Crosstown Shootout Needs To Head Back To Campus

Posted by Bennet Hayes on November 20th, 2013

There is little doubt that the 2011 Crosstown Shootout changed the Xavier-Cincinnati rivalry forever. For starters, there’s the fact that the Crosstown Shootout doesn’t even exist anymore. The Crosstown Classic is the new handle for the annual encounter between the two kings of the Queen City’s college basketball scene, but the revised moniker is far from the only amendment to come out of the ugly brawl. After alternating between Xavier and Cincinnati’s home courts for 22 years prior to and including the 2011 game, last year’s edition took place on neutral hardwood at downtown’s U.S. Bank Arena. That arrangement remains in effect again this winter, as the two schools will renew pleasantries on December 14. In the immediate aftermath of the brawl there had been some voices calling for an end, at least temporarily, to the rivalry, but the two administrations let cooler heads prevail and settled on this two-year neutral site plan instead. No long-term strategy was formed at the time, and reports released yesterday indicate that the wait-and-see approach is still in effect, as school officials have yet to reach a conclusion on where the rivalry will continue in 2014 and beyond. The only question does appear to be where, however; two years removed from the incident, both sides sound committed to ensuring that the rivalry rolls on. The latter is certainly great news, and while the patience and sensitivity surrounding this situation is understandable in many regards, two years of reflection will have been plenty long enough — it’s time to bring this game back to campus.

Semaj Christon And Xavier Will Meet Cross-Town Rival Cincinnati On December 14 At U.S. Bank Arena; Here's To Hoping That Encounter Takes Place  On-Campus Next Season

Semaj Christon And Xavier Will Meet Cross-Town Rival Cincinnati On December 14 At U.S. Bank Arena; Here’s To Hoping That Encounter Takes Place On-Campus Next Season

The Bearcats-Musketeers series dates all the way back to 1927, with the annual meeting having gone uninterrupted from 1946 to the present. Many of those encounters took place on neutral courts, including the three interesting seasons (1987-89) when the two schools actually shared a home court. So, taking the “Classic” (that just doesn’t sound right) away from campus was hardly unprecedented in the rivalry, but that doesn’t mean it should stay there. If we are speaking generally, college basketball as a whole derives much of its identity from the energy and enthusiasm of the sport’s on-campus homes. Rabid student populations and nuanced arenas deliver an experience unlike any you will find at an NBA arena. So why take one of the game’s premier rivalries away from that setting and into an approximated NBA facility? The answer, as it pertains to this year and last, is quite obvious, of course, but muting the emotions of this rivalry is only fair for so long. The Crosstown Classic has long been a highlight of the Cincinnati sporting calendar. If the series is going to continue, there is no reason why it shouldn’t carry on in all its glory.

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Does the Xavier Loss Reveal the Arc of Memphis’ Season?

Posted by Will Tucker on February 27th, 2013

Will Tucker is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report after last night’s game between Memphis and Xavier in Cincinnati.

Xavier outlasted Memphis, 64-62, in a game that exposed systemic weaknesses in Josh Pastner’s team fewer than three weeks from Selection Sunday. The Tigers entered the Cintas Center tied for the nation’s longest winning streak and boasting top-20 rankings in both the national polls and RPI. Their visit to Cincinnati represented the first of three consecutive road trips against potential RPI top-100 opponents, opportunities to combat the perennial whispers of “paper tiger” that pepper discussion of their Conference USA record. It also represented an audience with Xavier AD Mike Bobinski, chair of the NCAA Tournament selection committee and strong proponent of the “eye test,” as Mike DeCourcy tells us.

(Credit FOX Sports Ohio)

Xavier exposed Memphis’ vulnerability on the defensive glass (Credit FOX Sports Ohio)

They faced a Xavier team hung over from a crushing VCU comeback that all but eliminated its hopes of an at-large bid, and a student section reduced by the diaspora of spring break. Moreover with starting point guard Dee Davis injured, the Musketeers would field one primary ball-handler against the Tigers’ athletic press. It was against that backdrop that Memphis showed up and did all it could to reinforce the criticisms of its detractors. The Musketeers set the tone early with ferocious intensity under the basket and on 50/50 balls. They made Memphis look like the team with nothing to play for in the first half as they ran out to a 30-21 lead. The languid effort struck a chord with Josh Pastner: “Our energy level stunk that first half, and I believe in energy… We were minus-five in 50/50 balls at halftime –– first time in a long time that’s happened.” The Musketeers outrebounded Pastner’s team by 11 in the first half, and an six-rebound advantage on the offensive boards helped establish a 12-0 disparity in second-chance points. Memphis went to the locker room with zero points off five Xavier turnovers and only two fast break points.

