As a Cincinnati resident, the loss to University of Louisville in the 2012 Big East Championship game hit hard. Despite a phenomenal victory over #2 National Ranked Syracuse, the Bearcats were unable to withstand the hard, in-your-face defensive style that Rick Pitino’s teams are well-known for. However, I believe this game takes one small step in overshadowing a scar on the face of the University from earlier this season – the brawl at the Crosstown Shootout.
The following represents a brief history of the Crosstown Shootout from www.crosstownshootout.com:
“The history of the Crosstown Shootout dates back to 1928, when the University of Cincinnati helped St. Xavier College dedicate its brand new, $350,000 Schmidt Fieldhouse, which had a capacity of 4,500. Xavier won the game, 29-25, and the two teams didn’t meet again until the 1942-43 season.
The teams began playing on an annual basis starting in 1945-46, and from 1948 to 1958, they played each other twice a year. Since then, UC and XU have played each other once a year, and UC leads the all-time series, 45 games to 26. Xavier, however, has won four of the last six games, despite a home-court loss to the Bearcats last year, 75-55.
In both 1996-97 and 1999-2000, Xavier knocked off a Cincinnati team that was ranked number one at some time in the season. In 1996-97, Lenny Brown’s jumper sealed a 71-69 victory over the No. 4 Bearcats, who had been ranked No. 1 only weeks before. The victory was XU’s first at Cincy’s Shoemaker Center. Three seasons later, Xavier repeated the feat, beating No. 1 UC 66-64 in the last Shootout at the Cincinnati Gardens, which hosted a total of 42 Shootouts.”
This hard-fought history of a single game that pits University of Cincinnati and Xavier University – literally two teams who are across the city from one another – holds a strong emotional tie in it for the fans, residents of Cincinnati and anyone affiliated with either University. However, as most of us remember, this season’s Crosstown Shootout resulted in quite a devastating turn of events for both schools.
In a very descriptive article, Cincinnati.com’s Paul Daugherty explained the events of the Crosstown Shootout – although the video above may be more descriptive than any words on a page could possibly be. At the end of the article, Daugherty states “Xavier won the game, by the way, 76-53. If it matters.” If it matters, indeed!
Tonight the University of Louisville captured its second Big East Championship since 2009. Afterwards, Pitino described the Louisville-Cincinnati relationship as if they were two brothers fighting against each other, the two teams know each other so well that it is very difficult to get off a shot. If Louisville is a brother to Cincinnati, Xavier is clearly the school’s arch-rival nemesis. Is this what it takes to have one of the best (if not THE best) rivalry in collegiate athletics?
On that note, the University of Cincinnati took major steps at repairing their tarnished reputation and the ugly events of earlier this season. Tomorrow, we find out whether or not either Xavier or Cincinnati will follow in Louisville’s steps into the NCAA Tournament. Regardless of what happens tomorrow, UC Head Coach Mick Cronin should be proud of his team for the effort they produced in the Big East tournament and the strong moral character is has taken to overcome the adversity of the Crosstown Shootout, suspensions and media ridicule in order to place the University in a strong position for a spot in the Big Dance.
While the city of Cincinnati continues to debate whether or not to continue the Crosstown Shootout, Cronin and Bearcats fans have found a reason to celebrate this season.