UC Bearcats visit venerable Allen Fieldhouse and #7 Kansas Jayhawks tonight at 9 pm, ESPN; sixth straight Top 25 team ‘Cats are facing

By Stretch Jenkinson

Kansas Jayhawks home court, Allen Fieldhouse interior in 2009. By Ryan Schreiber, CC BY 2.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

1 22. 2024




CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati men’s basketball team will take center stage in the Sunflower State for ESPN’s Big Monday against the Kansas Jayhawks. Tip-off is at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.


  • Cincinnati flipped a nine-point deficit with 9:23 to play into a chance to tie with 15 seconds left, but the Sooners were able to escape in what was a defensive shooting battle for both teams. The Kansas game will cap a six-game, ranked-opponent streak, Cincinnati’s longest since 1994.
  • Day Day Thomas, fresh off 21 points against TCU and 15 at Baylor, had six assists for the second-straight game. Since seven turnovers in the league opener at BYU, he has 17 assists to six turnvoers as well. His 59 assists and 28 steals both lead the Bearcats.
  • Jizzle James has also committed only 11 in his last 16 games, including none in each of the last three. Cincinnati is the only team in the Big 12 without a point guard that has prior four-year college experience.
  • Dan Skillings Jr. will always be the team’s X-factor. He had season-lows in minutes and shot attempts on Saturday, but he poured in 24 at Baylor and 13 against TCU, including the game-winning layup with 22 seconds left. UC is 13-1 in the sophomore’s career (9-1 this year) when he scores in double-figures. His first-career start was at No. 12 BYU, and he had no fear in scoring the first points and finishing with 10.
  • The Bearcats set quite a defensive tone early and often with three blocks in the first three minutes versus Oklahoma. Viktor Lakhin’s five were a season-high (career-high is 8 last year), and Bandaogo’s two gives him 15 in 10 games. His 106 last year at Utah Valley ranked third nationally.
  • While UC struggled to find its groove from beyond the arc (7-for-26, and the team is 6-0 this year when making 8 or more), defensive ace John Newman III is 7-for-14 since Christmas. He had missed eight in a row until then, but his impact as the team’s heart and soul transcends the box score no matter the line.
  • Cincinnati did take a step in the right direction with eight turnovers, a Big 12 season-low after averaging 14.8 over its first four. The dramatic TCU win also included a 52.5 FG% and 50 paint points, the latter a TCU opponent season-high.
  • Defensively, Cincinnati still holds the distinction of holding potent BYU and Baylor to their respective season-lows (and both as the road team). UC boasts the No. 20 defensive efficiency in KenPom.
  • UC has lost the rebounding battle only twice: its last two games. The Bearcats are still ranked 12th nationally with a 10.0 margin, a seismic shift from ranking 101 last year and 211 in 2021-22.


  • Cincinnati great Oscar Robertson’s 56 points in a 1958 NCAA Tournament win over Arkansas remains the Allen Fieldhouse singe-game scoring record.
  • UC leads 4-3 all-time. The only meeting since the 1960s came at the United Center in 1996. Cincinnati, coming off an Elite Eight appearance, fell just short to arguably the greatest team to not win a title.
  • Wes Miller took his UNC Greensboro team to Lawrence early in the 2019-20 season, falling 74-62 to the No. 3 Jayhawks.