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Xavier To Serve Fried Gator At Florida Game Tomorrow

Posted by jstevrtc on December 30th, 2010

During tomorrow’s matchup between Xavier and Florida at the Cintas Center, you might notice a unique smell wafting from the concession stands — that of fried alligator.

Get it? Fried alligator? Florida Gators? Of course you do. That’s not a typo, though. For the XU vs UF game — while supplies last — the folks from Xavier Dining will have fried alligator on offer.

We Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny That Your Serving Will Be This Large

Not that we’re anti-Florida around here, but you have to love this move. And going by the linked article, fried alligator isn’t exactly cheap, but I guess you’ve got to expect that, since they flew these babies in from Louisiana. We think that Florida should take this as a compliment, since this is the kind of thing you’d do only if you think it’s a big, important game. If you attend the game and you try this delicacy, we’d love to hear what you think of it, so don’t hesitate to e-mail or tweet us your Bourdain-like review.

[grateful h/t to the Lexington Herald-Leader's John Clay, at @johnclayiv]

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Morning Five: 12.30.10 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on December 30th, 2010

  1. You simply must check out how, in his attempts to get back to school for a game against Albany, Xavier’s Tu Holloway went through his own version of Plains, Trains, and Automobiles. Even more impressive was what he did when he made it back — 32 minutes, 11 points on 4-6 shooting, nine dimes, one turnover, and all while sick and exhausted. And let us say this — Tu, we love ya, man, but the image of you on a Greyhound bus with a morbidly obese man snoring on your shoulder is freaking hilarious. At least you didn’t have a conversation upon waking that ended with the words, “Those aren’t pillows!
  2. Speaking of Xavier, you can likely find coach Chris Mack down at City Hall in Cincinnati inquiring as to whether the Cintas Center was, in fact, built on a Native American burial ground. Whatever it is, there’s something out there that doesn’t like Xavier basketball — yesterday it was announced that freshman swingman Jay Canty (1.0 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 9.5 MPG) has a broken right foot and will be shelved for a month. That leaves XU with nine scholarship players. If we know Coach Mack, though — and we don’t — he’ll somehow get the Musketeers to overachieve in March even if he has to suit up the mascot and a pull a couple of business majors out of Smith Hall in order to have enough practice players.
  3. “Some guys hate losing more than they love winning.” A memorable line from a simply outstanding look at the life of Rutgers basketball under new boss Mike Rice. Writer Adam Zagoria intimates that Rice might just be the right man to bring the Knights back to prominence in the future, and that’s been our position as well; this article makes us feel confident about that prediction.
  4. The Niagara Gazette’s Jonah Bronstein invites all Western New Yorkers to come out and see native son Jimmer Fredette when he and BYU arrive at Buffalo tonight to play the Bulls. Bronstein and UB head coach Reggie Witherspoon anoint Fredette as the best player “ever to visit Western New York,” which we assume to mean UB’s Alumni Arena in this case. Bold claim, but the gentlemen make an interesting case.
  5. We’ve heard from so many people rooting for Northwestern to finally make the NCAA Tournament this season. Chicago Sports Guru takes a look at some NU stats and offers an intriguing breakdown of the Wildcats’ remaining schedule. And we’re totally diggin’ the “John and Juice” reference in the article’s title — strong work, fellas. Despite the 9-1 start, though, KenPom projects a 18-11 (8-10) final record for the ‘Cats, but six of those crystal-ball Ls are predicted to be by four points or less. The next chance for NU to change fate (that is, the next KenPom-predicted L) is this Friday at Purdue. KenPom gives the Wildcats a 12% chance of winning. Ouch.
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