Coasterville Commentary

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Monday, January 23, 2006

XU Basketball: Two "L"'s and a "DUI" in the same day


What a way to let the wind out fo your sails. As you know from reading the article directly below this one, Xavier won the all important Crosstown Shootout Game. You'd think that here, on Monday we'd still be riding the wave of excitement that caused.

Well, things started falling apart when the XU Women's team lost to Temple in the first game of a double at the Cintas Center on Sunday. Then came time for the Men's game against St. Louis.

I was at the St.Louis game, blue wig and all. The first half started giving me flashbacks to Thursday, but without the rousing crowd support this time. The second half, well I don't know much about basketball, but when a team doesn't score a basket except by way of the foul line in the last eight minutes of the game, that can't be good.

Thursday night we were cringing whenever Xavier tried for the trey (they made 1 of 18 on Thursday). well on Sunday the box score revelals that they did improve they made 5 of 17 treys on Sunday. Those must have been first half, causein the second half, specifically in the last 8 minutes of the game,Xavier could not get a shot in to save their hides.

This is not the way the game was supposed to go, our friends out in Las Vegas picked Xavier as the favorite by 14 points. I'm not saying the Vegas people are perfect, but they are paid to breathe and eat sports. I'm guessing we can attribute much to our defense that the game ended as close as it did (a 59-54 defeat). In fact up into the last minute of the game, we had a fighting chance, if St. Louis would not have made those last two free throws, and if we would have pulled a Jihad and gotten the buzzer beater trey, we could have sent this one into overtime. But we didn't,and so it goes with two "L"s in one day. I used to have a lot of respect for Doellman, but when you have 23 minutes of game time,and have nothing but two free throws to show for it, thats not good. What got me was howmany times our guys would get the ball, and just stand there looking at the coach like "Duh, what do I do now?" I realize the coaches are there to give advice but geez.

As if that heart wrenching defeat weren't enough,I come home to learn that one of XU's assistant coach's a Mr. Hunter was busted for DUI. I like how the school is handling it, trying to seperate his work life from his personal life, and yes people do make mistakes,and as a Catholic Jesuit institution it should practice forgiveness, which you may recall was Mr. Goin's response with Huggins until that Zimpher lady came onto the scene. At least the UC fansatwork could not razz us to hard about the DUI, even if one did suggest that next That Evil Zimpher Lady will want to cancel the Crosstown Shootout so they dont have to play schools that have coaches with DUIs

News Flash: Mr. Hunter will also be barred from this Wednesday's game against Temple, and he will not travel with the team for that game. He also won't participate in recruitment activites until the end of March.

Friday, January 20, 2006

TR: Crosstown Shootout (XU vs. UC) - 1/19/06

Trip Report: The 73rd Edition of the Cincinnati Skyline Crosstown Shootout Xavier University vs. Univeristy of Cincinnati January 19, 2006 - 9PM

"Welcome to Xavier Nation!"

If there is one basketball game in Cincinnati to watch, its the Crosstown Game. Cincinnati is in the rare situation of having two major universities that both have well respected basketball teams. The two schools are 3.3 miles apart and one year somebody set the wheels in motion that the two schools would play a crosstown college basketball game. Its a grand rivalry and also a very hot ticket. Usually unless you are a season ticket holder for whatever shcool is hosting the game that year, a student, or were well connected you could forget about going to the Crosstown Shootout unless you were prepared to deal with ticket scalpers.

I had last attended the Shootout when I was a junior at Xavier University (as if the flag above didn't clue you in, this is not going to be unbiased pseudo-journalism) back in 1994. I had written off ever getting to attend another Crosstown game as being a nice dream. I am not a full Xavier ticket season ticket holder, but a friend of mine who is a season ticket holder told me about a promotion they were offering for $72 you could purhase the "Big Game Pack" basically a miniature season pass with only a few selected games. My jaw dropped when I learned that Univeristy of Cincinnati was included in the package, and I was on the phone to the XU ticket office as soon as I could get to a phone. A few minutes and $72 later I had a few game tickets and the Crosstown Shootout ticket. I was on cloud nine and January 19 could not come fast enough.

