Brad: It's Shootout week now, and I'm trying to get excited about this one. Start with something easy enough to get us all ready to roll: what's your favorite Shootout moment? I have a hard time looking past Lloyd Price picking Steve Logan at mid court, but there are so many to choose from.
Bryan: So many to choose from, but for me the best would have to be Lionel's step back in '04 or Tu taking over at the end of regulation and OT in '09. Dee's three a couple of years ago definitely belongs in the pantheon, but I am sure Joel is about to hit us with about 1,000 words and a watercolor of that shot, so I will leave that to him. Here's hoping for another moment to add to the archive this year.
Paul: For me it was definitely Chalmers shot. Back then I didnt have cable so I had to listen to the shootouts on the radio. While I would have preferred to see it on TV, theres something special about listening to a game winning call on the radio as well. That year also has significance as the first time I truly followed a Xavier team start to finish, and it got me hooked for life. The other one was the double OT game in 2009. The thing I remember most about it was how chippy it got, these teams truly didnt like each other and thats the way I loved to see the game played. Unfortunately we saw that in a much worse light the next year, but I thought 2009 was crosstown shootout at its best.
Brad: I was talking to a UC fan yesterday, and he mentioned the 09 Shootout for that same reason. It seemed like Dante spent the entire game just getting everyone on edge. I like to see that in a Shootout, so long as it stops just before the where people start throwing hammers. We had just moved the day of The Brawl and I didn't even have tv hooked up yet. It was one of those things that sounded so odd coming through the radio that it just didn't even register.
Paul: The brawl was unfortunate, but especially so because it overshadowed the fact that Xavier won by the biggest margin in over 50 years. In some ways, I think that game solidified XU as the team to beat in Cincy. They came in the favorite and completely dominated start to finish, something even Huggins was rarely able to do.
Joel: My first favorite Shootout was the 99-00 game, which you might remember as the Kevin Frey game. I remember a desperate finish in the open court and a delighted sprint back, arms wheeling like a windmill trying to escape its moorings. If that's not how it went down, don't tell me differently; I like my memory.
The Shootout has been kind to my favorite players. I was always Lenny in the driveway. Then I was Kevin Frey. I was too old (and too big) to be Dee Davis, but I think my position on him has been fairly well documented.
Anyway, the Dee Davis game is objectively the best Shootout. Let's break it down. First, the guy was like 5'10", 140. I know he was listed as more, but be real. Second, he was a senior and - while maybe the fourth-best player on the team - an unquestionable emotional leader. Third, not only did the opponent's scouting report not focus on him, it actively said to walk away from him at the arc.
Factor in all that, and then consider that Dee destroyed UC all night long. His shooting line - which I don't need to look up - was 5-8/5-5/1-2. He had 8 assists. He turned it over once. All that and then, with the game in the balance, Coach Mack called his number and he answered the bell with the biggest shot of his or any other life. Oh, and it was on the road. It was the best game, bar none.
Brad: I should have known you would pick the Dee Davis game, given you always set a place for him at family Thanksgiving "just in case." Somewhat obviously, all of our memories come from wins. Xavier is in the really unfamiliar position of being the underdog in this game this year, what is going to be the one thing that determines whether the Musketeers pull this thing out?
Paul: I think this one comes down to 3P shooting. UC has a great defense, but if you can move the ball around and hit shots it breaks down. Rhode Island shot 40% from 3, scored 76 and beat them by 5. Butler Shot 40% from 3, scored 75 and beat them by 10. Marshall shot 44% from 3, scored 91 in OT and lost by only 2. UC still doesn't have a great offense, so if we hit our shots we win. If we struggle from behind the arch its a toss up.
Bryan: In both UC losses this year, the opponent has gone 40% from 3 and 80% or better from the line. That has not been our MO this year, but it bears mentioning. The other thing the losses have in common is that neither team allowed UC their typical dominance on the glass. URI, an only slightly better offensive rebounding team than X, got back 48% of their misses, and Butler, a worse defensive rebounding team than X, only allowed UC to get back 28% of their misses. If we shoot well we can win, but even if we don't, UC can be had on the boards- it just doesn't happen often.