Crosstown Shootout

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2008 shootout logo

The Crosstown Shootout is an annual men's college basketball game played between the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. The two schools are separated by 3 miles (4.8 km) in Cincinnati, making the archrivalry the closest major rivalry in the country.[1] The game was first played in 1927, and has been played every year since 1946. In recent years, the game has been sponsored by Skyline Chili. UC currently leads the series with a record of 48–31, but Xavier has won 11 of the last 15.

Throughout its history, the game has been played at six different venues including the Armory Fieldhouse and Fifth Third Arena on the UC campus; and the Cintas Center and Schmidt Field House on the Xavier campus. However, the majority of the games have been played at two other sites—Cincinnati Gardens and U.S. Bank Arena. The Gardens has served as the regular home court for both schools at different times, and was even shared by both teams for a brief period in the late 1980s; U.S. Bank Arena was UC's home court from 1976–87 when it was known as Riverfront Coliseum.

The 2011 game was marred at the end by a bench-clearing brawl. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported on May 22, 2012 that due to the brawl, the game would be held at U.S. Bank Arena in the next two seasons. After those two games, the behavior of players and fans will be reevaluated, determining whether the series will continue.[2] On June 14, Both schools held a joint press conference at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center announcing that The annual rivalry will now be called "Skyline Chili Crosstown Classic" and will be held on December 19th at U.S. Bank Arena. Part of the proceeds from the game will now also benefit the Freedom Center. The teams say they wanted to return the emphasis of the game to the city and its riverfront. The changes will be in effect for a two year trial period with annual reassessments. a new logo will be made.[3]


Notable Games

1963-64: A series-high 45 points was scored by Xavier's Steve Thomas, but Cincinnati's Ron Bonham scored 35 en-route to a 94-92 Bearcats victory. [4] The 186 combined points is still the most in series history.

1996-97: The Cincinnati Bearcats were ranked #1 in the country and were largely considered frontrunners for the national championship by several media outlets, including Sports Illustrated. Xavier's Lenny Brown made a running one-hander at the buzzer to propel Xavier to a 71-69 win. Both teams made it to the NCAA Second Round. [4]

1999-00: Again the Bearcats were ranked #1 in the country. And again Xavier defeated Cincinnati 66-64 in the final moments of the game on two free throws and a breakaway dunk by Kevin Frey. [4] Both teams made the NCAA tournament.

2011-12: Xavier, ranked #8 in the country, handily beat the Bearcats 76-53. But the focus of the game was the bench-clearing brawl which resulted in the game ending with 9.4 seconds left and the subsequent suspensions of four Bearcat players and four Musketeer players. [5] Despite speculation that the rivalry would cease to exist following the brawl, UC President Greg Williams stated to the Sporting News, "Every indication is that we are going to play next year." [6] Both teams made it to the Sweet Sixteen of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.


The rivalry between Cincinnati and Xavier is regarded as one of the best in the game. The two schools' short distance apart has distinguished it as a proximity rivalry. From 1990 through 2011, the game alternated between Xavier's and Cincinnati's campus arenas on a yearly basis.[7] ESPN's Jay Bilas was quoted as saying, "Cincinnati and Xavier have created a rivalry that is unparalleled when it comes to outright passion and civic division." [8]

In 1990 a local TV station refused to interrupt their coverage of the Cincinnati-Xavier game for the 1990 State of the Union address . [9]

The game is widely regarded as one of the hottest tickets in town every year. Nick Lachey, a Cincinnati native and an avid Bearcats supporter, has been a regular at the Crosstown Shootout. The game is also regularly attended by local legends and sports icons Pete Rose and basketball great and former Bearcat Oscar Robertson.

College comparison

AffiliationCatholic (Jesuit)State of Ohio
School ColorsNavy Blue & WhiteRed & Black
ArenaThe Cintas CenterFifth Third Arena