It was to be an interesting season, thats for sure, what with the shamefull dismissal of Coach Bob Huggins from the University of Cincinnati, and the sports writers had written off the Crosstown game as a Xavier blowout, a great mismatch., and with some loss of relevance without Coach Huggins. There was a Crosstown series before Huggins and there will be one after.

Some say we can even attribute the national attention given to our little intra city basketball rivalry to Coach Huggins after he was so upset he refused to follow game formalities by shaking Coach Gillen's hand at the end of a game. As such the game was shown nation wide in the United States of America by ESPN, which also meant the game was to have a 9pm tip instead of the more traditional 7 or 7:30 tip. Ignoring the fact the game was sponsored by Skiline Chili, I voted my taste buds by dining at Gold Star Chili on my way to the game.

It was such that I arrived at the Cintas Center on Xavier University's campus at 7:45pm, clad in my BLUE jeans, my BLUE "Xavier" t-shirt, and my BLUE Xavier jacket. I noted a higher than usual police presence at the front entrance and soon entered the building and the ticket checkers palm device emitted the postive "Be-De-Beep"and it was through the turnstile and onto the concourse. Immediately after entering the Cintas Center a person in blue body paint handed me the "Stadium Give Away" item, it seemed so many people in the door received a Crosstown Shootout logoed tote bag. Cool, I wasn't expecting a give away item tonight. The staff selling programs were in full face paint, and $4 later I had a souvenir game program. I don't usually bother with game programs, media guide yes, but as a rule I don't bother with the game program, except when its a once in 12 years event like getting to go the Shootout.

My next stop was the Spirit Store. I went to the gift shop on a mission. Although I owned three different Xavier flags, I decided I needed another. One of my flags is of the old 1980's/1990s logo, and that one has been hanging in my office since November. Another one is the Xavier Nation flag pictured above, which near as I can tell is only sold at the Cintas Center. It looked a lot cooler in the store, and although I flew it outside my house last basketball season, this season I decided it looked a bit on the tacky side, and besides if it is the least bit tangled up you can't tell its a Xavier flag. That flag will soon be hanging in my billiard room, should make a good distractor when I place it one one far wall so my UC fan reletives have to look at it while taking their break shots. The third is off the current X logo, but it has been well flown the last few seasons and is looking a bit past its prime. So I stopped by to get the 2'x3' navy blue flag with the newest logo. I am a bit bummed that upon getting it home and out of its package I realized its only printed on one side. But that flag will be going up outside the house soon.

While in the Spirit Store I was some blue wigs, you know the one you usually see a lot of in the student section. Well, I was overcome by the spirit of the moment, and yes one of those wigs wound up in my basket. Luckily I used my Alumni All Card for 10% off, and after spending a fair amount of money, I left the Spirit Store, then went and fitted the blue wig to my head. At least my plastic bag from thegift shop can hold the tote bag, program, and flag.

I took a walk around the entire concourse, and looked at the new Xavier Hall of Fame positioned at the far west end of the concourse. Then I got a bottle of beer and went to find my seat. Taped to the seats were coupons for free Skyline cheese coneys.

The pre-game entertainment for a long time was watching the University of Cincinnati take one last pre game practice. This game is not like any other game of the season. I don't know if its a special allowance for the crosstown game, but both schools cheerleaders were there, both schools mascots were there, and before the tradtional presentation of the Xavier Flags, the UC cheerleaders came onto the court waving the giant UC flags.

Some time later it was almost time for the game to start, and although I saw the Blue Blob, I did not see Dartagnan, the Xavier Musketeer. Hmmm, the Bearcat is here. We had the national anthem performed to the acapella voices of a choral group, then the introduction of the UC players. Right before the introduction of the Xavier players, after the video montage, Dartagnan was seen rapelling down to the court from the ceiling. Now thats what I call an entance. But going above and beyond should be expected tonight. Don't let anyone fool you, this is NOT a normal game. This is THE game of the season.

