Let’s talk about the respective basketball programs of Indiana University and the University of Kentucky. Both are two of the greatest in sports history, with a number of Hall of Fame individuals associated with each, and their fan bases are probably two of the most rabid in college basketball.
Oh, and let’s not forget that both programs have combined for a total of thirteen NCAA Tournament championships and actually used to play each other almost every year until 2012, due to non-conference scheduling issues.
And now, Indiana AD Fred Glass wants to start playing Kentucky every year again. Unfortunately, talks between the schools have not progressed and nothing is imminent.
Having the Hoosiers and Wildcats play each other now would certainly be a far cry from the days when coaching titans like Bob Knight, Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall and Rick Pitino would engage in a game of hardwood chess, with the Kentucky coaches trying to outplay the strong squads of Knight. Indiana has struggled in recent years under Tom Crean, having gone just 37-29 (16-20 Big Ten) in the two years since making the Sweet Sixteen, and the team’s future in terms of success is hard to tell.
Now let’s cut to Lexington, which has become a hotbed of competition since John Calipari took over in 2009. Under his watch, Kentucky has gained a reputation for landing the best recruits and has gone an eye-popping 190-38 (82-20 SEC) with a national championship, four trips to the Final Four and three SEC titles. Needless to say, renewing the annual game against Indiana would truly be a battle of overall talent vs. heart.
The fact of the matter is that while scheduling is tough for any school’s AD, there’s no reason why Glass and Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart can’t sit down and hammer out just when this rivalry can start up again. There’s simply too much history in it to let it become just that and more importantly, the fans would love it. If that isn’t enough reason to start it up again, then I don’t know what is.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to James Brosher Photography