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Cincinnati will host Weber State on Wednesday in NIT action

Courtesy of Cincinnati Athletics

Deonta Vaughn leads the 'Cats (uc)

Head coach Mick Cronin (uc)

The University of Cincinnati Bearcats men’s basketball team has earned its 10th trip to the National Invitational Tournament ,  as they received an at-large bid from the tournament selection committee. The Bearcats will face Weber State (20-10) from the Big Sky Conference at Fifth Third Arena on Wednesday March 18 at 7 p.m.

The Bearcats finished the regular season with a record of 18-15, its second consecutive winning season under head coach Mick Cronin. Cincinnati are led by the three-some of 2010 Big East Conference Rookie of the year Lance Stephenson (12.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg), senior guard Deonta Vaughn (11.1 ppg, 3.4 apg), and sophomore forward Yancy Gates (10.7 ppg, 6.0 rpg).

This is the Bearcats 10th appearance in the NIT and it owns a record of 7-9. The tournament, which began in 1938, is the oldest in college basketball and was the first national postseason collegiate tournament to be played in this country, coming into existence one year before the NCAA Tournament.

Cincinnati’s opponent, Weber State, owns an overall record of 20-10 and claimed the Big Sky Conference regular season championship before falling in the championship game of its league tournament, 66-65, to Montana. Weber State is coached by Randy Rahe who is in his fourth year with the Wildcats. Weber State is making its second straight and third appearance overall in the NIT. The Wildcats rank second in the Big Sky Conference in scoring, averaging 76.6 ppg, and has the league’s MVP and leading scorer, Damian Lillard, who averages 19.7 ppg. Franklin Session leads the team in rebounding with 6.0 rpg.

Illinois (19-14) is a #1 seed in the 2010 NIT, along with Arizona State (22-10), Mississippi State (23-11) and Virginia Tech (23-8).

Cincinnati is in the Illinois Regional bracket which also includes  #8 Stony Brook (22-9) which will be hosting Illinois, #6 Illinois State (22-10) at #3 Dayton (20-12), and Tulsa (23-11) at #4 Kent State (23-9). The top-seeded team plays host in the first three rounds. Should the Bearcats advance, they will welcome the winner of the Illinois State-Dayton game into Fifth Third Arena.

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