The players introduced, the game starts, and its UC up to a quick lead. The game was everything you expect out of a rivalry game: constant lead changes, coming back from behind, close scoring. You know the sports writer imagery "Fighting Tooth and Nail", "Its all out warfare" "Every point matters" That was tonight. But the intensity level was not just on Ultra High on the court, it was also ratcheted up quite high in the stands. I'd say the crowd was at least 10 times more enthusiastic, not to mention as loud as usual. Admittedly the first half did not look good for the Xavier faithful when we were down by 7 at halftime.

I was really expecting more out of the halftime entertainment, but it ammounted to three lucky contestants who got to try to win a 2 year lease on a new car. They used to do the Halftime Halfcourt challenge for a million dollars, but I guess that went away after somebody actually won it a few years ago. Thats not to say the Halfcourt Challenge was made an easier, it is quite the formidable hurculean feat. Basically the contestant has 24 seconds t make all four of the following shots: a layup from right under the basket entitles them to advance to the free throw, making the free throw entitles them to try for the three point shot, and making the trey allows the contestant to play for the grand prize by making the half court shot. Let me be clear, this wasn't 24 seconds per shot, this was 24 seconds to complete the entire challenge, all four phases. That's 6 seconds per shot. Whats more, miss the basket, and you have to go get the ball, it isn't returned to you. That eats more time off the clock.

Well Contestant #2 SUCESSFULLY finished the challenge and won the car lease. Maybe those half court shots aren't as hard as they were originally though to be... I think the shot clock had actually expired but the ball was in the air headed towards the basket, so the shot still counted.

Well a trip to the beer booth later, and back for the second half. Things were really on in battle mode in the second half. This is were the lead kept changing hands and no team never got way ahead. While UC was adept at making the three point shots in the first half, that ability seemed to vanish in the second half, which is good since Xavier only managed to nail the trey once all night. More often than not the scoreboard seemed to stand at a tie. Towards the end of the second half it seemed like Xavier was going to pull ahead and put the game away. But again this is not any other game, and UC played through till literally the last second when Jihad Muhammad made a buzzer beater 3 point shot to send the game into overtime at 64 ALL. In my section of the stands people had already started to prematurely celebrate and I was afriad of the jinx, well it jined and here we are at overtime.

Another quick intermission and its time for the 5 minute overtime period. The last 2 minutes of regulation and the overtime period are not recommended for those with heart conditions. For one with all the time outs and inbounding and fouls, I don't think I have seen time move that slow in a basketball game in a while, then the fear that we were going to throw it awa at the last minute had everybody on the edge of their seats.

Overtime was much the same story as the last 2 minutes of the second half and almost ended the same way. Both teams seemed to have forgotten how to make free throws, and it came down to 73-71 Xavier, with 3.9 seconds on the clock. 2 timeouts later we all could finally celebreate when UC's second attemt at a buzzer beater shot missed its mark, ending the game.

XAIVER WINS - 73-71 in Overtime - GO MUSKIES!!!!!!!!

All that's left is the singing of the alma matter. I hung around a bit after the game taking in the post game celebrations which eventually made their way from the seating bowl, to the concourse, and finally out into the driveway. I did exit the game late enough that the kind folks with Coca Cola were giving out free Black Cherry Vanlla Diet Coke by the carton when I got out front. So hety, a free carton of soft drinks is a free carton of soft drinks.

So now here I am ready to go home, blue wig my voice all raw and hoarse, which was rubbed by more fans for good luck, a nice big "W" in the recordbook, and a big old smile on my face.

I'll be back for Sunday night's game, yes blue wig and all.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

It's almost Crosstown Time!

That's right.

At 9PM on January 19th 2006, tip off occurs on the biggest NCAA basketball rivalry in Cincinnati. Is the XU-UC Crosstown Shootout.

"I've got a Crosstown Ticket!!!!!!!!!!"

I'll be there in my blue finest at the Cintas Center to help root our Xavier University Musketeers on to victory!!!!!

