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Bob Huggins: 'I don't have any good thoughts of Xavier whatsoever. None. Absolutely none.'

Posted at 1:27 PM, Dec 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-02 14:30:02-05

CINCINNATI — West Virginia men's basketball head coach Bob Huggins' legacy in Cincinnati is significant. Huggins led multiple UC Bearcats teams to No. 1 in the country, reaching the Final Four in the 1991-92 season, and many believe he would have won a national championship were it not for Kenyon Martin's broken leg in the 2000 conference championship.

Part of Huggins' legacy is his role in the Crosstown Shootout, when UC and Xavier's men's basketball teams play annually. The two campuses are among the closest of any two colleges in the country, and the basketball game between the two schools has been played each year for almost 80 years.

Huggins coached the Bearcats through 16 of those Shootouts between 1989-2005, at a time when the rivalry was heating up after years of UC dominance in the 60s and 70s.

Flash forward to this Saturday: Xavier will host West Virginia at Cintas Center at 6:30 p.m. and Huggins will return to Xavier's campus for the first time in 17 years. When asked in an interview with WV Sports Now about memories of playing against Xavier, Huggins was straightforward in his answer.

"I don't have any good thoughts of Xavier whatsoever," Huggins said in his typical stoic tone. "None. Absolutely none."

I'm sure that the feeling is mutual for Musketeers fans.

Huggins went on to talk about how he did not get along at all with former Xavier head coach Pete Gillen, who coached across from him in several Crosstown Shootouts. In the 1994 version of the game in particular, Huggins refused to shake Gillen's hand after UC lost, saying that XU's bench was yelling things at him.

Eventually, Huggins said, he gained an immense respect for Gillen and for the late Skip Prosser, another XU coach he played against for many years.

By most measurements, Huggins had the better teams in the majority of his games against XU, but the Muskies became a thorn in his side, causing one of just two regular season losses in the 1999-2000 season while UC was ranked Number 1 overall in the country. Huggins recorded an even .500 record of 8-8 against Xavier as the head coach of the Bearcats. If you add in an NCAA Tournament game in 2008, in which a Xavier team coached by Sean Miller beat Huggins' Mountaineers in the Sweet Sixteen, his record stands at 8-9 overall against XU.

Huggins reflected on his past with Miller as well, noting that he has known him "since he was a kid."

Huggins wasn't willing to tell any other Xavier stories, and instead coyly directed reporters to ask "the guys at WLW" for that.

You can watch the full press conference here: