Monday, December 2, 2002

Rivals await XU, Purdue

Face each other on Tuesday before traditional showdowns

By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer

With the Crosstown Shootout a mere five days away, the Xavier Musketeers still have to be more concerned with Purdue, which they play Tuesday at home, than with Cincinnati.

But Purdue knows a bit about Xavier's position. The Boilermakers have their own UC-like nemesis in Indiana University, a cross-state rival they play twice a year.

Because Indiana and Purdue (2-0) are Big Ten teams, their rivalry has more impact on their conference championship than the Crosstown Shootout has on the league competition for UC and Xavier. But the intensity is the same, said Boilermakers coach Gene Keady.

"It's one of those great rivalries," said Keady, who is in his 23rd season at Purdue. "The teams don't like each other. The fans don't like each other. The players and coaches want to beat each other."

Each team used to host an Indiana-Purdue home game every season, but one of the games, which doesn't count in the Big Ten standings, was moved to Indianapolis to accommodate growing fan interest.

Xavier freshman Angelo Smith grew up in Indianapolis and followed Indiana and Purdue. He was recruited by the Boilermakers.

"The whole state looks forward to the game," Smith said. "But the Crosstown Shootout is a lot bigger. I haven't even played in one, but everyone has been talking about (the Shootout) since I got here this summer. They talk about Indiana-Purdue, but not half as much as they talk about the Cincinnati-Xavier game in Cincinnati."

Both rivalries have their great games, but the Indiana-Purdue memories are well-known throughout the nation due to former Hoosiers coach Bob Knight's antics.

There was 1985, when Knight threw a chair onto the court to protest a technical foul during a Purdue win in Bloomington, Ind. Before that, in 1981, Knight brought a donkey dressed in black and gold onto the set of his weekly coach's show and said the donkey's first name was "Jack" and that viewers could guess the last name.

There's nothing in the Crosstown Shootout archives like that, but after last season's game, Xavier's David West started a verbal war by saying if he hadn't hurt his ankle in the first half against UC, the Musketeers would have won. The Bearcats won the game 75-55 at Xavier.

Musketeers center Will Caudle, also from Indianapolis, sat out last season but was on the bench to see the Shootout. He said the enthusiasm from fans is the same in both rivalries.

"(Indiana-Purdue) is so intense that coaches would have to put up signs during the games because the crowd was so loud," Caudle said. "When they play, the arena will be red on one side and black and gold on the other side."

Shoemaker Center will be mostly red and black on Saturday. The few Xavier fans with tickets will be sitting near the top of the arena, where their navy-blue shirts will blend into the darkness of the upper concourse.

But on the court, the game will be played as usual, as one of the fiercest rivalries.

"Those rivalries are a lot of fun," Keady said. "And they're always intense."

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