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EYES ON THE NATTI

<P>All eyes will be on Cincinnati as the Xavier Musketeers come into Fifth Third Arena to battle the Bearcats.&nbsp; Go to the Basketball Board and put down who you feel will win and what the score will be. </P> <P><A href="http://mb1.scout.com/fcincinnatifrm1"><STRONG><FONT color=#ff0000>BEARCAT BASKETBALL BOARD</FONT></STRONG></A></P>

2005 Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout

Xavier University @ The University of Cincinnati

9:00 p.m. ESPN-2

PROBABLE STARTERS

XAVIER

F: JUSTIN CAGE

F: JUSTIN DOELLMAN

C: WILL CAUDLE

G: DEDRICK FINN

G: STANLEY BURRELL

CINCINNATI

F: JAMES WHITE

F: ERIC HICKS

F: JASON MAXIELL

G: NICK WILLIAMS

G: JIHAD MUHAMMAD

While the fans of Cincinnati and Xavier always look forward to the Crosstown Shootout, those around the country have come to learn there's something special about this game. The 72nd meeting is going to be no different. With a national TV audience, the Bearcats and Musketeers will be ready to put on a show.

Talk around Cincinnati has been more on the comments of UC athletic director Bob Goin. Mr. Goin spoke about the chance UC may be forced to stop the series with Xavier because of their move into the Big East. While I'm sure the Bearcats will do everything in their power to keep the series alive, Mr. Goin speaks the truth. Until the Bearcats move is final, he doesn't know what is expected of the Bearcats in the seasons to come.

But come 9:00 tonight, neither fans nor players will be thinking about the future. It will all be about tonight and the battle at hand. Both teams come into the game needing victories.

The Bearcats enter the game with back-to-back losses. A loss tonight could drop the Bearcats out of the Top 25 and hurt their seeding in the NCAA Tournament. But what would be worse is the fact Bearcat fans will have to face the music from their Musketeer friends for the third year in a row.

The Musketeers (11-8) enter the game with back-to-back wins. While they were over weak teams, many would say a win is a win. But La Salle and Rhode Island are not having good years in the A-10 and can't be considered quality wins. The last team Xavier played with a winning record (Saint Joseph's) they were handed a 67-59 loss.

But this is a game that records can be thrown out the door. It's for bragging rights in Cincinnati, and whenever you can have those for a year life seems a little easier for the fans of the victor.

Tonight will see several key match-ups. Can the young players for Xavier match-up with the experience of the Bearcats? Will the Bearcats keep Justin Doellman out of double figures? Will Maxiell, White and Hicks prove too physical down low? Those will be some of the key areas to watch if you're at the game or at home watching it on TV.

Look for major coverage of the game as Bearcat Insider will be on hand for all the action.

Oh! Who do I feel will win? The Bearcats will win 77-70.

 


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