Undefeated Cincinnati hopes to end skid in Xavier rivalry series
Cincinnati (7-0) hasn't played since beating Florida Gulf Coast 99-62 on Sunday to match its best start since a 7-0 start to the 2017-18 season. With a win Saturday, not only would the Bearcats snap a four-game skid in the series, but they would also match their best start since the 2012-13 season.
The Bearcats haven't beaten the Musketeers at the Cintas Center since 2001 and have dropped nine straight on the Xavier campus. One of the most memorable moments of the rivalry happened at Cintas in 2011, when a brawl broke out at the end of the game.
"I remember the one when Cincinnati had Yancy Gates and Xavier had Kenny Frease and there was the big scuffle at Xavier," said Bearcats guard CJ Fredrick, a Cincinnati native who grew up watching the rivalry. "I remember watching that one and it was so competitive and so intense. It was also a fun and enjoyable game for me and my family.
"It's going to be a tough road environment. We know we're walking into a gym where they obviously don't like us. This is a big one for everybody. I think the team knows the importance of this game and the hype on it for sure."
Xavier (4-5) has struggled uncharacteristically at home, losing three straight, including nonconference games to mid-major opponents Oakland and Delaware.
Quincy Olivari scored 34 points in an 87-80 loss to Delaware on Tuesday night, the most points scored by a Xavier player since Trevon Blueitt scored 40 points at Cincinnati in the 2016-17 season.
"I'm part of the team, so if the team quits, that means I quit, also," Olivari said. "It starts with me being a better leader. Part of being a good player is being a great leader. If I didn't hold my end of the bargain in that area, I failed."
Xavier coach Sean Miller is 4-2 in the rivalry.
"We know who we're playing. We have to play our very best," Miller said. "I said it last year and I'll echo the same thing this year. Whether we're coming off a great performance or we're coming off a horrid performance like we had (vs. Delaware), we're gonna play the game. We're gonna have to be ready to go."
--Field Level Media
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|Min. Per Game|
|Pts. Per Game|
|Ast. Per Game|
|Reb. Per Game|
|Field Goal %|
|Three Point %|
|Free Throw %|
|D. Skillings Jr.||7||25.3||11.9||7.6||1.7||0.70||0.30||1.4||40.0||26.9||69.6||2.4||5.1|
|J. Newman III||7||26.1||9.7||4.6||1.6||1.10||0.10||0.9||54.3||43.8||68.8||1.3||3.3|