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This Saturday, Kentucky plays Indiana up in Bloomington for the first time since 1990.  Every other game since then (except last year's in Rupp Arena) has been played at "neutral" sites, either Louisville or Indianapolis.

This will mark only the third time since 1989 that UK has faced a Hoosier team that was ranked when UK was not.  The reverse has been true six different times in the same time period.  Last year and in 2000, neither team was ranked.

I will be taking a more detailed statistical analysis later.  For today, I am just going to reminisce about some of the great games that UK and IU have had over the many years of this border war, and there have been many memorable moments, particularly during the Rick Pitino era at Kentucky.

Starting from 1989, Pitino's first year, the games between Kentucky and Indiana were won by no more than 3 points for the first 4 years of Pitino's reign, and there were only two games during his entire tenure as coach where the winning margin of victory was 7 points or more.  Fortunately, Kentucky was on the long end of all but three games between 1989 and 1997, a tradition that Tubby Smith continued and even bettered, dropping only 2 games to the Hoosiers during his time as UK head coach.

Kentucky has pretty much owned Indiana since Pitino showed up on the scene, but that may well turn around, at least in the near term.  Indiana is currently ranked #15 on the BlogPoll, and has played a tougher schedule than Kentucky with more success.  Kelvin Sampson is 0-1 against UK as IU coach, but he certainly has the horses to turn that around against the Cats' depleted roster this year.

But back to the great UK-IU games.  I recall the 1989 game that represented Deron Feldhaus' coming-out party as a player, when he gave a powerful performance in the paint against the far more talented IU team which included such worthies as Calbert Cheaney, Lawrence Funderburke, Eric Anderson and Greg Graham.  I remember this as the point at which Wildcat fans began truly believing that Rick Pitino would be a legend at Kentucky.  UK was so overmatched in that game, as they were all year, it was almost comical -- yet they put a scare into the 14th ranked Hoosiers.

Who can forget the 1993 UK-IU game in Indianapolis where Damon Bailey put on that outstanding 29 point/5 assist performance against the then #1 ranked Kentucky Wildcats.  Despite suffering from cramps most of the game, the Hoosier hero soldiered on against one of the better teams of the Pitino era.  Pitino was quoted as saying that Bailey was the "best player on the floor" that day, and it was so.

Then, there was Tubby Smith's first magical year, when the IU-UK game was played on December 8th, just one day before this year's.  Bob Knight was still in Bloomington, and Kentucky and IU were ranked 8th and 11th respectively by the AP.  IU had such memorable players as Luke Recker, A.J. Guyton, and Dane Fife on the squad, and we all remember the Cats, who were ultimately national champs for the seventh time that year.  Kentucky was ahead by 3 late in that game, and the Hoosiers forced UK into a turnover.  Dane Fife, a freshman at the time, sank a cold-blooded three with 1.7 seconds to go in regulation to send the game into overtime, where the Cats eventually overpowered the Hoosiers on the way to a 70-61 overtime victory.

I could go on and on, but most of you probably remember the history of this series as well as I.  It is one of the truly great ones, and unlike Florida (don't hit your monitor, Gator fans), Indiana has earned it's rightful place as a rival of the University of Kentucky.  Indiana has run an outstanding program for many years, and even though Kelvin Samson has been in the news a bit lately for misbehavior, he is a worthy coach and an outstanding recruiter, as evidenced by Eric Gordon's presence on the IU squad this year.

We'll have more on the big UK-IU matchup later on A Sea of Blue.  It's well past time we talked about something other than L'affaire Legion, anyway.  Feel free to add your favorite or memorable UK-IU moment in the comments as we prepare ourselves for the big game on Saturday.