Little.
        Key dates in season:
        • Nov. 5, 1998: UC receives two years of NCAA probation but no postseason ban. The penalties are for improper academic assistance to former guard Charles Williams, extra benefits to Williams, former forward Ruben Patterson and former guard John Carson; and failing to exercise proper institutional control.
        • Nov. 28: The Bearcats upset No. 1 Duke 77-75 in the Great Alaska Shootout on a last-second dunk by Levett. The victory lifts UC from No. 15 to No. 6 in the weekly AP poll.
        • Jan. 14, 1999: Bearcats are upset 62-60 at North Carolina Charlotte, their first loss after a 15-0 start.
        • Jan. 21: Bearcats rout No. 24 Louisville 81-55 at Freedom Hall, Denny Crum's his worst home loss in 28 seasons at U of L.
        — Tom Groeschen

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