Today is the Crosstown Shootout. Like I needed to tell you. For those of you who somehow aren't well versed in the Cincinnati-Xavier rivalry, you immediately need to know the following:
Let the following be the building blocks of your Xavier hate. If you already hate Xavier, congratulations on being enlightened.
10) Those "Xavier Undefeated Since 1973" shirts were stupid.
I don't know if these are still sold anywhere, but good lord were they stupid. Every once in a while you see a guy wearing one on the urge to punch him in the face starts to rise. It's easy to be undefeated in football when you sucked so much your school gave up the sport. Xavier did their part to stop the stupid shirts from existing, they started a club football team. That team went 0-7 in 2011. I'm pretty sure it does not exist now. Xavier football wasn't hot stuff back in the 70s. If you remember the film We Are Marshall, who were the villains? Xavier. And Marshall beating them was a great moment. Not only did Marshall win their first home game after the tragedy, but they beat those evil Xavier bastards to boot. Anyway, those shirts, stupid.
9) Steve Wolf is horrible
Steve Wolf is the color commentator for all the Xavier games on Fox Sports Ohio. He also has a job with CBS Sports to call games there. We found that out the worst way possible on Saturday. Wolf is one of those guys that really adds no substantial analysis. He always sounds like he is yelling, even when he is talking normal. Listening him for 2 hours is akin to some kind of torture. Of course Wolf played at Xavier in the early 80s, which makes him worse. His son was Johnny Wolf. Johnny realized the error of his ways after 2 seasons and transferred to UNC-Wilmington. If there were justice in this world, he would have taken his homer father with him. It doesn't help Steve that he is teamed up with Brad Johansen. Speaking of which,
9a) Brad Johansen is a terrible announcer
Brad sounds nearly as smarmy as Thom Brennaman, except at least Thom has some pedigree. If you ever had to listen to the Bengals on the radio in the mid-2000s, you heard Brad try to ruin their games. Johansen is even less prepared for Xavier games than he was Bengals games. His sucking at announcing is why he got fired a couple years ago. He was replaced by the voice of the Bearcats, Dan Hoard. The Bengals knew that, instead of settling for Xavier, you go for the best. That's Cincinnati.
8) Tu Holloway is a crybaby.
If you remember the game from 2 years ago, the Yancy Gates fueled 20 point Cincinnati domination, you probably remember Holloway bitching about every single call up and down the court for 40 minutes. Holloway was 2-13 from the field for 5 points and turned the ball over 4 times. Holloway was directly at the vortex of the game turning from semi-competitive into a blowout. With Xavier down 10, he fouled Larry Davis for 2 FTs, then got a technical foul called on him that moved the lead to 13. After Tu took a bad 3, UC moved the lead to 15 and never looked back. Holloway is cold blooded for sure, and he's a great player. But his shameful performance last season made him and Xavier look bad.
That was nothing compared to what he had in store for last season. Holloway played very well, 17 points and 6 assists, but he was at the center of the action. He wasn't involved in the fighting. Tu was lucky enough to be held back by an official. But he and Ge'Lawn Guyn yelling at each other was what caused the push and the bench reaction and everything else.
7) The Xavier Popes
The Xavier popes have something common with Pope Benedict. By wearing those robes, they are making an agreement to never have sex. The difference is that the Pope has his deal with god, while the ladies in the greater Cincinnati area make an agreement to not sleep with those guys.
6) No one can pronounce it.
Name one school that has been in the NCAA tournament and is as nationally relevant as Xavier and gets it's name mispronounced. That's right, you can't. No one mispronounces Duke, or Kentucky, or Kansas, or Louisville, or Gonzaga. That honor is saved for EGGS-avier. People always wonder how Xavier can get out of the mid-major label and can get thought of as a national program. Not being called EGGS-avier would go a long way. I want someone to pronounce Xavier the way Xavier Henry pronounces his name. The Za-V-Eh Musketeers would be the greatest thing ever. I hope the ESPN2 announcer uses that tomorrow.
5) Kevin Frey was a bad player.
I'm using Kevin Frey, but he really is a stand in for any Xavier player that was not that good at basketball, but acted like he was Michael Jordan. This could easily be Stanley Burrell for instance. Frey was especially a pain in the ass because he was on the 99 team that beat UC in the final Shootout at the Cincinnati Gardens. Frey made a put back that I remember being so incredibly lucky that it made me sick, then running up the court like a spaz. Frey would go out in a great way. The 02 Bearcats beat Xavier by 20 and Frey was something like 3-15. Xavier fans love Frey, even though he had 2 decent years. He shot 26% from 3 his career, but attempted 49, 66 and 58. He had 1 season of 11-6 and 2 of 8-5. He was one of those guys Xavier fans talk about how gritty he was and how scrappy he was. He shot 42%, took bad shots and didn't rebound that well. He didn't get any steals or assists. He made 1 put back and suddenly became the face of Xavier basketball, even though he wasn't even good.
4) Xavier uses this as a mascot.
I'm pretty sure the pitch meeting for this mascot was as followed.
Guy 1: Hey, we need another mascot.
Guy 2: Agreed.
Guy 1: Do you have any original ideas?
Guy 2: No, because I went to Xavier.
Guy 1: Me too. Let's turn on the TV to get ideas.
*Turns on TV, sees Western Kentucky game*
Guy 1: Are you thinking what I'm thinking?
Guy 2: Steal it?
Guy 1: And make it blue.
*lights up cigar*
3) Pete Gillen was an asshole.
Before Pete Gillen was being an absolutely terrible color analyst for college basketball games, he was the first coach to leave Xavier for a better job. Yes kids, Sean Miller, Thad Matta and Skip weren't the first ones to do it. The reason Gillen remains hated by me is because of the 1994 Shootout. Part of this is based off what I remember from Bob Huggins book, and part is based off a recap I found. During the first half, Xavier coaches were yelling at the Cincinnati bench. This led to Huggins and Gillen getting into a shouting match as the teams went into the half. During the second half, I recall Huggins saying the Xavier coaches continued the yelling and one of them might have grabbed his crotch. That part sounds right, but I'm not sure. Xavier won in OT. Instead of shaking hands, Huggins walked off the court. That made the next few Shootouts electric with hate. Here is the recap I referred to:
They went at it from a distance, then punctuated a frenzied night when Huggins refused to shake Gillen's hand.
"I'm not phony," Huggins said. "If their bench is going to yell things at me during the game, that's their business. I'm not going to shake hands and pretend everything is all right."
The 10,121 fans got the idea something was wrong at halftime. Huggins and Gillen were yelling back toward the court as they headed for the locker rooms.
It got worse in the second half. At one point, the two coaches appeared to be yelling at each other from their benches. Finally, there was the handshake snub.
2) Xavier girls are ugly.
When I asked for reasons Xavier sucked on twitter, this was far and away the most common response. I'm not one to argue with the will of the people. One person did chime in to say that Xavier guys were ugly. But there isn't a shirt about that. Sorry Xavier girls, U-G-L-Y you ain't got no alibi.
1) They are Xavier.
They are Xavier. We are Cincinnati. Sometimes it's that simple.