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Losing IU-UK another step towards regular season irrelevance

May 4, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

NCAA Kentucky Indiana Basketball

At the end of the day, it is pointless to blame anyone for the end — temporary or not — of the Kentucky-Indiana rivalry. John Calipari doesn’t want to play non-conference games in road environments. He just doesn’t, and he never will, and nothing that Tom Crean or Indiana or, well, anyone could tell him to change his mind. He’s concerned about one thing: the success of his program, and he’ll do whatever he can to help his program regardless of the costs to fans or the game as a whole.

Calipari does not back down. Ever. And in this case, he ran into another coach that simply was not going to be backed down or bullied. Tom Crean wanted this game played on home courts, and it didn’t matter if the first two games of the series were going to be played in Indiana. He wasn’t going to get pushed around by anyone, especially not the coach from down in Lexington.

Instead of working out a way to make this game happen, two stubborn, bull-headed (and successful) coaches refused to concede anything, and it cost us what could have turned into one of, if not the best regular season game of each and every season.

Think about it: Kentucky and Indiana have two of the nation’s largest and most passionate fan bases. They could play this game in Guam and it would sell out each and every season, regardless of how good the two programs are. What makes matters worse is that both UK and IU are currently peaking. Every preseason poll is going to have the two programs in the top three in the country, and the majority will have them No. 1 and No. 2. With the way Calipari recruits, Kentucky will always be in that position, but Crean has been bringing in his fair share of talent and has plenty committed to play for the Hoosiers in the future.

Kentucky and Indiana had the best finish of the 2011-2012 season in the best environment of the year (a game that just so happened to take place in December) before taking part in the 2012 tournament’s most entertaining game.

And therein lies the shame.

College basketball is dangerously close to becoming a three-week sport. The regular season already borderlines on meaningless for the majority of casual fans. Few pay attention to the games that are played in November or December. More start paying attention once football ends in early February.

One way to combat that problem is to schedule more marquee games early in the season, limiting the number of 40 point blowouts we see prior to conference play. But now, not only are we going to lose IU-UK, it also appears as if the UK-UNC series will end.

There is no requirement for these two programs to play. Calipari and Crean are allowed to run their programs in the best way that they see fit. But their inability to settle their differences is just the latest example of middle-aged men destroying some of college basketball’s biggest game.

Kansas and Missouri will no longer play thanks to Missouri’s departure for the SEC. Pitt and Syracuse heading to the ACC ends their rivalries against West Virginia and Georgetown. And now we lose UNC-UK and IU-UK. In a sport where marquee matchups are fairly rare, eight must-see games just got wiped from the schedule.

But hey, at least Rupp Arena and Assembly Hall will be sold out while Kentucky and Indiana beat up on Gardner-Webb and North Carolina-Central, respectively.

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

  1. creek0512 - May 4, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    IU will start a series with Kansas or Louisville now.

  2. metalhead65 - May 4, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    so in addition to not wanting to take a chance on losing to IU he is also ending the N.Carolina game? not scared of a little competition are you calipari? and to that schools fans,while the series with you was a good and heated one you guys were never IU’s main rivalry. sorry to burst your bubble but that has always been and will always be Purdue. IU will get by just fine without you on the schedule. and make sure you keep all the souviners of your national championship from last year as when they bust calipari again for cheating as with his other schools that will be all you have of them . and please do not bother comparing the actions of one crooked coach at IU for the years of rampant cheating at your school. there is a differance in being put on probation once than multiple times in your case.

  3. kingghidora - May 5, 2012 at 4:35 AM

    Sorry meathead65. You have it completely wrong. UK is not scared of “playing” IU. Why would they be? IU has been a nobody for 15 years now. You have one good season and everyone thinks you’re back. Ha! I don’t see any new banners hanging in Assembly Hall. That’s back pal. Why would the guy who has had 4 straight top recruiting classes and just won a national title be “scared” to play anyone? Again they are not scared to “play” IU. They are scared to go to Bloomington. That’s what happens when you act like thugs. People avoid you. And if you think playing UK is not good for your image you’re even more goofy than your comments let on. You got more press out of that one game than anything else you did including beating your conference rivals and what was that team you mentioned – Purwho? Are they in your conference? BTW IU has never been UK’s big rival either. It’s always been Tenn.. Not IU. Not Loserville. Tenn..

    But keep on crying that UK won’t play you. UK fans are thrilled that Cal dumped you. What’s that tell you? It tells me that you need UK a lot more than UK needs you.

    The media will never tell the truth about this. They hate UK. That’s where the meaningless drivel about Cal being “slimey” and all the other slander comes from. And goofs buy it up like it’s gold. Cal turned in his own player at UMASS. The other scandal was over a PLAYER taking a test at his high school. The NCAA wrote a letter saying Cal had zero to do with any of that stuff. But I guess if you went to IU you probably don’t know the value of a written letter like that. With former coaches like Booby (Hatch) Knight and Mad Mike Davis how do you figure you can criticize anyone’s coaches? LOL you people take the cake. Davis said he hates UK. UK should have dropped your school that day. And then there’s the real slimeball, Sampson. That guy led the nation in violations for a couple of years didn’t he? And you want to talk about Cal? What a joke! Rocks. Glass houses. You know the story. But in your version the rocks pass right through the magic fairy glass and hit the awful, awful Calipari right on the head.

    Whoooeee I ain’t had so much fun in a long time. Being a thug is not a good thing. You still wallow in the mire left behind by Booby (Hatch) Knight. You missed getting choked and stuffed in trash cans, don’t you? I lived in Indiana a good while. I know what you Hoser people are like. You got nothing in that rotten little town where your school is except bars. Your students have some of the worst attitudes I have ever seen. Remember that movie “Breaking Away”? That pretty much describes IU students perfectly. Thugs and arrogant jerks. I’ve been around lots of colleges. IU is the worst by far.

  4. metalarmdad - May 5, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    metalhead65……You must have been one of the DRUNKS at the KY-IU game this year. First thing you need to know, KY has never been afraid to play IU even when the Crazy Knight was heading the program and if I remember correct KY had a winning record against him which included taking him out in a regional finals when they were #1. No one likes to play IU at home because there no crowd control and it a place of a bunch of Drunk mill town idiots during a basketball game. One day all this will catch up with IU when these Idiots really hurt someone of the visiting team and a Major lawsuits gets slapped on IU. IU fans think they are funny when they abuse visiting fans this way but it WILL come back to hurt IU and their fans one day, MARK my words.

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