Team preview: Cincinnati
Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2004-05 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.
Cincinnati the powerhouse was back.
After a 12-loss dip in 2002-03, the Bearcats reassumed the throne -- albeit with four other teams -- in Conference USA last year. By reaching the 25-win mark for the eighth time in nine seasons, UC easily achieved its 13th straight NCAA Tournament, the third-longest streak in the nation.
And then, Cincinnati the tabloid was back. Head coach Bob Huggins was charged with driving under the influence June 8, an arrest made more notorious by police in-cruiser video footage beamed across the nation. For a program with a "renegade" reputation -- based on low graduation rates and a handful of criminal records for some of its players -- the arrest was the last thing it needed.
The 50-year-old coach pleaded no contest to the charge and was fined $350 and given a suspended six-month jail sentence provided that he attend a three-day education course.
Huggins was suspended indefinitely with pay by the university four days later and was not reinstated until Aug. 27. He could not contact or scout recruits, take calls from staff members via university phones or carry out any other duty associated with Cincinnati basketball.
"I made a mistake," Huggins told the Cincinnati Enquirer after his reinstatement. "When you make mistakes and do wrong, you deserve to be punished. I never said that I didn't deserve to be punished. I did."