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San Diego State, VCU among teams on Cincinnati’s non-conference slate

Jul 2, 2014, 3:56 PM EST

Mick Cronin, Mike Aresco AP

While the 2013-14 season ended in disappointing fashion for the Cincinnati Bearcats, as they were ousted from the NCAA tournament by Harvard in the Round of 64, there’s no denying the fact that it was a good year for Mick Cronin’s program. Led by seniors Sean Kilpatrick, Justin Jackson and Titus Rubles the Bearcats finished 27-7, winning 15 conference games and a share of the American Athletic Conference regular season title.

The question of “what’s next” for Cincinnati will depend largely upon how they account for the loss of those three pivotal seniors, with returnees such as guards Troy Caupain and Shaquille Thomas and forward Jermaine Sanders among those needed to step forward. The Bearcats will also add seven newcomers, led by forward Gary Clark Jr., and their trip to the Bahamas next month will help on-court chemistry.

Wednesday the school released its non-conference schedule, which includes games against six NCAA tournament teams (the number increases to seven if they meet Creighton in an early-season tournament). Among the teams Cronin’s Bearcats are certain to face are Nebraska (December 13 in Lincoln), San Diego State (December 17 in Cincinnati), VCU (December 20 in Cincinnati) and NC State (December 30 in Raleigh).

Cincinnati will also have its annual contest with city rival Xavier, with that game being played on February 18 on the Cincinnati campus. The games mentioned above will not only help the Bearcats prepare for conference play but also help their strength of schedule numbers with the American’s loss of Louisville to the ACC.