I love the idea of the Crossroads Classic.
In a region as steeped in basketball tradition as Indiana, it doesn’t get much better than the state’s four best programs taking part in a intrastate double-header. Last season was the first time the event was held, and those in attendance at Bankers Life Fieldhouse certainly got their money’s worth: Cody Zeller scored 21 points and grabbed eight boards as the Hoosiers avoided a letdown following their upset win of Kentucky with a 69-58 win over Notre Dame in the nightcap, just hours after Butler’s Andrew Smith capped a comeback win against Purdue with a tip-in at the buzzer.
Clearly, the Crossroads Classic was a success, because the contract has already been renewed. The double-header will now happen annually through the 2014-2015 season. The games now take place on Dec. 15th, 2012, Dec. 14th, 2013, and Dec. 20th, 2014. This season, Purdue will take on Notre Dame and Indiana will play Butler. Since the Hoosiers and the Boilermakers cannot play each other outside of Big Ten season, the two rivals will rotate who gets the Fighting Irish and who ends up with the Bulldogs.
The bad news in all of this is that it may make reigniting a rivalry with Kentucky an impossibility for Indiana. Tom Crean made it very clear that he does not want to play Kentucky in a neutral site game, which is something that John Calipari demands for the rivalry to continue. There was some talk that Crean could potentially change his mind if the game was Indiana’s only neutral site contest, but that clearly won’t be the case until at least the 2015-2016 season.
Picture via US Presswire.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.