Crosstown Classic: UC-Xavier basketball series wilts under white hot scrutiny of 'big'

CINCINNATI - For years it was among the best kept secrets in college basketball: The UC-Xavier Crosstown Shootout was our own winter passion play.

A little good-natured uppercrust ribbing at the pre-game luncheon, then elbows to the ribs once the hostilities broke out in the home team's arena.
 
And to that point, I’m told there is nothing like being the visiting player who silences the home horde with a buzzer-beating dagger to the heart.

Absent that passion and fury, Saturday’s renewal is rendered a pillow scrum.

The bitter invective of “Wait till we get them at our place next year” has given way to dialogue about whose band takes precedence as home team. Tough to bring one’s blood to a boil in a lukewarm pot.
 
When this game was carried on local TV, (Channel 9, Xavier’s outlet, and WXIX, home of the Bearcats, alternated coverage for several years), our dingy laundry only aired in the 513 area code. But then it got big, with the commensurate payout, publicity and fealty to the ESPN schedulers. Not to mention the nation’s scorn when things went awry.

Big is not always better.
 
And to my thinking, both schools caved to political expediency, overreacting to the rough stuff two years ago.
 
Rebrand it. Take the spice out of it. Make it a Classic. All well and good, but now that requisite penance has been fulfilled, let’s remove the hair shirts and get back to the business of rage.

I’m told the US Bank Arena contract to host was for two years with an option to renew. Please don’t.
 
Bring the games back to campus where they belong, where season-ticket holders can derive benefit from their loyalty and where we can let emotions rise and fall.
 
Three people were stabbed in the parking lot of Denver’s stadium after Thursday night's Broncos’ loss. Any thought to moving their games to a neutral site?
 
What is this, Cincinnati?

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