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Xavier, Cincy Head in Different Ways

Amanda Davidson/Cincinnati Enquirer

A month ago, Xavier's Chris Mack coached the eighth-best team in college basketball, led by a point guard some believed to be the best player in the country. Now, Mack quotes Friedrich Nietzsche and calls his team's offense "pathetic.''

A month ago, Cincinnati's Mick Cronin coached an underachieving band of players who had lost at home to Presbyterian and Marshall. The team's preseason Top 25 ranking looked farcical. Now, Cronin is seen as a coolheaded statesman, a brilliant tactician and a Coach of the Year candidate in the Big East.

What occurred on Dec. 10, with 9.4 seconds left in the annual Crosstown Shootout, was a season-changing brawl for the Cincinnati Bearcats and Xavier Musketeers. Benches cleared, punches flew. It was a black eye for the sport and everyone involved. Literally, in the case of Xavier center Kenny Frease, who took a right cross to...

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