Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Xavier might host tourney

Black Coaches Association looking for site

By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer

With eight nonconference games already slated for next season, Xavier athletic director Mike Bobinski will meet with coach Thad Matta this week to evaluate their options for the remaining three games.

The Musketeers currently have four home games, one neutral-site game and three away games scheduled. Ideally, Bobinski said, Xavier would like to end up with five or six home games and add another road or neutral game.

One way to add a home game would be to host or play in an exempt tournament, which counts as one game on the schedule but allows teams to play two or more games in an early-season tournament. The Black Coaches Association has approached Xavier about hosting the BCA Classic, an eight-team tournament next season, in Cintas Center.

There was no BCA Classic last season because New Jersey-based Gazelle Group, which produces the event, could not find a host. Tuesday, Gazelle Group President Rick Giles said Xavier is high on the list of potential candidates to host the event, which he said is tentatively scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 14-16.

Bobinski said XU is not opposed to playing against a high-profile team from a major conference during the mid-to-late conference season. Those games can be helpful for teams that want to go against NCAA Tournament-caliber competition before the tournament begins.

"Usually you do those games when TV makes the game," Bobinski said. "We have made our interest known to ESPN."

Xavier faced two NCAA teams in the conference this season in Dayton and Saint Joseph's. Nine of the Atlantic 10 teams did not go to the NCAAs, however, and six of those nine finished below .500.

The one neutral game so far for next season is against Indiana in the Wooden Tradition in Indianapolis; the away games are at Mississippi State, Miami and Ball State. Home games are against Cincinnati and Alabama and two other lower-profile opponents Bobinski will reveal after contracts are signed.

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