Monday, January 25, 1999

SHOOTOUT NOTEBOOK


Mickeal, Mitchell trained by 'War'

BY MIKE DeCOURCY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        When the Cincinnati Bearcats face the Xavier Musketeers on Thursday, it will be the first Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout for UC junior forward Pete Mickeal. But it won't be an entirely new experience.

        Mickeal and Bearcats guard Alvin Mitchell are veterans of the “War on 34” — one of junior college basketball's big rivalries, which matches Indian Hills Community College and Southeastern C.C., Iowa's two reigning juco powers.

        The “34” is a U.S. highway that separates Ottumwa (Indian Hills) and Burlington (Southeastern) by about 80 miles.

        “It was probably just like this — the coach intense, ready for you when you step in the gym,” said Mickeal, who was 7-0 with Indian Hills in the War.

        But Mickeal understands how competitive a series such as this can be. Last Feb. 14, his unbeaten Indian Hills squad beat Southeastern 94-57, and Mickeal issued a statement: “I said, "Ain't no more War on 34.' And we beat them by just one the next time we played them. I shouldn't have made that statement.”

What? Me change?
        Coach Bob Huggins said he doesn't anticipate many changes in how the Bearcats prepare.

        Huggins will restrict players' access to the media after today.

        And maybe he will yell a little more.

        “I tried not to be a raving maniac on Friday, just let them go, and what did that do?” said Huggins, who was displeased with UC's intensity in a 55-44 win Saturday over Saint Louis. “Practice was too loose. You play the way you prepare, and we didn't prepare. I believe that.”

        Huggins did not believe looking forward to Xavier distracted his players — six of whom will play in their first Shootout this week.

        “I don't think a lot of our guys have any idea what the playing Xavier thing is about. Mel Levett does, but Pete Mickeal hasn't been around. Jermaine (Tate) wasn't around. They don't have a clue. They will.”

Shot up
        Levett needs a win in this year's Shootout to avoid departing with a 1-3 record vs. the Musketeers.

        No player under Huggins has lost more than twice, and the only group to do that included guards Darnell Burton and Damon Flint, who dropped their first and last Shootouts.

        “I like our chances going into it,” Levett said. “I'm just looking to go out with a bang. Maybe with a last-second shot. But that's a dream. Really, it's to go out and play hard and just win.”

Lenny lauded
        The Shootout will be XU guard Lenny Brown's first official game at UC's Shoemaker Center since his last-second shot beat the No.1 Bearcats in November 1996. “I don't even think about it anymore,” Brown said. “That was a couple years ago. That ain't gonna mean anything when we go in there Thursday.”

        Brown was named Atlantic 10 player of the week for a second time. Brown averaged 22 points and shot .650 from the field in three games, all wins.

        Shootout goes coast to coast
ESPN disregards Xavier and UC fans
Let's get ready to ... hype Jan. 24, 1999
Shootout 'bigger than the calendar' Jan. 24, 1999
Crosstown highlights Jan. 24, 1999