Indiana may not have plans to play Kentucky any time soon, but if a report from the Indianapolis Star proves to be true the Hoosiers will play the Wildcats’ biggest rival on a neutral court next season.
According to Mark Alesia of the Star, Indiana has a contract to play Louisville on December 9, 2014 as part of the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. Of course this is all contingent upon both the organizer of the event (that being ESPN) formally announcing the matchup at some point and Louisville agreeing to the game, so even with the presence of this contract nothing’s set in stone.
How did news of the contract become public?
The contract was included in the school legal department’s response to a public records request by The Indianapolis Star. The agreement is with ESPN and pays IU $200,000. Athletic director Fred Glass signed the letter April 10.
[Indiana spokesman J.D.] Campbell said IU won’t announce the basketball schedule for the upcoming season until later this month, after the Big Ten releases the conference schedule. IU generally avoids releasing news about schedules on a game-by-game basis.
Contrary to this report however is news from Rick Bozich of WDRB (Louisville) that Louisville does not have an agreement in regards to this particular game. School spokesman Kenny Klein told Bozich that reports of the game are “premature.”
The two storied programs last met on February 1, 2003, with the Cardinals winning 95-76 at Freedom Hall (Louisville’s home court at the time). The Hoosiers led by as many as 16 points in the first half, only to succumb to Louisville’s second half onslaught (the Cardinals scored 60 points in the second half).
Obviously the possibility of Indiana and Louisville meeting doesn’t have anything to do with the Indiana/Kentucky series, but can it serve as a catalyst to get those two programs back on the same floor?
Indiana’s series with Kentucky came to a (hopefully temporary) end thanks to a dispute between the two schools in regards to where the games would be played. Indiana head coach Tom Crean was in favor of continuing the home-and-home arrangement, and had this been the case the 2012-13 edition of the series would have been played in Lexington.
But Kentucky head coach John Calipari wanted the games to be played at a neutral site, and regardless of whose fault the situation was fans were robbed of one of the game’s best non-conference rivalries.