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Sports Illustrated lists Kentucky in 2 of college basketball’s top 10 rivalries

Only 2?

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Sports Illustrated staff released a list of the top 10 college basketball rivalries on Tuesday. While many of the selections were predictable, it is always fun to debate which rivalries are the best.

The Kentucky Wildcats make two appearances on the list. Their in-state rivalry with the Louisville Cardinals comes in at No. 2, and the complicated relationship with the Indiana Hoosiers ranks No. 9.

This is what the SI staff had to say about the match-ups between these teams:

Kentucky vs. Louisville

The all-time series has been a bit lopsided, with Kentucky leading 35–16, but UK’s blowout win in the schools’ most recent meeting last December was the lone double-digit win by either side since John Calipari arrived in Lexington (it was also the first time the Cardinals didn’t enter the game ranked in the top 25 since 2010).

Unlike Duke and UNC, which have never met in the NCAA tournament, Kentucky and Louisville have faced off six times during March Madness, the first of which came in 1951 and the most recent of which came in 2014. The Wildcats have won four of those games, none more important than the 2012 Final Four. That night, an Anthony Davis led-Kentucky team held off its rival in an eight-point win and would go on to beat Kansas in the title game.

Kentucky vs. Indiana

Indiana and Kentucky may both appear higher on this list with other schools, but there’s no denying this rivalry was great when we got it (it even produced a 1993 cover of Sports Illustrated). In fact, the final scheduled game of the series was an absolute instant classic, with Christian Watford sinking a buzzer-beating three to deliver the Hoosiers a 73–72 win in December 2011 that shook Assembly Hall to its core.

We say it was the last “scheduled” game, because sometimes the basketball gods smile down upon us. Later that year, the two would face off again in the Sweet 16, with the Wildcats getting revenge in Atlanta (yes, Kentucky beat both of its rivals on this list on the way to its 2012 title). Then in 2016, fate would pit the two together again in March, with Indiana prevailing this time in the Round of 32 to send the ’Cats packing.

These have certainly been intense rivalries, historically. But could there have been other match-ups involving Kentucky on the list?

While there is no mention of Kentucky vs. Duke, Kentucky’s yearly battle with the Florida Gators did make the Honorable Mention list.

Top 10 Rivalries

  1. Duke Blue Devils vs. North Carolina Tar Heels
  2. Kentucky Wildcats vs. Louisville Cardinals
  3. Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Xavier Musketeers
  4. Indiana Hoosiers vs. Purdue Boilermakers
  5. Kansas Jayhawks vs. Kansas State Wildcats
  6. Michigan Wolverines vs. Michigan State Spartans
  7. Georgetown Hoyas vs. Villanova Wildcats
  8. UConn Huskies vs. Tennessee Volunteers (Women’s Basketball)
  9. Kentucky Wildcats vs. Indiana Hoosiers
  10. Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Saint Mary’s Gaels

So what do you think, Big Blue Nation? Are Kentucky’s best rivalries accurately represented on this list? Are there any of the Wildcats’ match-ups that have been left off?