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In my opinion, the Crosstown Shootout is one of the top 5 best rivalries in present day sports. It is by far the most underrated on a national coverage basis even though it is the second biggest NCAA basketball rivalry behind Duke/UNC. They only play once a year, since they are not in a conference together, which helps make it an even bigger once a year spectacle (Note: When XU was an independent they faced twice a year from 1948 to 1958). The biggest drawback this year is they decided to schedule the game on NCAAF conference championship weekend. This has led to a tip time of 12:00pm ET. This game should be on an empty weekend so it can be a prime-time tip or on a weeknight to give it the extra special feel that it deserves. Final exams are coming up next week at UC and would have given them another reason to avoid scheduling the game for this week.
These are two of the top 20 college basketball programs in the country right now and separated by just a few miles. The schools have a divided fan base that typically do not like each other. Xavier is a private Catholic university while UC is a public state university. The teams have played 84 times with Cincinnati leading the battle 50-34. The UC Bearcats dominated the series from the mid 1950’s through the 1970s with Xavier only winning twice. Xavier has had a stretch of trying to even up the all-time record by winning 13 of the last 20 match-ups.
The 2011 Crosstown Shootout was quite memorable for all the wrong reasons. There was a nasty brawl with 9.6 seconds left in a blowout Xavier win. The brawl consisted of throats grabs, shoves, punches, basketball launched at someone’s head and a stomp on the back of the head. The three years prior to this brawl really started the build up to this blow up. During the match-ups from 2008-2010 there were 9 technical fouls, an ejection, UC clearing their bench early in a game and multiple heated incidents.
The current XU and UC teams seem to play with more respect and less hatred than in the past. This leads to a better experience as we focus on the game and rivalry and not a bunch of incidents that do not belong in basketball.
The Bearcats won last year’s match-up 86-78 even though Trevon Bluiett had an incredible performance with 40 points. The Bearcats have not won at the Cintas Center since 2001, which is their only victory there ever.