After an absence of 13 years, the University of Dayton and University of Cincinnati basketball teams get back on the floor Saturday night in Cincinnati in something call the Hoops Classic as the Flyers (7-2) seek to notch a big belt win against the Bearcats (8-1).
Dayton, OH – There was a time when the University of Dayton and the University of Cincinnati met on the basketball floor every year, as regularly as the arrival of Christmas Eve.
Although the two teams have met 91 times and UC leads the series 60-31, they haven’t met in 13 years.
The last game didn’t end well for the Flyers, a 60-34 defeat in November of 2010.
The rivalry resumes Saturday night in something called the Hoops Classic, supposedly on a neutral site.
Neutral? Yeah, right. The game will be played at Heritage Bank Arena, a facility next door to Great American Ball Park, where lights from downtown Cincinnat blaze through the arena’s windows.
But be assured that the Flyer Faithfull will be in full force to help fill the 17,556-seat building.
“It’s finals week and we got to take care of that first,” said UD’s DaRon Holmes II after his last game – 23 points, 17 rebounds, five dunks, three blocked shots, four assists, a steal. . .everything but a partridge in a pear tree. “Then we’ll lock in for the game. We understand the opportunity in front of us, as we do every game. We’re very excited and we are going to do our thing.”
This one is a bit more win worthy, not only because of the renewal of the game, but it is an opportunity for the Flyers to obtain a Quad One win for its NCAA resume’.”
Kobe Elvis, scorer of 24 points in last Saturday’s win over Troy, admitted some special emphasis applies to this game.
“It’s always nice to get to go against somebody close to home, test the waters, see what we’re capable of doing,” he said. “We got to test ourselves against Houston, LSU and St. John’s. . .those are the games we live for.
“Everybody is going to lock in hard this week when it comes to playing Cincinnati,” he said.
And about the Flyer Faithful?
“They will be there in full force,” said Holmes. “And we already know what it’s going to be. . .Dayton is going to take over. That’s what Dayton is about. That’s our identity.”
The Bearcats are 8-1, but have beaten nobody of significance, unless one calls Georgia Tech and Florida Gulf Coast notables. UC’s one loss was to Xavier, 84-79, last Saturday in their annual Crosstown Shootout.
When it comes to ‘The Shootout,’ UC shoots blanks. The Bearcats have lost five straight to Xavier.
Dayton-Xavier is another long-time rivalry that went by the way-side after 137 games when ‘X’ pulled the plug after the 2013 season. The Flyers won that last game, 70-59. But they met once since then, an appearance in an Orlando, FL. tournament game in 2015 won by Xavier, 90-61.
Dayton’s Flyers are 7-2 this season with glossy wins over LSU and St. John’s and defeats to Northwestern (7-1, the loss in “overtime to Purdue) and Houston (10-0).
About renewing acquaintances with UC, UD coah Anthony Grant said, “It will be challenging for our guys. We had an unplanned week between games last week with the events (in Las Vegas). And now we have another week, so this week will be a little different with finals, papers and projects and some different things that will be on their plates.
“So we’ll give them time to make sure they finish strong from an academic standpoint at the end of the semester,” he added. “Yeah, I’m excited about the game. It will be a great game for both fan bases. Everybody is excited about it. It will be real good for our team.
“They (UC) are off to a great start, so we’ll get as prepared as we can and we’ll get our guys ready. They are excited about the opportunity.”
The Flyers had a week off last week because Wednesday’s scheduled game in UD Arena against UNLV was canceled after a shooting on the UNLV campus saw three people killed.
“Our thoughts and prayers went with UNLV and their families and they remain there,” said Grant. “It’s a tragedy. From a personal standpoint, it’s becoming redundant to have to continue to say that we have these unfortunate incidents in our country as a result of gun violence. It’s. . .I don’t have words, you know. . .just so many lives have been impacted in just this year alone. And it doesn’t seem like we’re willing to do anything to change it. It. . .it breaks your heart for people, just breaks your heart.”