Xavier-Cincinnati rivalry stoked with postgame barbs

In News by Ken Cross

By Ken Cross

The Crosstown Shootout in Cincinnati between the Bearcats and the Xavier Musketeers is for real.  We knew that many moons ago as the two schools are separated by three miles and has always had an air of terseness between the two even in years when the teams were not national players.

Reference 2011 when a brawl broke out with 10 seconds left in the game as the Musketeers were closing out a resounding 76-53 win.

Forward J.P. Macura is apparently one of the more spirited players that Chris Mack has on this team and he doesn’t mind tweaking Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin who was angry after Saturday’s 89-76 loss.

“I have never had a kid tell me to, ‘Eff-off,’ three times before,” said Cronin, “Before the game, during the game and after the game.”

The video shows that Cronin was starting toward the locker room and then turned on a dime and went back toward Xavier’s bench where he was had to be restrained before heading off to the locker room once again.

“You know who it was,” fired Cronin, “Same guy that it is every game. Fifteen years, I have been a head coach – five years with Huggs, two years with Coach Pitino.  I have never seen anything like it.”

Cronin alluded to the idea that he had nothing to say to Xavier or Macura.  It wasn’t about making nice after this heated rivalry took another step up the ladder to becoming the hottest rivalry in the nation.  Cronin doesn’t care for Macura’s attitude and he didn’t mind espousing that on Saturday.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” noted Cronin, “Where I come from there’s nothing to talk about.  If he was playing for me, he wouldn’t play. He wouldn’t play for me.”

Mack was also visably upset as both coaches sought to defend their players and programs.  He didn’t appreciate the Musketeers and Macura getting blamed by Cronin.

“There are two sides to every story,” said Mack, “There is a reason their coach was issued a technical in the game.  There is a reason for that.  I know that reason because the official explained to me what that technical was for.”

Mack was also upset that Xavier’s strongest game of the year could be swept under the rug by the back-and-forth that he intimated that Cincinnati started.

“I am not going to have the narrative being anything other than us playing better than Cincinnati,” he said as guard Trevon Blueitt led four Musketeers in double figures with 28 points.”

Mack had his own reference that he threw back at the Bearcats as he was really incensed of Cronin discussing Macura’s personality.

“As far as ‘never play on my team,’ I am going back to 2009-2010, when I was the head coach and Lance Stevenson in front of me, right in front of me called me the N-word three times and said ‘Eff-You'” noted Mack, “And guess what I did?  I shook his hand.  I shook his hand.  We got our ass kicked.  That’s what Mack said.”

As for the game, Xavier took the fight to the Bearcats as the Musketeers outrebounded Cincinnati, 44-27, and made 10-of-21 threes.