UC vs UCF MBB 2-19-2020 (8 of 27).jpg

UC guard Keith Williams (2) goes up for a shot during the first half of the men's basketball game against UCF at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020.

The University of Cincinnati's 2020-2021 men's and women's basketball schedules have been released.

The first game of Bearcat basketball is less than a week away as the women's team kicks off their season on Nov. 25 against North Carolina A&T University in Fifth Third Arena. Like all of the games for both schedules, the tip time will be announced at a later date – the same goes for broadcasts.

After five consecutive non-conference games to open the women's season, including playing host to the No. 5 University of Louisville on Nov. 28, head coach Michelle Clark-Heard and her team will open up American Athletic Conference (AAC), playing against the University of Houston on Dec. 16.

Notable non-conference games include the University of Florida (Dec. 5) and the annual crosstown shootout against Xavier University (Dec. 10). Clark-Heard will look to follow up a successful 2019 campaign when her squad finished with a 22-10 overall record.

The team is led by senior Ilmar'I Thomas, who after finishing highest in scoring (18.6 ppg) and rebounding (7.8 rpg) on the Bearcats in 2019, was awarded AAC Co-Preseason Player of the Year. Thomas spoke on her initiative to lead the team to another winning season among the turmoil of 2020.

Unlike the women's program, the men are not starting their regular season until December when they face Lipscomb University on Dec. 2. The men will also open their season at home in Fifth Third Arena.

The men will immediately follow their opener with their own version of the crosstown shootout against Xavier on Dec. 6. Other non-conference matchups see UC go up against No. 12 University of Tennessee on Dec. 12 and the University of Georgia on Dec. 19.

Meanwhile, AAC rival University of Houston came in first place among conference preseason polls – the Cougars are also the only AAC program entering the season nationally ranked at No. 17. Cincinnati and Houston's first meeting will not be until Jan 23.

Head coach John Brannen is sporting a much different starting five this season, with the only returning starters being the high-volume scoring guard Keith Williams and commanding paint presence center Chris Vogt. Both of which earned preseason all-conference team recognitions in late October.