- Light fog
CINCINNATI -- The University of Cincinnati men's and women's basketball teams rained down 3-pointers in front of several hundred fans in the heart of downtown Cincinnati on Thursday afternoon as Mother Nature unleashed her fury on the Queen City.
The teams showed off their latest players and provided a glimpse of what fans can expect to see over the course of the 2013-14 season during Bearcats Basketball Midday Madness, an outdoor event at Fountain Square.
The hour-long exhibition began at noon and was played on a special court constructed for the event. The court, which is playfully known as "Fountain Court," was manufactured by Pete Delois' Recreations Outlet in Milford.
"We are excited for the opportunity to play outside in the heart of Cincinnati," UC head men's basketball coach Mick Cronin said before the event. "It's definitely something the city has never seen before, and we are looking forward to sharing it with the community."
On Wednesday, Cronin's team was picked to finish fourth in the American Athletic Conference in the conference's preseason coaches’ poll, the league announced at its inaugural basketball media day at FedExForum.
The Bearcats received 58 points to finish behind predicted league champion Louisville (81 points), UConn (69) and Memphis (68). Temple was picked fifth with 40 points, followed by SMU (39), Houston (28), USF (27), UCF (24) and Rutgers (16) in the 10-team conference.
The women's team was picked to finish seventh.
UC's athletic department has been working on planning the logistics behind the event for the "better part of this year," Associate Athletics Director for Marketing and Strategic Communications Brad Wurthman said.
Some of the event activities included introductions for the coaches and players, friendly basketball competitions involving both teams and performances by the UC spirit squads. Fans in attendance will also have the opportunity to meet members of the Cincinnati basketball programs.
The Cincinnati men's team returns two starters and eight lettermen from the 2012-13 squad that finished 22-12 overall and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive year.
Among the starters is senior guard Sean Kilpatrick, who was selected to the AAC preseason first team. Kilpatrick, a three-time all-conference selection in the former Big East Conference, averaged 17.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.4 3-pointers as a junior.
Preseason all-conference member Dayeesha Hollins is one of nine letter winners returning from last season's women's basketball team. Last year's team finished last in the Big East, but the program hopes the arrival of four freshmen and membership in a new conference will help them improve on a 12-18 mark in 2012-13.
In addition to being able to watch basketball while snacking on their lunches at one of the city's most famous landmarks, downtown workers had a chance to win a pair of season tickets for both UC men's and women's basketball. Attendees were asked to bring their business card with them and to enter it into a raffle for the prize.
UC takes the floor at Fifth Third Arena for the first time in a preseason exhibition contest Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. against Carleton. The regular season begins Nov. 8 at home against North Carolina Central. The game tips off at 8 p.m.
Single-game tickets, season packages and "mini-plans" for Bearcats men's and women's basketball teams are available at GoBearcats.com/tickets or by calling 1-877-CATS-TIX.
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