It’s a premise so simple that this opening paragraph is almost insulting: if you could guarantee that Xavier would beat a team every time they met, from now until forever, who would you take? I’ll lay out four possibilities below; feel free to tell me which one you’d take or if you’d take another team entirely in the comments.
Is this the first team that popped into your head when you saw the question? The appeal of this one is simple but profound; there’s nothing more fun than running the city and reminding UC fans of it. The game is always intense, and - despite lip service in the run up to it about how it might be like other games - it clearly means a lot to the players and the coaches.
Plus it gave us “zip ‘em up.” Let ‘em know, Tu:
“It’s my city right here. I’m cut from a different cloth; none of them guys on that team is like me.” I guess what I’m saying is that this would be a really good choice even though these teams only play once a year.
Screw these guys and their stupid dog. Screw their lovable mid-major shtick, “the Butler Way,” and that stupid barn they play their games in. Screw their scoreboard clock and their water fountains. I don’t like these guys at all, and I find pretty much everything about them annoying. I wonder if anyone on the team shares my feelings towards them...
Fun story about that dunk: earlier in that game, JP had gone up for a dunk and gotten fouled pretty hard. He missed it, and my twitter mentions blew up with Butler fans mocking the fact that “Macura thought he could dunk!” It got really quiet when he needlessly tomahawked on them.
This is a nod to a bygone era. I suspect there will come a time when the antipathy between Xavier fans and Dayton fans fades into Bolivian, Mike Tyson style. Not that many years ago though, there wasn’t anything quite like thumping our little cousins up 75 and then telling them about it. Maybe that 90-61 Advocare score was the last gasp of this one. I understand you if you pick Dayton here, but I don’t agree with you.
I don’t hate Nova that much. Barely hate them at all, really, except in the perfunctory manner in which you’re supposed to hate conference opponents that beat you. Really I just mostly respect the fairly quiet way they go about their business, following the tone set by their sartorially excellent head coach. I wasn’t in love with the media giving Ryan Arcidiacono the David Eckstein treatment, but that was hardly his fault.
The thing about being able to lock in wins against Nova is that it guarantees you two or three really, really good wins a year. Can you imagine cruising into Selection Sunday with your best wins section on the resume headed by Nova, @ Nova, Nova (neutral)? That would stack up quite nicely every year. This isn’t the most viscerally satisfying pick, but it might be the most pragmatic.