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More on the future of the Kentucky and Indiana rivalry

May 1, 2012, 5:12 PM EDT

John Calipari

On Monday, we wrote about a story that has been festering on the Kentucky and Indiana message boards but hadn’t exactly seen the light of day nationally quite yet.

Well, that changed Tuesday, as the potential disbandment of the Indiana-Kentucky rivalry — a game that has been played annually since the 60’s and has existed since the 20’s — went viral. CBS, Yahoo! and ESPN wrote on the topic, and the general consensus is obvious: we understand the issues, but we want you to fix them and figure out a way to keep this game on the schedule.

“The Kentucky game is still being talked about worked on, but it’s not set in stone because, as many of you know, Kentucky doesn’t want to play on our campus anymore and that’s certainly not our first choice,” Crean told the Associated Press on Friday. “Keeping it on campus is without a doubt our first choice and always has been since I’ve been here.”

Can you blame Kentucky?

Indiana is one of the best teams in the country heading into the 2012-2013 season and coming off of a year where they won 18 of 19 games at Assembly Hall. Why would Kentucky opt to play in that gym? Why would they want to enter that environment? With an expanded conference schedule (18 games), non-conference games against North Carolina and Louisville and a spot in the Champions Classic event, do the Wildcats really need another tough road game?

Coach Cal knows how to schedule and he knows when he is putting his team into a bad situation with too many difficult games.

And while Kentucky is the one that comes out looking selfish in this situation, keep in mind that the reason that Crean wants to keep the games being played on campus is the precise reason that Coach Cal doesn’t: Indiana is a dangerous team in front of their own fans. Why would Crean make the decision to give up that home court advantage against a rival?

And, of course, there’s the money.

“It has to be a win-win for both, and no one here is excited about taking it off campus,” Crean said, “but that doesn’t mean it won’t get done. It’s gotta be, no question, it’s gotta be a way two-way street. No one here ever had any intention of moving off campus, and obviously the finances play a part of it.”

Of course they do.

The bottom-line is this: Crean and Calipari don’t have the final say in this matter (that comes down to the Athletic Directors), but they do have quite a bit of sway. They’ve also spent a grand total of seven years at their respective posts; Calipari won the national title in his third season with Kentucky while Crean got Indiana back into the NCAA tournament in his fourth season in Bloomington.

This rivalry has been played every season since 1969, when Calipari was 10 and Crean was just three.

There is a historical significance to this game, which only makes the rivalry that much more intense given that Kentucky and Indiana are currently sitting on top of the college hoops world.

Hopefully, these Calipari and Crean — Pennsylvania and Michigan natives, respectively — recognize that.

We’ve already lost so much in college sports due to money and greed. The Border War between Kansas and Missouri may never be played again after Missouri bolted for the SEC’s money. Syracuse and Pitt were so concerned about the implosion of the Big East that they jumped the gun exiting the league, heading to the ACC where they will no longer wage conference battles against Georgetown and West Virginia, respectively.

Please, don’t let an argument about money end this rivalry.

Because, with the direction the two programs are headed, this is rivalry is about to become a top three regular season game. Every year.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

  1. salmondude - May 2, 2012 at 7:23 AM


  2. cranespy - May 2, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Granny always said that if the dog bites you the first time it’s the dog’s fault!

  3. werdnawow - May 2, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    One important distinction that this article fails to point out is that Crean doesn’t always want the game to be played at IU.

    Crean wants to keep the alternating system where the game is played at UK one year and then at IU the next. It would actually benefit UK to keep this system this year, since the game would be played at UK. Cal wants the game to always be played at a neutral site, which would cause logistical problems. For starters, where would you play the game? Not Louisville, which is pretty much between the two. Definitely not Indianapolis, which would essentially be a home game for IU. That leaves Cincinnati, which doesn’t really have the venue for it (UC’s arena is too small and the other major sports venues are outdoors), or somewhere completely out of the way, which would make it difficult for students to attend since the game is traditionally played at the beginning of finals week.

    I’m also not really sure what Cal hopes to gain by moving it to a neutral site. Yes, UK would avoid playing at IU, but they would also lose the home court advantage that comes every other year. Any competitive advantage they gain would be balanced out by the loss of that home game.

