Heard it From Hoard: Column 67
As a University of Cincinnati broadcaster and diehard fan, I am supposed to despise Xavier.
I'd make that Eggs-avier if I really wanted to show my Bearcat cred.
Sorry, I can't do it.
Oh don't get me wrong, on Saturday night I desperately wanted UC to beat XU in the Crosstown Shootout, and if the Bearcats had handed the Musketeers their first loss of the season, I'm sure I would have been screaming at the end of the broadcast as if someone stuck me with an electric cattle prod.
I might have even ripped off Andy Mac's famous line (slightly paraphrased) and said "number nine in the country, but number two in their own city!"
But how can you dislike Sean Miller? Or athletic director Mike Bobinski? Or the Blue Blob?
(OK, the Blue Blob is incredibly lame but gets points for the lack of a cutesy name).
Perhaps because I covered the Musketeers closely when I was still at Fox 19, I've always rooted for them in all but one of their games every year. I consider the late Skip Prosser to be one of the finest people I've ever met and seeing David West go for 47 points and 18 boards vs. Dayton might be the best individual athletic performance I've ever had the pleasure to watch.
Yes, it is humanly possible to root for both schools for 364 days out of the year.
In fact, if you think about it, Xavier basketball actually has a few things in common with UC football:
1. A good coach who has stayed in Cincinnati despite opportunities to go elsewhere.
2. Champions of a league that probably doesn't get enough national respect.
3. Smallish but good-looking stadium that provides a great advantage for the home team.
4. Recent postseason success.
5. Painful memory of an epic near-upset vs. Ohio State (UC football in 2002 at Paul Brown Stadium, Xavier basketball in 2nd round of 2007 NCAA tourney).
So now that I've established that I have abundant respect for the Xavier program, let me just say that I wish the Musketeers got drilled in this year's Shootout. We're talking a down-by-20 at halftime, never-in-the-game embarrassment on national television. The type of rout that would make the entire country take notice of the outstanding job that Mick Cronin is doing in rebuilding the Cincinnati program.
It didn't happen and I congratulate Xavier on a great win. I'll be rooting for the Musketeers to kick Duke's butt next week.
By the way, in case you're wondering, I loathe Louisville.
I'd love to hear from you. The address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy this week's photo of the handsome lad.