Crossing enemy lines is part of Crosstown Shootout week and we did just that, taking some time to interrogate Caleb Childers of Banners on the Parkway to discuss Thursday’s matchup.
DTD: This rivalry game is always important but do you think it is even more so for Xavier this year since it has struggled to get a win against a nationally ranked team and could use a “signature win”?
CC: I don't think this game is more important this year then normally, but that being said this game is absolutely always one of the biggest games on the calendar. We look forward to it from the moment they announce the date, and I'm personally a fan of having it in January when we definitely know what both teams are about. That being said, Xavier has struggled a lot recently, so righting the ship and getting a big win would be huge for us right now, because, well, the alternative really is not pretty at this point in the year with our remaining Big East schedule.
DTD: What’s different about this team than last year? What’s the same?
CC: Let's start with what we're missing. James Farr, Jaylen Reynolds, and Myles Davis are the biggest gaps. Losing our two big men from last season has been a really tough transition for the team, and it's also really hurt our depth. Luckily we still have Trevon Bluiett and Edmond Sumner to lead, but this years team is definitely thinner.
DTD: Trevon Bluiett is an exceptional player. Can you tell me about how his junior year is going and what you’ve been most impressed by from him?
CC: Bluiett has definitely seen his ups and downs this season, largely being absent in a few games, but when he's on, he's on fire. I think what stands out the most to me has always been his talent at making places. He can shoot 3s, drive to the hoop, play lockdown defense, and really just do so many things that are hard and just make them look easy. He's never lost to UC, so I expect him to come out fired up and ready to play on Thursday.
DTD: What is your favorite memory of this rivalry?
CC: Without a doubt, the 2009 game. It was my freshman year at Xavier and that night was just so perfect. I didn't win the lottery for a ticket so I watched it in a dorm with an overflowing amount of people and we all went wild the entire game. Going late into OT definitely added to the excitement. The last two games were really fun to watch for me, but nothing beats 2009.
DTD: Would you watch a buddy cop TV series starring Mick Cronin and Chris Mack called Bald Justice? If so, will you help us get that off the ground?
CC: Are they buddies in the show? I would watch the daylights out of that show if Cronin just annoyed Mack the entire time, but any sort of friendship in the show would ruin it to me.
DTD: Can you guarantee that your team will keep their pants on for this one?
CC: I think we can guarantee buckets and taxes, but probably can't guarantee anything else for JP.
DTD: Who wins and why?
I know that it's at 5/3 at UC is really really good this year, but I just can't pick that. X is going to win 70-73 thanks to JP Macura for Xavier's fourth straight shootout win.