Both Xavier and the University of Cincinnati basketball teams are in the preseason Top 25 coaches poll released today, with Xavier checking in at No. 15 and the Bearcats at No. 22. North Carolina received 31 of the possible 32 first-place votes to take the top spot, with Kentucky, Ohio State, UConn and Syracuse rounding out the top five.
Xavier is the only ranked Atlantic 10 team, while UC is joined by Big East foes UConn (No. 4), Syracuse (5), Louisville (8), Pittsburgh (11) and Marquette (21).
Xavier returns leading scorer and Third Team Associated Press All-American Tu Holloway (mentioned here in our Cool Issue fall preview guide), who worked out for NBA scouts this spring but decided to return to X for his senior season.currently suspended for not acting like Musketeers are supposed to act on and off the court, but he'll be back before the season starts.
Senior Yancy Gates, a preseason Big East Second Team selection, will lead an experienced group of Bearcats that includes junior point guard Cashmere Wright, senior Dion Dixon and sophomore Sean Kilpatrick. Coach Mick Cronin expects a couple of incoming players to play quality minutes as well. Here's one argument that UC is about to have a cool season.
It's likely that both teams will be ranked even higher by the time the Crosstown Shootout comes around Dec. 10. This year the 'Cats will make the 3-mile drive over to Xavier for the game after winning at home 66-46 last season.