Brad's Blog - 12/11/13
The Crosstown (Shootout) Classic is Saturday. Have you thought about it? Care about it? Excited about it? Is this the last of it? I haven't heard much talk surrounding the annual game between UC and Xavier. I know by Saturday people will care. But how much does this game mean anymore?
I called "The Holy War" last Saturday in Philadelphia. It was the 71st meeting between Villanova and St. Joseph's. What was a 4 point game at half turned into a 30 point Villanova blowout on the road at a rowdy Hagan Arena. Villanova Head Coach Jay Wright told me before the game it was a contest unto itself.
"If we win by 30 or lose by 30, that's just the kind of game it is. You never know. So whichever way it turns out, we'll move on."
He said he remembered being down by 40 one year, and then his team went to the Sweet 16. Villanova is really good, by the way. Nice guards in James Bell & Ryan Arcidiacono and a good forward in Ja'vaughn Pinkston. Freshman Josh Hart is growing up quickly. They play 10 guys and are really solid, unselfish and strong fundamentally. They will be a handful for Xavier and the rest of the Big East.
Two weeks ago I called "The City Game" in Pittsburgh with the Panthers against Duquesne. It was a game for longer than anticipated, but Pitt ran away in the end. It was the 82nd meeting. Pitt has now won the last 13, and is 51-31 overall. Hasn't been much of a rivalry of late (I remain surprised Pitt, now in the ACC, is not in the Top 25).
This will be the 81st Crosstown matchup with UC holding a 49-31 edge, if my math serves correct. I watched from the stands at US Bank Arena last year. It didn't feel right. I'm not sure I'll go this year. I'd rather have it on campus. I think both coaches would rather have it go away. Too much of a hassle for one game as they are trying to get their teams on the right track. The players love it with the bragging rights and all.
UC dominated last year, though injuries played a role in hampering X. It should be a better game this year. I believe right now UC has the better team, and I'm anxious to see how the Musketeers handle the pressure the Bearcats will bring. They didn't handle it well last year.
The question remains-- has the luster of this one worn off for you?