The Cincinnati Bearcats announced the non-conference portion of the basketball schedule today. All the dates are locked in. As you can guess, the start times are not. Except for certain TV games, that is. Here it is per Go Bearcats.
The schedule appears to be a marked improvement over last year's. Iowa State, Alabama, and New Mexico all made the NCAA tournament last season. Potential opponent UNLV did as well. Marshall was an NIT team. And they were a team that beat Cincinnati last season. As was Xavier. Revenge games. Wright State is also a repeat opponent. The schedule looks good just because UC can afford to take a loss and not be completely buried by it. UC fans were more than just a little annoyed last season when pundits were slow to buy the Bearcats because of their horrible non-con schedule that had multiple losses, including 1 horrible loss. This schedule has opportunities for wins. There is but 1 true road game, which isn't ideal, but UNLV could be a road game if they played. I'd like to see more of that because you don't play all your games at home, but hey, there are opponents that we have heard of on the schedule so I am a fan and I like it.
The thing that stands out the most to me is the closeness of some of the games. The first 2 games are 2 days apart. The Bearcats are going to play 4 games in 6 days Thanksgiving week. Arkansas-Little Rock and Maryland Eastern Shore see another quick 2 day turnaround. I wonder if this is getting ready for the quick grind of Big East action, or the Bearcats had scheduling issues in other places.
October 29 kicks off the greatest time of the year. It's ok to be excited now. I am.