Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Top college hoops city? We're No. 1

Magazine sees passion for UC, XU

By John Erardi
Enquirer staff writer

Sorry, Raleigh-Durham and Lexington. You, too, Storrs, Conn., with your men's and women's national champions.

Cincinnati is the top college basketball city in America. So proclaims Sporting News magazine in its Aug. 9 issue.

"When you consider that between the University of Cincinnati and Xavier, their two buildings played to 97 percent capacity last year - even on the same night when they were both at home - and how good those programs are, and how when they meet, it's the toughest ticket in town ... well, that's why we chose Cincinnati," Sporting News executive editor Bob Hille said.

"Who would even be second?" UC assistant coach Andy Kennedy said. "On any given night, you could have 13,176 in The Shoe, and you could have over 10,000 at Cintas."

UC was 24th in the nation in attendance last season (12,805). Xavier was 46th (9,902).

"Coming from (North Carolina) State, I've got the feeling in my three years here that college basketball is as important here as it is there," XU coach Sean Miller said. "And a lot of people there look at that area as the pinnacle of college basketball."

Hille said it's also hard to top the region, which includes Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Lexington, Louisville and Bloomington, Ind.

"UC-Xavier is a little bit of an under-the-radar sort of thing," he said. "True fans know what kind of job (UC coach Bob) Huggins has done, and they know Xavier is tough no matter who is the coach."



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