CINCINNATI -- Father Michael Graham is an avid sports fan who likes to reminiscence about his time as a graduate student at Georgetown, working games as a young Jesuit student at the old Cap Center during the Patrick Ewing era in the mid-1980s.
He loves being the president of Xavier and cheering on the Musketeers.
But he was ready to move past the Crosstown Classic game against Cincinnati. He wanted to move on, get a year or more past the black mark that last season's brawl at the Cintas Center put on the rivalry.
"There was talk early on that they should cancel this game altogether,'' said Graham, earlier Wednesday in a conference room at the Cintas Center in a meeting with Cincinnati president Santa Ono.
"But our point of view is that this game doesn't belong to us. This is a community tradition and it belongs to the community. We needed to remind everybody of this. It's good for Cincinnati and is one of the great rivalries in the country.''
Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin wasn't at the meeting, but he picked up on the theme of Graham's comment from somewhere else. Minutes after shaking Xavier coach Chris Mack's hand following UC's 60-45 victory at neutral U.S. Bank Arena, Cronin proclaimed where the rivalry should be played -- every year.
"I don't know how anybody doesn't say this wasn't off the chart," said Cronin, a native of the Queen City. "It reminded me of the Final Four when Louisville played Kentucky. It was the way it should be."
For Andy Katz's full story, click here.