In other news -
It seems that North Carolina will have a state fair midway afterall. Thinks looked doubtful for the State when only 1 midway provider even submitted a bid to host their 2006 State Fair, and the state rejected that bid. Frankly, North Carolina doesn't deserve any midway at its state fair, as there contract terms are very unfavorable for any midway provider, requiring a certain dollar figure to be baid by the traveling show to the fairboard for every paid fair admission EVEN if that person doesn't set foot on the midway. Powers Great American show was awarded the contract in what amounts to a do over, and will pay the State $5.50 for every paid fair admission. Thats a huge nut to crack.
In local news - Does anybody else find it a bit disturbing that three explosives found there way onto a Metro (city of Cincinnati) bus Monday? Yes, we're glad nobody got hurt and there was no damage, but there has to be concern that maybe Monday was a test run.

On the web - yesterday I pointed out the World Flags trivia game, well I do like to collect flags, and although I would love to have a complete United Nations desktop flag set, the fact that with base they run from $400-$450 and take up 12' of room makes it kind of an impractical, expensive decortation. However, I do have a world flags set, its just that its a virtual flag set. FlagPride

Flagpride markets a screensaver (yes there is a free demo version available, but it has the nagging feature of alternating the world flags with a "Buy Now" flag inserted between each one) I bought it several months ago and love it.

Oh and other than Crosstown Shootout Day which is a major cause for celebration in Cincinnati Ohio, the following are also taking place:

Ethiopian Epiphany (Timket) - Ethiopia
and the Ati-Atihan Festival is still going on in the Phillipines.

Lastly, did I mention "GO MUSKIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Welcome to January

Hello Blog:

I seem to have a real tough time actually composing entries for this blog. Oh well.

A few items out of my mail bag:

1) Are you interested in cultural and religious diversity - or do you just need a reason to celebrate everyday? If so, may I recommend Earth Calendar at

Its a web calendar that will show you what national and religious holidays happen to fall on today's date.

For example today is January 17, 2006 and the Earth Calendar tells me that it is Ati-Atihan Festival in the Phillipines. Combine that with software such as "AnswerBar" which allows you to alt click on a word to learn more about it and you can learn that Ati-Atihan is

The festival is held on the third week of January every year in Kalibo in the Aklan province on the island of Panay. The festival is to celebrate the arrival or gift of the Santo NiƱo by Magellan to the native Queen of Cebu in 1521 and is marked by frenzied merriment on the streets very similar to the Mardi Gras celebration in Brazil. - Source: Wikipedia

As I said if you have an interest in Diversity, have an interest in the world around you, need a reminder of local affairs, or just need a reason to go out and celebrate somethig, anything, look the day up on EarthCalendar and if you need an explanation, look it up in Wikipedia or Pretty cool net toy, don't you think.

BTW: The EarthCalendar tells me that tommorow (1/18/06) is still the Ati-Atihan festival plus it is also Revolution Day in Tunisia, Lima Foundation Week in Peru, and something called Maintenance Day in the United States of America. so get out there and to that routine maintenance you have been procrastinating on! :)


Along the lines of learning more about the world around you, how well do you know your world flags? You may want to brush up before the Winter Olympics next month. A friend of mine sent me this link:

It's a cute little game that tests your knowledge of world flags. I thought I had a good grasp on world flags, this little game prooved otherwise.


Now that we have had time to settle in on our New Year, why not let the kind folks at Jib Jab entertain you with Bush's Year In Review, just go to and click on 2-0-5.


Now on the coaster news scene, after all this is a coaster blog.

We can be thankful that Six Flags has decided to NOT follow through on their plans to eliminate the practice of re-entry. It seemed for about a week the buzz in Coaster Land was that the new owners of Six Flags were going to discontinue the practice of allowing customers to get their hand stamped so they could re-enter the park for free. Six Flags claimed it would boost attendance by improving park capacity (and when is the last time you were turned away from a Six Flags park because it was full?). The more cyncial amongst us beleive it had everything to do with turning you into a captive audience so you had to buy their low quality over priced food.


Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year

Happy New Year fromyour friend at Coasterville.

Peace, health and hapiness to you!