Basketball teams face crucial tests

Weekend home games are big test, while men's tennis returns to court and rifle aims for NCAAs | February 7, 2003

The men’s basketball team faces one of its toughest challenges of the season this weekend when it hosts the University of Dayton on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 2:00 p.m. The No. 19 Musketeers are 16-4 overall and 7-1 in the Atlantic 10 Conference, while Dayton is 16-3 overall and 8-0 in the conference. Both teams are entering the game with extended winning streaks, with Xavier winning its last seven games and Dayton winning its last nine games. The winner of the game grabs control of the Atlantic 10 west division as well as the Blackburn/McCafferty Trophy, which has been awarded to the regular season winner since 1980-81. Xavier leads the "trophy series," which is sponsored by Franklin Savings, 22-14. While Dayton will be a major test, the Musketeers have the home court advantage, and the home team has won 14 of the last 15 meetings between the two teams. Xavier is also 36-3 at home since the Cintas Center opened three seasons ago, including 13-1 records in each of its first two seasons and 10-1 so far this season. Xavier has not lost two games at home in a season since the 1995-96 season, its first in the Atlantic 10. See the game notes for more information on the series, the game and to see updated statistics. Also this weekend, the women's basketball team hosts two A-10 games, against Richmond on Friday. Feb. 7 and against George Washington on Sunday, Feb. 9. Both games can be heard on the athletic department web site. Xavier enters the Richmond game 14-6 overall and in second place in the A-10 West with a 6-3 record, while Richmond is also 14-6 overall, but 5-4 in the A-10 and in third place in the division. Xavier is ranked No. 38 in the Top 50 from womenscollegehoops.com, as well as No. 24 by WBCA/Summerville RPI Report and No. 23 on collegerpi.com. Game notes for the Richmond game can be read in a PDF format. While the men’s and women’s basketball teams are battling it out, the fans are getting into the action as well. Both Xavier and the University of Dayton are collecting donations of food, clothing, household items and cash for local charities as part of the fourth annual Fill-A-Truck challenge. The university that has the greatest weight in donations wins the Drive 75 trophy (named after the interstate shared by both schools) and bragging rights for a year. The event is sponsored by Xavier’s student athletic advisory council. This is the first year for the challenge with Dayton. "The competition between the schools adds a twist," says Dawn Rogers, senior associate athletic director. "It’s another way to remind people to bring stuff to the game. Our fans have been tremendous in their generosity. Last year we collected $1,400 in cash donations and filled up the floor of a semi truck." Xavier is collecting its items this weekend during basketball games. The department of athletics is also accepting donations during the days prior to the games. Cash donations collected by Xavier are being given to the Neediest Kids of All, an organization that helps underprivileged children. Food, clothing and household items collected are being given to Matthew 25 Ministries, a nondenominational humanitarian relief group, the Drop Inn Center, a homeless shelter, and St. Jude Appalachian Missionary. And, on Saturday, the rifle team shoots for a place in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament at the NCAA qualifier match in Columbus, Ohio. That starts at 8:00 a.m. The men’s tennis team is also back on the courts for the first time since the winter break, traveling to Michigan State University for two matches on Saturday, taking on DePaul at noon and then Michigan State at 4:00 p.m. The team put together a 3-1 record before the break.