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Posted: Monday November 15, 1999 12:29 AM
Conference USA overview
Bearcats class of league once again
By Ashley McGeachy, Special to CNN/SI
Quentin Richardson could lead DePaul to its first NCAA tournament in eight years. Jonathan Daniel/Allsport
With all four league regular-season titles, Cincinnati owns Conference USA,
but the Bearcats haven't advanced past the second round of the NCAA
Tournament in three tries. With two McDonald's All-Americans joining four
returning starters from last year's 27-6 team, could this be Bob Huggins'
year? Young DePaul also has added another strong recruiting class to go with
the big three sophs: Quentin Richardson, Bobby Simmons and Lance Williams.
Can they jell and get the Blue Demons to their first NCAA Tournament since
1992? And after four years as a Michigan State assistant, 34-year-old Tom
Crean gets a crack at rebuilding Marquette, which fired Mike Deane after the
sleepy Golden Eagles went 14-15 last season.
How they will spend Selection Sunday
| South Florida
Players to Watch
| Top Three Frontcourt Players |
C Kenyon Martin, 6-9, Sr., Cincinnati |
Already the league's all-time leader with 185 blocked shots, the intimidating
Martin improved his shooting touch this summer playing with the U.S. team in
the World University Games.
F Pete Mickeal, 6-6, Sr., Cincinnati
A versatile, solid player on both ends of the floor, Mickeal led the Bearcats
with 14.9 points and 7.2 rebounds last season.
F B.B. Waldon, 6-8, So., South Florida
The rangy Waldon became the first player in Bulls history to lead the team in
scoring (16.3 ppg) and rebounding (7.0 rpg) as a freshman.
| Top Three Backcourt Players |
G Quentin Richardson, 6-6, So., DePaul |
With the addition of 7-footer Steve Hunter and the maturation of Bobby
Simmons, Richardson should play more shooting guard than he did last season.
G Gee Gervin, 6-2, Sr., Houston
A flashy, fearless and sometimes erratic junior college transfer last season,
the son of George "Ice" Gervin led Conference USA with 20.6 points per game.
G Diego Guevara, 6-1, Jr., UNC-Charlotte
After each of his league-high 80 three-pointers last season, the charismatic
Guevara blew a kiss to his bride Patricia.
| Top Three Newcomers |
G/F DerMarr Johnson, 6-9, Fr. |
After averaging 26.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists at Maine Central
Institute last season, Johnson was named the Parade National High School
Player of the Year.
C Steve Hunter, Fr., DePaul
Coach Pat Kennedy likens the 7-foot Hunter to Danny Manning.
G Reece Gaines, 6-6, Fr., Louisville
After spurning Maryland, Gaines should become just the 12th freshman to start
in Denny Crum's 29 years at Louisville.
| Hot Coach |
Bob Huggins, Cincinnati |
Often gruff and always intense, Huggins has compiled a 247-82 (.751) record
in 10 seasons at Cincinnati, making him the winningest coach in victories and
percentage in school history. This could be the year he returns to the Final Four for
the first time since 1992.
| Coach on the Hot Seat |
Tic Price, Memphis |
Price followed a successful debut with a debacle. Last season, he made a
disastrous early-season decision to move Omar Sneed from the low post -- which
he later corrected -- although it was too late and the Tigers went 13-15.
| Toughest Schedule |
Denny Crum always has a top five schedule, and this season's is equally as
tough with road trips to Kentucky and Georgetown and home games against
Alabama, North Carolina, Utah and Syracuse.
| Quickest-Way-to-20-Wins Schedule |
Southern Mississippi |
The Golden Eagles' non-conference schedule is bereft of quality opponents aside
from Auburn. Southern Mississippi faces Alcorn State, Nebraska, New Orleans,
South Alabama, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana-Lafayette, Troy State, Jackson
State and Centenary.
Mark Your Calendar
Dec. 4, DePaul at Duke |
With Duke's departures, DePaul could make a national statement.
Dec. 18, Louisville at Kentucky
Rivals Duke-North Carolina as the best rivalry in college basketball
Jan. 27, Cincinnati at Louisville
The Cardinals try to snap a five-game losing streak at Cincinnati.
March 2, Cincinnati at DePaul
This game could decide the C-USA regular-season champ.
Ashley McGeachy covers Conference USA for the Louisville Courier-Journal. Look for her CNN/SI conference insiders during the season.
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