Xavier-UK destined for date in Puerto Rico

Wednesday, August 5, 1998

The Cincinnati Enquirer

You can date the Xavier-Kentucky basketball series by world conflicts. The last meeting came during the height of the Vietnam War. XU's last victory came before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

That could change Thanksgiving weekend. Should XU and UK each win opening-round games in the Puerto Rico Shootout, they would meet for the first time in 30 years.

The Shootout, Nov. 26-28 in San Juan, has released its first-round matchups:

UK vs. Colorado and XU vs. Pittsburgh in the top bracket;

UCLA vs. San Francisco and Maryland vs. American-Puerto Rico in the bottom bracket.

Should UK and XU both win -- or lose -- they would meet Nov. 27. UK leads the series with XU 37-2, including a 115-77 victory in their last meeting, Nov. 30, 1968, in UK's Memorial Coliseum.

UK has won the last 25 meetings. XU's last victory in the series was a 49-44 decision Jan. 25, 1941, in UK's old Alumni Gym.

Both teams will be favored in their openers.

UK (35-4), the defending national champion, faces a Colorado team (13-14) that finished seventh in the Big 12 last year.

XU (22-8) gets a Pittsburgh team that went 11-16 but returns all five starters, including 6-foot-5 senior guard Vonteego Cummings (19.5 ppg, 5.9 assists, 4.1 rebounds), a preseason John Wooden Award candidate.

UK has never played Colorado. XU is 2-2 against Pittsburgh, though the teams haven't met since 1986.

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