The Crosstown Shootout Unites Cincinnatians in Hatred and It’s Beautiful
By: Alex Marcheschi
Almost always, Cincinnatians share the same mindset. We all hate the Cardinals, we all hate the Steelers, we all hate Goldstar, we all hate the construction on Queen City and we all even hate the man who owns our beloved Bengals.
But, for one magical week of the year, we all hate each other. Your neighbor with an XU flag becomes your mortal enemy, your coworker with a Bearcats bobblehead on her desk morphs into a bitter rival. You send scathing text messages to dear friends. You post memes steaming with hatred. It’s the best week of the Cincinnati sports year, it’s Crosstown Shootout week.
Our esteemed Bearcats basketball writer, Chester Bolt, highlighted the status of the rivalry earlier this week. XU has dominated UC in recent years, it’s just a fact. This is the golden age of being an XU basketball fan. Sure, they haven’t made it to a Final 4 yet, but they have won 14 of the last 20 Shootouts.
That’s a lot, it lingers and burns in UC fans’ hearts just like a three-way with a chilito on the side lingers and burns in your heart. If you were to ask a random college basketball fan on the east coast who has the better basketball program, they would probably say XU.
HOWEVER *Stephen A. Smith voice*, I can feel the tides turning, I can feel it down in my plums.
Things aren’t so great in Muskie Land right now. Myles Davis just left the team, the boys can’t make a jump shot and Chris Mack is hiding in the corner in fear of Mick. Look at the pic below, his face looks like Scar’s face when he realizes Simba came back.
Mack can sense the power shift. It’s tangible. Look at Mick in that pic, that’s the look of a humble genius who can taste victory. The Bearcats are playing smothering defense. They’re winning games that typical Bearcats teams don’t win. Quadri Moore is draining threes. It almost feels too good to be true.
Mick cares so much about basketball that he nearly gave himself a brain aneurysm. Can’t say the same about Chris Mack, he clearly doesn’t want it as bad. Vegas currently has the Bearcats as a 3.5 point favorite, and that scares me a little because UC clearly looks like the better team and the game is in Clifton. Home court is at least a three point advantage, so in reality Vegas only thinks the ‘Cats are a half point better. Not the best vote of confidence. We all know you can throw the records out the window in this rivalry, but this year UC is clearly the better team and the game is in their backyard. To quote from Pardon My Take, this game is both a must-win and a can’t-lose for UC.
If you read this blog, you know I’m a big gut feeling guy. I called the Falcons to the Super Bowl, called the Cavs over the Warriors, my James Harden MVP pick is looking niiiii, and those are only my picks in this past calendar year (not to brag). As Phil Collins, would say, I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord.
Tomorrow night, Mick Cronin will be Iron Mike and Chris Mack will be Allen. Lock it in. This is the Bearcats’ year. UC will win the Shootout, you heard it here first. For the degenerates out there, I would not recommend putting any hard earned doll hairs on the Bearcats -3.5. Doing that would assuredly take 10-12 years off your life. Take ’em moneyline if you must.
Something about the game this year feels extra feisty, and if the game becomes a street fight (which it will) I’ll take the ‘Cats all day. The anticipation is killing us all, but the Shootout will be upon us after one more sleep. Strap in.
***Update, UC is currently -6 on some sites…weird vibes