Saturday, March 17, 2001

XU: Irish won't play us




By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        KANSAS CITY — Mike Bobinski is a Notre Dame alumnus and Xavier's athletic director, but he needs the blind luck of postseason play to get the schools together.

        Their NCAA Tournament meeting Friday was their second consecutive postseason meeting — Notre Dame eliminated XU 76-64 in the second round of the NIT last year — but Bobinski has been befuddled by why he can't reunite the Catholic schools in the regular season.

        “We've asked (Notre Dame) repeatedly,” he said. “We'd love to play them. From a basketball perspective, geographically and philosophically, it makes sense.

        “I'm having dinner tonight with one of their (athletic officials), and I'll work on him, too. I always do.”

        XU and Notre Dame met seven consecutive seasons in the 1970s, then didn't play from 1980 to 1992. They have met six times in the last 10 seasons - two two-game series and these two postseason meetings.

        The last regular-season meeting was Dec.23, 1995. Hope for a new series grew with the appointment last summer of Notre Dame coach Mike Brey, a friend of XU coach Skip Prosser's.

        “Skip's been on me about that,” Brey said. “But we have some things with our schedule that I've inherited that we've got to get through over the next two years. I have an open mind down the road. But in the near future, I don't know that we can pull that off.”

        Bobinski played baseball at Notre Dame, graduating in 1979. He worked as an assistant business manager in the Irish athletic department 1984-89. But he has played his alumni card to no avail in negotiations: “They couldn't care less,” he said.

        Notre Dame led the series 14-3 entering Friday's game. XU was 1-11 in the past 30 years, winning 75-60 on Jan.4, 1993, at Cincinnati Gardens, when Prosser was an assistant to Pete Gillen.

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