SeasonResult [10]Site
2011–12Xavier76Cincinnati53Cintas Center
2010–11Cincinnati66Xavier46Fifth Third Arena
2009–10Xavier83Cincinnati79Cintas Center(2OT)
2008–09Xavier76Cincinnati66Fifth Third Arena
2007–08Xavier64Cincinnati59Cintas Center
2006–07Cincinnati67Xavier57Fifth Third Arena
2005–06Xavier73Cincinnati71Cintas Center(OT)
2004–05Cincinnati65Xavier54Fifth Third Arena
2003–04Xavier71Cincinnati69Cintas Center
2002–03Xavier50Cincinnati44Fifth Third Arena
2001–02Cincinnati75Xavier55Cintas Center
2000–01Xavier69Cincinnati67Fifth Third Arena
1999-00Xavier66Cincinnati64Cincinnati Gardens
1998–99Cincinnati87Xavier77Fifth Third Arena
1997–98Xavier88Cincinnati68Cincinnati Gardens
1996–97Xavier71Cincinnati69Fifth Third Arena
1995–96Cincinnati99Xavier90Cincinnati Gardens
1994–95Cincinnati87Xavier80Fifth Third Arena
1993–94Xavier82Cincinnati76Cincinnati Gardens(OT)
1992–93Cincinnati78Xavier67Fifth Third Arena
1991–92Cincinnati93Xavier75Cincinnati Gardens
1990–91Cincinnati69Xavier56Fifth Third Arena
1989–90Xavier90Cincinnati88Cincinnati Gardens(OT)
1988–89Cincinnati86Xavier76Cincinnati Gardens
1987–88Xavier98Cincinnati80Cincinnati Gardens
1986–87Cincinnati75Xavier73Riverfront Coliseum
1985–86Xavier80Cincinnati76Cincinnati Gardens
1984–85Xavier55Cincinnati52Riverfront Coliseum
1983–84Xavier72Cincinnati63Cincinnati Gardens
1982–83Cincinnati73Xavier58Riverfront Coliseum
1981–82Xavier53Cincinnati51Riverfront Coliseum
1980–81Cincinnati79Xavier72Riverfront Coliseum
1979–80Xavier77Cincinnati69Riverfront Coliseum
1978–79Cincinnati60Xavier58Riverfront Coliseum
1977–78Cincinnati59Xavier54Riverfront Coliseum
1976–77Cincinnati77Xavier68Riverfront Coliseum
1975–76Cincinnati81Xavier74Riverfront Coliseum
1974–75Cincinnati66Xavier57Cincinnati Gardens
1973–74Cincinnati68Xavier56Cincinnati Gardens
1972–73Cincinnati78Xavier68Cincinnati Gardens
1971–72Cincinnati76Xavier71Cincinnati Gardens
1970–71Xavier66Cincinnati65Cincinnati Gardens
1969–70Cincinnati85Xavier72Cincinnati Gardens
1968–69Cincinnati52Xavier50Cincinnati Gardens
1967–68Xavier72Cincinnati71Cincinnati Gardens
1966–67Cincinnati79Xavier69Cincinnati Gardens(OT)
1965–66Cincinnati67Xavier62Cincinnati Gardens
1964–65Cincinnati102Xavier72Cincinnati Gardens
1963–64Cincinnati94Xavier92Cincinnati Gardens
1962–63Cincinnati72Xavier61Cincinnati Gardens
1961–62Cincinnati61Xavier58Cincinnati Gardens
1960–61Cincinnati89Xavier53Cincinnati Gardens
1959–60Cincinnati85Xavier68Cincinnati Gardens
1958–59Cincinnati92Xavier66Cincinnati Gardens
1957–58Cincinnati80Xavier68Cincinnati Gardens
Cincinnati79Xavier68Armory Fieldhouse
1956–57Cincinnati69Xavier57Armory Fieldhouse
Xavier88Cincinnati62Cincinnati Gardens
1955–56Xavier79Cincinnati72Armory Fieldhouse(OT)
Cincinnati71Xavier66Cincinnati Gardens
1954–55Cincinnati70Xavier69Armory Fieldhouse
Xavier67Cincinnati64Cincinnati Gardens
1953–54Cincinnati81Xavier76Cincinnati Gardens
Cincinnati77Xavier58Cincinnati Gardens
1952–53Xavier70Cincinnati68Cincinnati Gardens
Xavier81Cincinnati78Cincinnati Gardens
1951–52Cincinnati68Xavier63Cincinnati Gardens
Xavier77Cincinnati70Cincinnati Gardens
1950–51Cincinnati81Xavier66Cincinnati Gardens
Cincinnati83Xavier70Cincinnati Gardens
1949–50Cincinnati59Xavier48Cincinnati Gardens
Xavier54Cincinnati53Cincinnati Gardens
1948–49Cincinnati57Xavier46Cincinnati Gardens
Xavier71Cincinnati64Schmidt Field House
1947–48Cincinnati52Xavier45Schmidt Field House
1946–47Cincinnati76Xavier51Schmidt Field House
1945–46Cincinnati53Xavier39Schmidt Field House
1942–43Xavier51Cincinnati37Schmidt Field House
1927–28Xavier29Cincinnati25Schmidt Field House


  1. ^ The accuracy of this statement depends on the definition of a "major rivalry". The conferences of the teams in the Crosstown Shootout—the Atlantic 10 (Xavier) and Big East (Cincinnati)—are generally considered as "major" basketball conferences. However, a number of other pairs of NCAA Division I schools are at least as close to one another as are Cincinnati and Xavier:
    • Belmont University and Lipscomb University, both mid-major schools in Nashville, are slightly closer to one another than are Cincinnati and Xavier. They have an active rivalry in most sports; the men's and women's basketball version is known as the "Battle of the Boulevard".
    • Belmont is even closer to the city's one major program, Vanderbilt University—the two schools' arenas are less than 1.5 miles (2.4 km) apart by road. However, they do not regularly play in basketball.
    • Vanderbilt and Tennessee State University, yet another Nashville mid-major, are about the same distance apart as are Cincinnati and Xavier. However, this pair also does not regularly play in basketball.
    • In the Boston area, Boston University is about 2 miles (3.2 km) (as measured by arena-to-arena distance) from two of its biggest rivals—Harvard University and Northeastern University. In basketball, all three schools are considered mid-majors. However, in ice hockey, these schools are all major programs, and along with Boston College have a storied rivalry that manifests itself in the annual Beanpot tournament.
    • The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) and Drexel University, also regarded as mid-majors, directly adjoin one another in Philadelphia. However, since Drexel is not part of the five-way Philadelphia-area rivalry known as the Big 5, it does not play Penn or the other Philadelphia schools every season. None of the Big 5 schools are as close to one another as UC and Xavier.
  2. ^ Koch, Bill (May 22, 2012). "Exclusive: Crosstown Shootout set for U.S. Bank Arena". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Crosstown Shootout Gets New Name, Venue". Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "Best rivalries: Cincinnati-Xavier". 
  5. ^ "UC players apologize for bench-clearing brawl". 
  6. ^ "Cincinnati-Xavier rivalry game likely to continue". 
  7. ^ "Crosstown Shootout: A Cincinnati Tradition". Retrieved 2012. 
  8. ^ "Crosstown Shootout: A Cincinnati Tradition". 
  9. ^ O'Neil, Dana. "Great rivalries are made of this...". 
  10. ^ "Unofficial Crosstown Shootout Website".