Wednesday, January 03, 2007
I Hate You (But You're Interesting)
I caught some shit when I was home for Christmas from a friend who was pissed about my lack of coverage of the Crosstown Shootout. Since I was unable to actually watch the game, I thought regurgitating other people's accounts of it would be pretty lame. But alas, I can't stand the thought of being accused of not talking about the biggest college game of the year in Cincinnati because my team lost, so here's what I have to say about the Shootout.
That UC-XU game that ESPN deigned not ready for primetime TV (which UC dominated, by the way) wasn't the shootout. The shootout is actually happening tonight. Bob Huggins vs. Xavier is more exciting right now for Cincy (and the rest of the nation apparently, as it will be televised on ESPN2) than UC vs. XU. The game features two possible tournament teams looking for another quality non-conference win before the conference schedule kicks in. K-State has one of the top freshmen in the nation, Bill Walker (from North College Hill in Cincinnati, OJ Mayo's former teammate) and has won six straight, including a big win over a tough USC team. Xavier rebounded from losing 3 of its last 4 (@Creighton, @UC, and Bucknell) by knocking off Illinois 66-59 last Friday. UC followed its big win over Xavier with a humiliating blowout loss to Ohio State and is now making news again for academic problems. Who cares about UC without Huggins anyway?
As a lifelong Xavier fan, I was taught to hate all things Bearcat related. This pretty easy during my formative years as Xavier was always playing the role of the small private Jesuit college with a solid basketball team that does things the "right way" in contrast to UC's "let's punch police horses and not graduate any players" strategy. Huggins, though, is still widely loved in the Nati, even after drunk driving arrest that helped lead to his forced resignation. I've heard a number of stories about run-ins with the Huggy Bear at different bars in the Nati area, one involving him singing Frank Sinatra songs and refusing to accept a ride home after getting completely annihilated. People love that shit. Last year's Shootout was peppered with shots of Huggins drinking in a private box with some cronies. The man is just good television.
Tonight's game should be an exciting one, as Huggins probably knows a lot more about XU than Miller knows about K-State. XU showed it could play physically with Illinois and will need to continue to play that way to win this game. As long as X doesn't rely on it's favorite pastime, chucking up 20 3-point attempts a game, it should be a barn burner. It's also Walker's homecoming, and he'll be looking to make a splash. In the shootouts of old, the hungrier team almost always won, and I expect this game to be no different. And if you're at a bar in the Tri-State area after the game this evening, buy Huggy a drink for me...even though he probably won't need it.