John Calipari

More on the future of the Kentucky and Indiana rivalry

7 Comments

On Monday, we wrote about a story that has been festering on the Kentucky and Indiana message boards but hadn’t exactly seen the light of day nationally quite yet.

Well, that changed Tuesday, as the potential disbandment of the Indiana-Kentucky rivalry — a game that has been played annually since the 60’s and has existed since the 20’s — went viral. CBS, Yahoo! and ESPN wrote on the topic, and the general consensus is obvious: we understand the issues, but we want you to fix them and figure out a way to keep this game on the schedule.

“The Kentucky game is still being talked about worked on, but it’s not set in stone because, as many of you know, Kentucky doesn’t want to play on our campus anymore and that’s certainly not our first choice,” Crean told the Associated Press on Friday. “Keeping it on campus is without a doubt our first choice and always has been since I’ve been here.”

Can you blame Kentucky?

Indiana is one of the best teams in the country heading into the 2012-2013 season and coming off of a year where they won 18 of 19 games at Assembly Hall. Why would Kentucky opt to play in that gym? Why would they want to enter that environment? With an expanded conference schedule (18 games), non-conference games against North Carolina and Louisville and a spot in the Champions Classic event, do the Wildcats really need another tough road game?

Coach Cal knows how to schedule and he knows when he is putting his team into a bad situation with too many difficult games.

And while Kentucky is the one that comes out looking selfish in this situation, keep in mind that the reason that Crean wants to keep the games being played on campus is the precise reason that Coach Cal doesn’t: Indiana is a dangerous team in front of their own fans. Why would Crean make the decision to give up that home court advantage against a rival?

And, of course, there’s the money.

“It has to be a win-win for both, and no one here is excited about taking it off campus,” Crean said, “but that doesn’t mean it won’t get done. It’s gotta be, no question, it’s gotta be a way two-way street. No one here ever had any intention of moving off campus, and obviously the finances play a part of it.”

Of course they do.

The bottom-line is this: Crean and Calipari don’t have the final say in this matter (that comes down to the Athletic Directors), but they do have quite a bit of sway. They’ve also spent a grand total of seven years at their respective posts; Calipari won the national title in his third season with Kentucky while Crean got Indiana back into the NCAA tournament in his fourth season in Bloomington.

This rivalry has been played every season since 1969, when Calipari was 10 and Crean was just three.

There is a historical significance to this game, which only makes the rivalry that much more intense given that Kentucky and Indiana are currently sitting on top of the college hoops world.

Hopefully, these Calipari and Crean — Pennsylvania and Michigan natives, respectively — recognize that.

We’ve already lost so much in college sports due to money and greed. The Border War between Kansas and Missouri may never be played again after Missouri bolted for the SEC’s money. Syracuse and Pitt were so concerned about the implosion of the Big East that they jumped the gun exiting the league, heading to the ACC where they will no longer wage conference battles against Georgetown and West Virginia, respectively.

Please, don’t let an argument about money end this rivalry.

Because, with the direction the two programs are headed, this is rivalry is about to become a top three regular season game. Every year.

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

Five-star 2017 guard Lonnie Walker cuts list to five schools

Men's U18 trials head shots and team photo on 6.15.16
Bart Young/USA Basketball
Leave a comment

Five-star shooting guard Lonnie Walker is coming off of a very good summer as he trimmed his list to five schools on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-4 native of Reading, Pennsylvania is still considering Arizona, Kentucky, Miami, Syracuse and Villanova, he announced on Twitter.

Regarded as the No. 26 overall prospect in the Class of 2017, Walker played with Team Final in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer as he averaged 16.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Walker shot 45 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free-throw line.

An efficient scorer who is learning to drive with both hands, Walker is very talented and the type of guard who might also be able to handle a bit as well.

VIDEO: Jim Boeheim makes TV appearance to talk Carmelo Anthony

Leave a comment

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim has drawn attention for some recent comments about former Orange star Carmelo Anthony.

After Anthony captured his record third gold medal with USA Basketball, his former college coach told Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post-Standard that Anthony didn’t have a great chance at winning an NBA title.

“He’s unlikely to win an NBA title,” Boeheim said of Anthony. “He’s never been on a team that even had a remote chance of winning an NBA title.”

Boeheim maintains that he was speaking of Melo’s legacy being about more than an NBA title and that he’s one of the game’s greats thanks to other accomplishments like the Syracuse title and gold medals. On SportsCenter, Boeheim made sure to stress where those comments were coming from, while also making sure his kids would stop being mad at him.

It’s much easier to understand where Boeheim is coming from in this instance and it clears up something that will probably go away now.

Big Ten releases conference schedule

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 22:  Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans reacts against the Virginia Cavaliers during the third round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 22, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

The Big Ten released its 2016-17 conference schedule on Thursday as the conference season begins on Dec. 27 with a four-game set.

Conference play will conclude on March 5th before the 20th annual Big Ten Tournament is played at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. from March 8-12.

Some notable games include Penn State hosting Michigan State at the Palestra on Jan. 7.

You can view the full Big Ten schedule here.

Arizona’s Talbott Denny injures knee, out for season

AP Photo
AP Photo
Leave a comment

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) Arizona senior forward Talbott Denny will miss the season after tearing the ACL and medial meniscus in his left knee.

The school said Wednesday that the 6-foot-5 graduate transfer from Lipscomb will have surgery.

Denny, from Tucson’s Salpointe Catholic High School, missed all of last season at Lipscomb because of a shoulder injury.

Roy Williams: ‘There’s no question’ more ACC games equal no Kentucky in non-conference

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 23: Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels looks on during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament against the Iowa State Cyclones at the AT&T Center on March 23, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Back in June, when the ACC officially announced that they would be expanding the league schedule to 20 games in 2019, I tried to warn you that it was going to put a dent into the non-conference schedule and the amount of quality, on-campus games that we’ll get prior to January.

Roy Williams essentially confirmed this as fact this week.

The North Carolina head coach hopped on a podcast with ESPN and more or less said that the bigger league schedule is going to lead to an end of some of UNC’s marquee home-and-home series.

“My feeling right now, and it could change by ’19, heck I could be fired by ’19, but my feeling right now is to play our conference schedule, play one exempt event where you have really good teams, and other than that play home games to help out your revenue and help out your budget,” Williams said. “We have the ACC/Big Ten and that’s not going to go away. So it’s 21 games already scheduled.”

When asked specifically if this would put an end to UNC’s series with Kentucky, Williams said, “Oh yeah, there’s no question. Why would I need to do that?”

There’s two reasons this makes sense. On the one hand, North Carolina needs to fill their home arena a certain number of times to help with the bottom line of the athletic department. They make enough off of ticket sales, merchandise sales, parking fees and food and beverage that they can afford to pay out more than $50,000 to bring a smaller opponent into their arena. More than that, playing a series of weaklings early in the year allows players to gain confidence, it allows Williams to figure out what his rotation will be and who can handle playing at this level, and it gives newcomers a chance to assimilate into his team against players that just aren’t that good.

And when a larger ACC schedule severely limits the number of non-conference games that UNC will be able to play, what’s going to get cut are the contracts that require the Tar Heels to play on the road when they don’t have to.

So buh-bye, Kentucky, it is.