The annual, intracity rivalry game between Cincinnati and Xavier is headed back to on-campus venues, according to a report from Cincinnati.com.
The game will also return to be called the Crosstown Shootout, the site reported. Xavier and Cincinnati have called a joint press conference for this evening, and the speculation is that the announcement will come then.
The rivalry dates all the way back to 1927 and has been played annually every year since 1946. Since 1989, the game had rotated between Xavier’s arena and Cincinnati’s arena.
But after an ugly brawl between the two programs — one that left players bloody and resulted in a notorious press conference in which Xavier players called themselves gangsters — back in 2011, the decision was made to move the game to a neutral site for two seasons before reevaluating whether or not to return the game to campus.
The game’s name was also changed at that time.
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The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.