Big games and rivalries are what fuel college sports and Kentucky has their fair share of them, both old and new. It’s always an event whenever the Wildcats get together with a team like Duke or North Carolina.
The SEC has presented new rivals over the last few years in Florida, Tennessee and Auburn. And Big Blue Nation has Louisville and the Battle for the Bluegrass circled on their calendars all year long.
Still, it’s been four years since Kentucky has met one of their biggest rivals, the Indiana Hoosiers, on the hardwood and it’s been a little over eight years since they last played a regular season game against one another. Due to the proximity of Lexington and Bloomington, you’d think these two blue bloods would have gotten together more when you consider their history.
On the first episode of his new FaceBook live series “Coffee with Cal”, John Calipari’s first guest was Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, an alum of IU. They covered multiple topics, but a potential Kentucky-Indiana matchup came up more than once.
“As we try to transition out of this, we need to get those first games. Lexington and Bloomington are so close. We flip a coin, decide where the game is played that way, we get on buses, we take the buses right to whichever arena and then we just throw the ball up with fans or without. Made for TV. If the NCAA doesn’t want to go for it, I’ll figure it out. I’ll get us a TV partner or you have your TV partners. IU’s got theirs. Let’s just do this. Let’s be that first game coming out for college athletics and get the ball rolling,” said Cuban.
The biggest thing would be how this would get done based on when the season starts and if fans were allowed to be in attendance. Even so, Calipari sounded all in on the idea’s potential. “Hey, without fans, I’m in. And we can do it without fans and like I said, I offered different places to play but you got it,” said Calipari.
Cuban makes great points throughout as this kind of game right from the jump is exactly what would get everyone excited to watch sports again. “Just think how much fun it would be. Put it on national television. Just get the whole country go nuts because college basketball is back. Unbelievable,” said Cuban.
Calipari went on to say that if Cuban got him to play and the Wildcats were beaten, he’d “gotta get some floor seats in Dallas.”
Whether a coin flip or a fundraiser decided where the game was played, the possibilities of this idea would be huge for fans of both clubs as well as college hoops. With the Wildcats leading the overall series 32-25, this is one of the long forgotten rivalries and traditions in college basketball. If this game were to cue the start of the next basketball season, fans would eat it up and watch from anywhere even if they weren’t allowed in.
Only time will tell how something like this would get set up with everything going on in the world, but, at the very least, the idea of it is in the back of their minds.