Beating Xavier is always a good thing. There is no such thing as a bad win in a rivalry game. And it makes it that much sweeter when you have a fan base like Xavier's which places is so much stock in this game. Muskie fans are really struggling with the result this year. But UC has bigger fish to fry than Xavier. Mick Cronin's comment
“I expected to win the game,’’ Cronin said. ““Let’s be honest. Xavier’s had some tough luck this year. For us, (Villanova) is a bigger game.’’
which is causing so much consternation among Xavier fans, is absolutely true. The Villanova game is much more important for UC in their ultimate goal of making the Tournament come March. When UC was in Conference USA or the Metro Conference the chances for quality wins where few and far between and the Xavier game always represented one of those opportunities each and every year. But with UC in the Big East there are so many more chances to pick up wins against top 25 and top 50 teams than before.
I am not deriding the Shootout, I love the fucking thing. It is a Cincinnati institution and one of the more unique rivalries in the country and it should be cherished as such by fans of both schools, as it rightfully is. But for UC it is no longer the be all end all that it seems to be for Xavier. X plays a pretty robust non conference schedule each and every year, but UC is always one of the games that shapes the national perception of them. It really doesn't do that anymore for Cincinnati. It is a rare year where Xavier can pick up a name win in the Atlantic 10. But in the Big East there seems to be nothing but big name wins. That's not a slam on Xavier as most of their fans seem to think it is. Cronin making that statement isn't a dig. The reality of the rivalry is that while the game is always intense between the coaches and the players, and it is a year round thing between X and UC fans, but as long as UC is in the Big East the Bearcats will always have bigger fish to fry than Xavier. As great as the rivalry is the Crosstown Shootout can't lend as much shape to the course of a UC season is it can for Xavier. UC fans understand that, Xavier fans by and large don't. That disconnect should provide enough friction to keep things interesting for a while.
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