Cincinnati Vs. San Francisco: Breaking Down the 2024 NIT Matchup


The University of Cincinnati Bearcats will either win or hang up their sneakers from here on out. Despite having a higher NCAA NET rating than many other teams in the field, UC will now host a first-round NIT game for the second straight season under Wes Miller.

The Bearcats will face the San Francisco Dons of the West Coast Conference, which won 23 games this season. The Bearcats and Dons have only met once previously, with UC winning 89-88 at Cincinnati Gardens on February 28, 1976. That team included 7-foot-1 Bill Cartwright, who went on to be a first-round choice by the New York Knicks.

Gale Catlett’s Bearcats finished 25-6 that season, losing in the NCAA playoffs to No. 7 Notre Dame.

Both Schools Feature Basketball Hall of Famers

As UC is known for Oscar Robertson and Jack Twyman, San Francisco had Bill Russell and K.C. Jones, both of whom went on to win several NBA championships with the Boston Celtics.

Uc Could Host Additional Nit Games

Last season, UC made its first postseason appearance since 2019, defeating Virginia Tech at Fifth Third Arena, then defeating Hofstra on the road before losing in the NIT quarterfinals to Utah Valley University. They were one win away from the semifinals in Las Vegas.

UC was unable to use Fifth Third Arena for more than one game owing to scheduled floor resurfacing; otherwise, they may have had three home games to advance to the NIT “Final Four”. This year, there are no such hurdles; if they can rebound and continue winning,

Ticket Information

Tickets will go on sale Monday at noon at Courtside, Arena Club, Champions Club, loges, and suite tickets cost $35 each. Lower-bowl reserved seatbacks cost $25, while lower-bowl general admission (student section area) costs $20 per person and $10 for students.

If UC wins, they will face the winner of Bradley vs. Loyola-Chicago on Saturday or Sunday.

If Cincinnati advances, the semifinals and finals in 2024 will be staged at Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, making them more accessible to fans. Before last year’s run in Las Vegas, the NIT semifinals were always hosted at New York’s Madison Square Garden, except in 2021, when they were moved to North Texas, north of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, due to COVID-19.

Three criteria for UC to win its NIT opener

1. Do Not Pout

Every player would love to play in the NCAA tournament, but numerous talented teams are in the same situation and have a chance to make the most of it. Seton Hall, Providence, Wake Forest, Ohio State, Indiana State, Villanova, Iowa, and Utah are just a handful of the teams that were overlooked.

The same goes for Indiana, St. John’s, Pitt, Memphis, and Ole Miss, all of which chose not to compete in the tournament. Few teams or players improve by not playing their games.

On the ESPN2 selection program, former Marquette, Indiana, and Georgia coach Tom Crean picked UC to win their bracket, while pundit Dalen Cuff believes the Bearcats would cut down the nets at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

2. Man up, Mogbo

San Francisco big forward Jonathan Mogbo has scored in double figures in 27 of the team’s 33 games and racked up double-digit rebounds in 18 of them. UC averages 39.5 rebounds per game against San Francisco’s 33.9, although they were outrebounded by 12 in the Big 12 quarterfinals against Baylor.

3. Limit Dons to Fewer Than 70 Points

San Francisco won only one game without scoring 70 points or more, defeating Seattle 62-59 in December. They won every time they reached 80 or more.

Cincinnati vs. San Francisco

Tip: 9 p.m. (Fifth Third Arena)

TV/Radio: ESPN+/700WLW

Series: UC leads 1-0

Scouting Report For San Francisco Dons

Record: 23-10 (11-5 West Coast Conference)

Coach: Chris Gerlufsen (second year 43-24)

Offense: 77.9 ppg

Defense: 66.3 ppg

Projected Lineup

(Position, Height, Stats)

Jonathan Mogbo (F, 6’8″, 14.4 ppg)

Malik Thomas (G, 6’5″, 11.8 ppg)

Marcus Williams (G, 6’2″, 14. 1ppg)

Ndewdo Newbury (F, 6’7″, 9.3 ppg)

Mike Sharavjamts (G, 6’8″, 7.8 ppg)

Cincinnati Bearcats Scouting Report

Record: 20-14 (7-11 Big 12, excluding Big 12 tournament games)

Coach: Wes Miller (third season, 61-42)

Offense: 74.6 ppg

Defense: 67.9 ppg

Projected Lineup

(Position, Height, Stats)

Dan Skillings Jr., (F, 6’6″, 12.6 ppg)

Day Day Thomas (G,6′, 10.5 ppg)

John Newman III (F, 6’5″, 9.6 ppg)

Simas Lukošius (G, 6’8″, 10.7 ppg)

Aziz Bandaogo (C, 7′, 6.7 ppg)

Players to Watch:

Jonathan Mogbo, a Missouri State transfer, has 225 pounds on his 6-foot-8 frame. He leads the squad in scoring and rebounding, with 14.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. His greatest game came in early January versus Pacific when he tallied 30 points and 18 rebounds.

Mike Sharavjamts is originally from Mongolia, although he attended high school in Xenia and spent a season with the Dayton Flyers. Sharavjamts, like Simas Lukošius, gives the Dons a tall look at guard at 6-foot-8, although weighing only 190 pounds.

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