The Cincinnati Bearcats basketball program has had a storied history since they started playing in 1901. The Bearcats first appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 1958 which kicked off a run that was one of the best in the nation. Cincinnati made six consecutive tournaments and during that stretch, they were crowned national champion twice. In the early 1990s, the Bearcats started a 12-year streak of making the Big Dance which included multiple deep runs and a Final Four appearance. Overall, Cincinnati has made over 25 NCAA Tournaments, more than 40 victories, multiple Final Four trips and national champion twice.
Cincinnati’s rise to national power coincided with the arrival of future basketball legend Oscar Robertson. Robertson led the nation in scoring three consecutive seasons and finished his career averaging over 33 points per game while also winning the National Player of the Year three times. Robertson helped lead the Bearcats to the Final Four twice in his career, but fell short of winning a championship. However, Robertson set the foundation of what was to come for the Bearcats basketball program.
A year after Robertson left, Ed Jucker took over as head coach for the Bearcats and led Cincinnati to their first national championship in 1961. The Bearcats repeated as champion the following season defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes in consecutive years. Cincinnati continued their national dominance by advancing to their third national championship game in a row, but fell to Loyola (Illinois) in overtime. The Bearcats advancing to five straight Final Fours has only been topped by UCLA.
Cincinnati Bearcats Recent NCAA Tourament History
In 2014, Cincinnati entered the NCAA Tournament as the number five seed and squared off against the Harvard Crimson. The Bearcats appearance was short lived as they lost to the 12 seed 61-57. Cincinnati forward Justin Jackson scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the defeat.