After a deflating loss on a heart-breaking last second shot against Butler ten days ago, the Bearcats were able to bounce back and regain confidence last Sunday against Morgan State. However, today they will be squaring off against a familiar foe in one of the biggest rivalries that sports has to offer with hopes of giving them their first loss of the season and building some momentum going forward.
Meet The Opponent
You should already know all about UC's opponent in this one. The Crosstown Shootout, one of the best rivalries in sports, is here as the Xavier Musketeers and the Cincinnati Bearcats will battle it out on the hardwood of the Cintas Center this afternoon. This is a feud full of pure hatred that dates back to the inaugural match-up that took place back in the late 1920's and really began to take off in the 1940's. The series has included 82 total games between the two programs and it is the Bearcats who lead the series with a 49-33 record.
With that being said, Chris Mack and Xavier are off to a pleasant start on the campaign with a 9-0 record and are nationally ranked as the 12th best team in the country. In fact, the season has began so well that the only non-double digit victory they have on the season came on the first game of the year. Ever since that game, Xavier has been beating teams by an average of 20.5 points. With that being said, Michigan has been the only ranked program that the Musketeers have locked horns with thus far on the short season.
Leading the way for the home team is sophomore guard Trevon Blueitt from Indiana. The 6'6, 207-pounder is averaging just a hair under 16 points per game and adds 8.1 rebounds to go along with it. Inside, the Bearcats will have to deal with senior forward James Farr (10.1 PPG and 8.7 RPG) and Jalen Reynolds, a junior forward who averages 10.3 points and close to seven rebounds. Along with Blueitt, Xavier also makes use of four other guards including Remy Abell, Myles Davis, J.P. Macura, and Edmond Sumner, who will also look pitch in on the score card for the Musketeers.
Numbers To Know:
Xavier has been pretty solid offensively as they average 83.2 points per game. You can thank Bluiett, Davis, Macura, Reynolds, Sumner, and Farr for that. All six of them currently eclipse the double figuring scoring average. The good news for the Bearcats is that they are currently 8th in the country in points allowed. Cincinnati only gives up an average of 58.4 points per game. Butler was the program to score the most points against UC this season with 78. Something has to give today.
Cincinnati currently sits at 38th in the country in the rebounding department. While Xavier, in large part because of Farr, Bluiett, and Reynolds, stand at 14th in comparison. It'll be important for Gary Clark, Coreontae DeBerry, and Octavius Ellis to control the backboards in this one if the Bearcats want any chance of handing Xavier their first loss of the season.
It's been 22 years since the Crosstown Shootout featured the two programs while being nationally ranked in the Top 25. Unfortunately, it was the Bearcats on the receiving end of a loss in that game. The Musketeers defended their home court by pulling away late and defeating Cincinnati 82-76 in overtime.
How To Watch:
Game Time: 5:30 P.M. EST