Staff writer Brent Raines discusses the city’s most heated rivalry and what makes it better to be a Musketeer
By: Brent Raines ~Staff Writer~
There are precisely two times over the course of a year when being a Musketeer student especially beats being a Bearcat: when recent graduates are entering the work force in May and the week of the Crosstown Shootout.
For a long time, the University of Cincinnati (UC) always seemed to be the big, fun school. Sure a Xavier degree was worth more, but we didn’t have cool architecture, parties and a football team. Only one of those is true.
Worst of all, Xavier basketball was the doormat on which Oscar Robertson wiped his shoes on his way to continued success throughout his career. .
At one point, Xavier only beat the Bearcats twice in 22 years.
But now the Crosstown Shootout is our chance to shine as a school and assert our newfound dominance in something other than academics, as Xavier has now won 12 of the last 18 matchups Xavier basketball has turned into the power program of the city while every Shootout victory dents UC’s once seemingly impenetrable façade of coolness a little further.
And it’s only going to get better for the Musketeers.
The Big East ought to send twice the number of teams to the NCAA Tournament as UC’s American Athletic Conference.
Xavier has appeared in Forbes top 20 revenue-producing basketball programs every year the list has been compiled. UC has never been close.
Sure, basketball is not the only thing that matters. But considering this is one of the few cities in the entire country with two programs of this size and prestige within its borders, it would be foolish to suggest that it plays no role at all.
ESPN commentator Jay Bilas once succinctly summed up the importance of the rivalry when he said, “Cincinnati and Xavier have created a rivalry that is unparalleled when it comes to outright passion and civic division.”
The Crosstown Shootout is a great barometer of how far Xavier has come, and a great chance to show our city the progress we have made.
It is not a coincidence that the growth of our basketball program has run parallel to the expansion and further development of our campus and the student body.
It is our success on the hardwood that has turned the tide. Xavier has begun to establish itself as a dominant team.
Someday, all of us Xavier grads will be able to confidently say we went to the “cool” school. Basketball will be one of the reasons why.