Thursday, December 13, 2001

To XU's Matta, Shootout just one game in long season

XU vs. UC

By Thad Matta
Xavier basketball coach

Xavier head coach Thad Matta talks with guard Lionel Chalmers.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
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        I've been asked if I've been given the impression that this game is something different from any other. I'd say, not really. I look at this as another game on our schedule.

        We're playing a very good basketball team, but the hype (doesn't have) that much of an impact. We're trying to get our players to understand that it's a long season and this is just another game. Our players probably know their guys and played against them in the summer, so maybe it's a bigger game for them just because they're familiar with their guys.

        I hope we're getting to the point where it's kind of a business-as-usual approach to any game. We spend a lot of time on our game preps and making sure the little things are right — even that we have a good warmup. We're not going to change anything that we do because of the opponent.

        I hadn't really watched any of the past Shootouts. I saw the beginning of the game last year on television, and I remember that you could just feel the energy. I haven't talked to any former coaches about preparations for UC. We're a different team now than those in the past.

        I've experienced a few rivalry games before. The Butler-IUPUI game, we got like 2,000 people in there! I'm joking on that being big. They tried to make it into a big to-do, just because the schools were so close there in the city (Indianapolis), but it just didn't really happen.

        I would say for me, the rivalry type of games at Butler when I played and coached there would be the Ball States, the Indiana States, the Evansvilles — just in-state rivalries. They were always hard-fought. There would be maybe 6,000 people at those games.

        When I coached at Miami, Ohio U. was always a big game. Miami-Xavier was a big game. And Miami-Dayton.

        Rivalry games are kind of the same wherever you are. I know boosters and alums want us to beat UC, but it's not like if we win this and lose all the others that any of us would be happy about that.


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