    • kingghidora - May 3, 2012 at 12:08 AM

      They don’t need to play IU. There are 100 teams that would love to play UK home and home. And they wouldn’t attack UK fans who showed up at the games. These people won’t tell you the truth. Bloomington is a place for thugs and psychos. Here’s a story about one IU student I knew once. He was nearly part of the IU football team but a motorcycle wreck messed him up and he couldn’t play.

      This is just one of a long list of crimes by this creep. He spent several years in prison over this one for using dogs to protect his “cash crop”. This guy was the boyfriend of my wife’s cousin. Wow what a head case he was. I could tell stories all day about him. And I knew his IU student friends too. They were all a lot like him.

      • werdnawow - May 5, 2012 at 2:58 PM

        Gotcha. You knew a guy who was a “creep.” That definitely is relevant to a discussion regarding the IU-UK game. If anything, the fact that you know a habitual criminal and all his criminal friends speaks more about you than it does IU. Yes, sometimes there are students at IU who get arrested for doing bad things, just like the are at UK, Louisville, OSU, Florida, UCLA, or any other bigger school. I once saw something on TV about a UK fan who raped a girl. By your logic, it stands to reason that all UK fans are rapists. Except we all know thats not true (at least I hope it’s not true, I don’t personally keep an eye on all UK fans 24/7 so in theory they could be! What a scandal!).

        And congrats that there are 100 teams that would love to play UK home and home. Do they all have the tradition that the IU-UK game does? You know, two of the top teams historically that have played each other every year for decades?

        Also, just to be clear regarding the IU fans “attacking” UK fans at last years game: The UK fans were accusing the IU fans of throwing beer at them and batteries at the players as they left the court. Assembly Hall (IU’s basketball arena) doesn’t serve beer and the game was at night, meaning that the IU fans would not throw those batteries (they need them to power their flashlights so all the creeps didn’t get them as they walked home in the dark).

        I’m not sure why you took my comment to be anti-UK and therefore felt the need to start attacking IU fans and pounding your chest like you are the lone defender of UK’s honor. Comments like yours are the reason that there can almost never be any kind of thoughtful discussion in the comments section. I was just trying to provide what I thought was an unbiased analysis of the issue. Thanks for your contribution.

  4. imforbigblue - May 2, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    Yeah UK is so scared oh IU. Don’t get it twisted IU fans for years IU has been UKs bitch just because you got lucky and hit a last second shot to beat UK doesn’t mean anything because when it counted in the turny UK sent your asses packing and took home the title

  5. kingghidora - May 3, 2012 at 12:01 AM

    Oh gee the national champions are scared of mighty IU which has had exactly one good season out of the last 10. Yeah right. You know the real reason for the hesitation of UK to go back to Bloomington. You just won’t write about it because it gives you a chance to bash UK, one of your favorite hobbies.

    The near riot at Bloomington is the reason UK will not go back there. People got hurt but you ignore that. You don’t want to admit there’s a real reason no sane coach would want to take a UK team there. Maybe you don’t remember Mike Davis telling the world that he hates UK. Maybe you don’t remember Bob Knight refusing to even say the word Kentucky until public pressure forced him to. He never even picked them to make the sweet 16. And IU fans idolize that insane jerk. And you think he’s cute with his filthy language and barbaric attacks on people. You’re the kind that thinks the mafia is cool because they get to kill people.

    Well UK has NEVER been like IU. They are not thugs. They don’t attack women, knocking them down a flight of stairs and breaking their leg. They don’t spit on them. They don’t scream obscene names at them. They don’t push them. They don’t steal their purses. They don’t throw drinks at them. I understand that you fit right in with that crowd but UK is a civilized place. You might try it some day. It might keep some insane IU fan from breaking your neck jumping over rows of seated fans to rush the floor. I’m pretty sure it would keep UK players from having to fight to get off the floor and yes punches were thrown at attacking IU fans.

    Go ahead and cover up the truth. The whole world knows you for what you are. Blown up any pickup trucks lately? It would be nice to see real reporting here but I’m not holding my breath. And UK is never going back to Bloomington. Bash away. And the Cats will carry home a whole set of titles to go with the 8 they already have. Chew on that Fido.

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