Sunday, December 12, 1999

Shootout week starts today for fans

Game still long way off for both UC, XU players

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Welcome to a week of Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout hype. You'll have to pardon the teams involved if they don't participate for several days.

        No. 1-ranked and unbeaten Cincinnati, coming off Saturday's 74-48 victory over Missis sippi Valley State, can't worry about city rival Xavier just yet. The Bearcats open their Conference USA season Thursday night at Saint Louis.

        UC players won't study Xavier until Friday.

        “I'm not worried about who we are going to play, because I'm worried about us,” UC coach Bob Huggins said. “It doesn't matter what they do. If we don't do what we need to do, we'll be in trouble.”

        The Musketeers (5-2), who defeated Central Michigan 94-75 Saturday, won't take the court again until a walk-through Tuesday; final exams are taking place at the school this week.

        The Shootout is 9 p.m. Saturday, and a national TV audience on ESPN will watch for the second consecutive year.

        “I've not seen everybody in the country play, but I've watched a lot of top teams, and I don't think there's any question they deserve to be No. 1,” XU coach Skip Prosser said of UC. “This early in the season you can't always say that.

        “It's an opportunity. It's a challenge. One of the reasons you come to Xavier is to play in games like this.”

        This is the second time in four years XU will face the Bearcats when they are No. 1.

        UC leads the series 44-22 and has won six of the last nine. The Bearcats won last January at Shoemaker Center 87-77. But the last time they were in the Cincinnati Gardens, it was brutal. Xavier took that one 88-68, routing Cincinnati from the tipoff.

        Xavier has won two of the last three Shootouts.


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