Following Monday’s announcement that the Crosstown Shootout would return to a home and home format to be played on campus at both UC and Xavier, the internet immediately blew up. Twitter, the source of all the world’s opinions immediately took off. The conclusion, Cincinnati does not need to play Xavier, and Mick Cronin might not be happy, and Mike Bohn needs to grow a pain.
The main conclusion is that Xavier needs to play Cincinnati more than Cincinnati needs to play Xavier. Essentially Cincinnati gave in and allowed the game to return to a home and home. Bearcat head coach Mick Cronin did not want to return to this format, new Athletic Director Mike Bohn apparently did.
For the last two seasons the game has been played at US Bank Arena, a neutral site that took all the excitement out of the game. Last season the game was held over Christmas break, no students were in town, the atmosphere was dead. Moving the game back to campus in February will ensure the students are there to bring the atmosphere back.
Personally, I could care less where the game is played. I also could care less if we ever play Xavier again, in all honesty I want Louisville twice a year. Xavier has been, and always will be, the little brother to UC. A few years of recent mediocre success does not make you a power-house. Playing in a down trodden Big East also does not mean you are a power program. If this game is going to be played though, it needs to be a home and home.
The hostile environment of Fifth Third Arena is incredible, beating Xavier in front of the home crowd is even better. Hell, even playing at the Cintas, the atmosphere is light-years better than US Bank. I understand why Cronin wanted to leave the game at US Bank, as a student I’m glad it is moving back to campus.
Cincinnati plays in a conference that sent four teams to the NCAA Tournament, SMU got massively snubbed. Connecticut went on to win the National Championship. The Bearcats do not need a game against Xavier to bolster their out of conference schedule. Xavier plays in a conference that had two decent teams in 2013-2014. A conference that put three teams into the tournament, one into the play-in game. Cincinnati does not need Xavier.
The move back to campus was all about tickets and sponsors. Cincinnati AD Mike Bohn said so, he also said it was about the players and television. One thing not mentioned, the students. In case you have never been to a college basketball game the students set the mood, the atmosphere for the game. To ignore them is the wrong move.
People have questioned UC’s hiring of Bohn, pissing off Mick Cronin is not a way to win over fans. Cincinnati fans have been immensely loyal to Cronin, he is the only man over the last 8 years to show any sort of loyalty to the university. Bohn’s days here in Cincinnati may already be numbered.
For now though we will play Xavier every year for the next 10 years. A rivalry game against a so-so school is wonderful, as fans though we should be focused on conference play and advancing in the tournament.