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Crosstown!! For The Final Time??

Could this be the final battle between Cincinnati and Xavier?

Happier times for Yancy and Kenny
Happier times for Yancy and Kenny

Where do we start? How about this: there is no plan - at least publicly - for continuing the Crosstown Shootout. Yes, it's the SHOOTOUT not this made-up trash some PR firm created to make us all rally around a friendly game of basketball. It's been widely speculated that there is a difference of opinion as to how, if at all, the series will continue. UC people are said to want to keep it at US Bank instead of what Xavier people want and that's to move it back to campus arenas.

UC and Xavier have played nearly every year since 1942 and every year since 1945. Nothing has kept them from playing. Not fights, not war, nothing. Currently UC holds a 49-31 series edge although Xavier has made up significant ground over the past 20 years. For the longest time it was the ONLY game that mattered in town. Now, not so much. Admittedly with Xavier rising in the ranks and now in the Big East, their national image has grown and they don't need a win over UC to legitimize their program. But, of course, that doesn't keep it from being a nasty game at times.

There have been several fights in the series. Obviously none bigger than the brawl from two years ago when the nation took it to extremes. Sure it was ugly, but there have been MANY other fights in games that have been practically ignored. Why? Who knows? We'll never know. Anyway, despite fights in the past, the series continued and there was only minor talk of stopping for a few years to let cooler heads prevail. These two programs and fan bases DO NOT LIKE EACH OTHER. It's honestly shocking there haven't been more fights on the court and in the stands than we've had so far.

So back to this. The future of the Crosstown Shootout is up in the air. Way up in the air. No one is tipping their hand. Now they may be biting their tongue until the game is over Saturday night and then the gloves may come off. But for now, all we know is UC wants to keep it like it is and Xavier wants a home court advantage they cannot get at a neutral site against UC.

Why should the series continue? Because as I've stated nothing has kept them from playing every year since 1945. They are hated rivals. The games are usually pretty good. The games are usually as clean as you could expect from one of these types of games. Because it's a close game for both programs. No matter where the game is played it's a good non-conference game and there's no travel expenses involved, and let's be honest that's important to nearly every program.

Why should the series stop? Because despite all the nice things both sides have said since the brawl, there is still hatred. The coaches don't like each other. The players don't like each other. The fans don't like each other. It's way too personal for everyone involved and while most can control their hatred, there are those who cannot understand it's just a basketball game. If there is an incident where coaches refuse to shake hands like has happened before that's one thing. Once there is blood spilled on the floor from an intentional punch (and the subsequent finger-pointing and national black eye) you have to step back and think about doing something else.

These two programs do not need to play each other for national relevance. They already have it. They both play good enough game outside of conference to be sufficiently challenged. They both play in strong enough leagues where they see good enough teams to earn enough in the RPI and all the metrics the NCAA selection committee uses to decide who gets to play in its tournament.

So, again, why do we need to continue this series that has gone toxic? And if you don't think it's toxic, try following conversations/argument on twitter and facebook. It's downright nasty, just like the game has gotten. My son went to a friend's house over the weekend. His friend's dad graduated from Xavier. I informed my son he was no longer allowed to go over there anymore. Yes, I was joking. Or was I?

If you believe heresay, you believe that while Cintas is a tough place to play because the team is usually pretty good, it's also tough to play because the fans are a bit overzealous. If that's truly the case, I don't see any reason for UC to ever go back in that building. Ever. Why endure paint being sprayed on you or even physical attacks (allegedly)?

My (biased) solution? Either cancel the series for about 5 years or keep it at US Bank Arena. If I'm athletic director at UC or Mick Cronin I refuse any scenario that involves going back to Cintas. And if they don't like that, go schedule NKU and get a series going with them.