Wes Miller says Xavier isn’t ‘just another game’

For 13 seasons, former University of Cincinnati men's basketball coach Mick Cronin did little to add fuel to the already heated Bearcats' rivalry with foe Xavier University before the annual Crosstown Shootout.

While fellow former Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins and his players, especially Terry Nelson, embraced the tension in and around the Crosstown Shootout, Cronin, at least publicly, didn't want to bill the annual showdown as anything other than just another game.

Wes Miller isn't Cronin.

Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Wes Miller paces the sideline in the second half of an NCAA men's college basketball game against the Monmouth Hawks, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati. The Monmouth Hawks won, 61-59.

The first-year UC basketball coach on Wednesday wasted little time pushing his chips to the center of the table and going all in on the rivalry with the Musketeers, saying, “I’ll never sit here and say, ‘It’s just another game.’"

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"I've heard (about) it every day since the day I got here, which is neat," Miller said. "I've always, and I've been really clear on this from day one, rivalries energize me. They excite me. I really enjoyed playing in big rivalries as a player. I've really enjoyed coaching in them as a coach. This is one of the greatest rivalries in sports. So I'm going to embrace it and dive two feet into it. It's a big week and we're excited about it. You can feel the energy within our program."

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