Cincinnati Bearcats Opens Big 12 Tournament Championship with WVU Today at 3 PM

By Bert Leeson

3 12 2024




CINCINNATI — The Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship is here for the Cincinnati men’s basketball team, as it embarks today for Kansas City to play West Virginia at 3 p.m. ET on Tuesday.


  • Cincinnati posted the largest margin of victory for a Big 12 game this year and was within one point of the season-high in its Senior Day victory. It was also Wes Miller‘s 100th game as the Bearcats’ head coach.
  • Cincinnati shot a season-high 59 percent, including 70 in the second half, with a 48-14 advantage in the paint. They also matched a season-high 23 assists.
  • Cincinnati won the boards by 10 or more in six Big 12 contests. Its 8.3 margin per game ranks 13th nationally, up from 101 last year and 211 in 2021-22, Miller’s first at the helm.
  • That 2021-22 season saw Cincinnati play in the T-Mobile Center for the Hall of Fame Classic. Its first game was a 71-51 win over No. 14 Illinois in which it trailed 23-8 to start. Tuesday’s contest is the first time UC has played the same team in back-to-back games since Saint Louis in 2000.
  • Day Day Thomas became the fifth Bearcat since 2010 with 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals. His 56 swipes are the most at the school since Cashmere Wright’s record 74 in 2011-12. Thomas also has a 21:4 assist-turnover ratio the last four games, which includes 6:1 against No. 1 Houston and 7:0 versus WVU.
  • John Newman III, an All-Defensive Big 12 honoree, is averaging 15.7 ppg over the last three games on 55.3 percent shooting, his highest scoring total in any three-game stretch for his career.
  • Aziz Bandaogo and Dan Skillings Jr. earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention honors as well.
  • Speaking of defense, since the Feb. 24 loss at TCU (UC’s only by double-digits in Big 12 play), the Bearcats have allowed 38.9 percent shooting in the last four games to go with 15.0 turnovers. Their three-straight games of 10 or more steals marks the first-such feat since 2017.
  • The Saturday win marked eighth different starting lineups to emerge victorious for Cincinnati. Between injuries, illness and transfer waivers, 39 games have been missed out of the main rotation.
  • Miller’s head coaching career includes two conference tournament titles (2018, 2021) and two runner-up finishes, all at UNC Greensboro (last team left out of NCAAs in 2019). His first and second UC teams reached the AAC quarters and semis, ending against Houston each time.
  • Twelve of UC’s 18 Big 12 games were decided by 5 or fewer points. It is 10-11 with seven or fewer 3-pointers and and 8-2 with eight or more. UC’s 6.6 treys per game are the fewest by a Miller team since 2015 UNCG.


  • Cincinnati exacted its revenge on Saturday from the Jan. 31 heartbreaker in Morgantown, a game in which it led by 10 with 6:29 left. The series is tied at 11.
  • An 11-0 run to get to that point helped Cincinnati erase a five-point deficit early in the second half. It was also UC’s first loss of the season (previously 10-0) when leading at the half. Dan Skillings Jr. had 15 points, while Simas Lukosius and Day Day Thomas followed with 13 and 12, respectively.
  • The schools are most known in the hoops circles as the shared home of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Bob Huggins, who coached the Bearcats during a memorable 1989-2005 run and leading his alma mater Mountaineers from 2007-23.
  • The Bearcats went to 14 NCAA Tournaments during his 16 years, reaching the 1992 Final Four and No. 1 in the country during the 1999-00 season.
  • WVU assistant coach DerMarr Johnson was the sixth-overall pick out of UC as a freshman in 2000 and served on Wes Miller‘s staff his first two years. He joined the WVU staff in January 2023 when one of the main assistant jobs opened.
  • These two teams were Big East rivals from 2005-12 as well before the Mountaineers joined the Big 12.
  • Cincinnati saw WVU guard Kerr Kriisa while he was with Arizona last year at the Maui Invitational.


  • Cashmere Wright: Jan. 14, 2012 – Villanova
  • Cashmere Wright: March 3, 2012 – at Villanova
  • Cashmere Wright: March 18, 2012 – Florida State (NCAA Round of 32)
  • Jacob Evans: Jan. 24, 2018 – Temple
  • Day Day Thomas: March 9, 2024 – West Virginia


  • Oguama earned the start on Senior Day against WVU, and his final basket was a dunk late. Miller made sure to give him the utmost credit postgame.
  • “The role that he’s had to play since Jamille (Reynolds) and Aziz (Bandaogo) got eligible is as important to the dynamic on this team as anything I’ve ever seen a player accept or sacrifice in my 13 years as a head coach,” Miller said.
  • Oguama, who is averaging 9.2 minutes per game, can be a strong contributor for the Bearcats as they hope to have an extensive stay in Kansas City.