Cincinnati will host its archrival in front of a capacity crowd on Saturday afternoon when it welcomes Xavier in the 90th edition of the Crosstown Shootout between the city rivals.
The two teams met on Dec. 6, 2020, at Fifth Third Arena on the Cincinnati campus but the crowd was severely limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bearcats (6-3) lead the series 51-38 but the Musketeers (6-3) have won three straight, seven of nine, and 11 of the past 15.
Xavier is coming off its second-straight win, an 84-74 victory over West Virginia a week ago as part of the Big East-Big 12 Battle series.
Xavier’s Souley Boum averaged 19 points and five assists in two wins last week. Boum, who passed 2,000 collegiate points on Dec. 3, leads the team in scoring at 16.6 points per game.
“It’s a big game. It’s a big game for both schools,” Xavier coach Sean Miller said. “It’s a big game for our fans, former players. It’s a really big game for our team. The responsibility we all have (is) to be as prepared as we can be and be fearless in our approach towards competing, similar to what we did in the second half (vs. West Virginia) and really have no regrets with regards to our effort and preparation.”
The Bearcats are 5-0 at home this season and are coming off a 97-71 win over Bryant on Dec. 4, their third 90-plus point output of the season. They reached that plateau just once last season.
The Bearcats were blown out last season, 83-63, in the rivalry game played at Cintas Center, home of the Musketeers.
“We certainly didn’t play well last year,” Cincinnati coach Wes Miller said. “So that’s kind of stuck with us for a long time. So, I hope we play better basketball. … It’s as big time a game as we have in college basketball. It’s as good if not better than any game I’ve ever been a part of in terms of just what it means to people in the community and the energy in the building, and that was on the road last year.”
Cincinnati is led by David DeJulius, averaging 21.0 points in the team’s six wins and just 6.3 in the three losses. Bearcats big man Viktor Lakhin has reached double figures in each of his past five games.
–Field Level Media