Kentucky Continues to Neglect Series With Indiana After Loss at Assembly Hall

by Kent Sterling

Indiana's Christian Watford hits the shot that ended the Kentucky vs. Indiana basketball series that stretched back to 1969.

Indiana’s Christian Watford hits the shot that ended the Kentucky vs. Indiana basketball series that stretched back to 1969.

There was an interesting, but one-sided debate yesterday on Twitter about Kentucky’s lack of desire to play Indiana at either Rupp Arena or Assembly Hall after the UK 73-72 loss to the Hoosiers in Bloomington on December 10, 2011.

Dan Dakich challenged Kentucky fans with logic, and Kentucky fans responded – as they always do – with poorly constructed blather.  There are good Kentucky fans who don’t allow passion to cause zealous defense regardless of reason, but most are not vocal on Twitter.

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Kentucky refuses to continue the home and home series because they can fill Rupp Arena by scheduling a team of elderly hobos so why risk a loss without a neutral site payday, and Indiana will not accept a supposed offer made by Kentucky to play the series at a rotating neutral site.

The discussion of how and why the series ended bubbled back up because Indianapolis will host the State Farm Champions Classic next December matching Kansas vs. Kentucky and Duke vs. Michigan State.  This year’s event will be played in Chicago next Tuesday.

There is nothing wrong with made-for-TV match ups, which puts some cash in the athletic department’s coffers.  Given the amount of money coaches are paid these days, playing a couple neutral site cash games makes sense.

But don’t the season ticket holders and the students deserve some decent home hooping prior to the beginning of the conference season?

What do Kentucky fans get for their investment in season tickets?  Games against UNC-Ashville, Northern Kentucky, Robert Morris, UT-Arlington, Cleveland State, Eastern Michigan, Boise State, Belmont, and finally a game worth the price of admission against Louisville.

And how about Indiana’s ludicrous non-conference home schedule against Chicago State, LIU Brooklyn, Samford, Stony Brook, Evansville, North Florida, Oakland, Nicholls State, and Kennesaw State?  It’s even worse than UK!  Wouldn’t college basketball be a lot more fun if the two sets of opponents for Indiana and Kentucky played each other, and the Hoosiers and Wildcats faced off, and played some similarly talented teams?

Of course, it would.  But Kentucky didn’t want that.  They want to fill their schedule with poorly funded sets of players from schools who have never sent a player to the NBA.  Every once in a while, UK runs into a splendid performance by a team like the 2007-2008 squad from Gardner Webb, and they get their comeuppance.  It doesn’t happen very often.

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Kentucky’s behavior in refusing to play Indiana on campus shows its desire to keep fans from seeing decent basketball for their hard earned money, but fans in Lexington are so blue blind that not only do they continue to buy season tickets, they defend coach John Calipari for refusing to play Indiana home and home as though it’s the right thing to do.

That’s the madness that drives UK hoops.  The convenience of watching two excellent teams in person is reviled in favor of made-for-TV events in Chicago and Indianapolis.

Indiana fans aren’t filled with the same level of self-righteousness (how could they be?).  They would rather play UK in Lexington and Bloomington, and their biggest criticism of Tom Cream is the marshmallow soft non-conference home schedule.

The Big Ten is trying to mandate that football teams schedule tougher teams in September because the MAC schedule played to prepare for the conference schedule is not good for anything but coaching careers.  They should bring the same focus to basketball, and a great place for the work to start is the continuation of the Indiana vs. Kentucky series.

That Calipari has decided that he knows more about what’s good for UK Basketball than Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall, Eddie Sutton, Rick Pitino, and Tubby Smith (I’m conceding he knows much more about what is good for UK than Billy Gillespie), is insulting to the legacy of what is supposed to be an elite program.

Win or lose, Indiana vs. Kentucky is good for fans, and great for college basketball.

77 thoughts on “Kentucky Continues to Neglect Series With Indiana After Loss at Assembly Hall

  1. Jeff Gregory

    Agreed (I only commented so I can follow the discussion that is obviously coming from UK fans that love to call you a hater).

    Reply
  2. Dave / New Mexico

    I agree…the fans want and deserve to see an annual rivalry game between Indiana & Kentucky. If home & home is what it takes to satisfy the Hoosiers and get it going again, then I say… Let’s pacify them.

    However, you’re still a narcissistic hypocrite, Kent.

    Reply
    1. kentsterling Post author

      Not sure you know what a narcissist is. I write almost exclusively about others. If I were a narcissist, I would write only about myself.

      As for hypocrisy, the truth -as I see it – is all that I’m interested in.

      You may think I’m a tool, mutton-head, or cretin, but you have latched on to two words that I am decidedly not.

      Reply
      1. Dave / New Mexico

        YES…I know what a narcissist is. Narcissists Pretend to be more important than they really are. For example, “Breakfast With Kent”. Whatever gave you the idea that anyone would want to have breakfast with you? I also know what a hypocrite is. A hypocrite is a person who professes certain ideals, but fails to live up to them. For example, grouping UK fans together and smearing them regarding a KU commit, but turning a blind eye to IU fans who smear a UK commit.

        Reply
        1. kentsterling Post author

          Narcissism is excessive love or admiration of self. I have neither great admiration nor love for myself. Now, do I admire the way I refuse to love myself? Sure. Who wouldn’t?

          Your definition of hypocrite is accurate. I was not writing regularly when the Lyles decommitment happened. Had that not been the case, I would have been as harsh if not harsher on IU fans for their treatment of a kid who did nothing more that change his mind.

          There wasn’t a lot of consternation from IU fans about the Blackmon decommitment, so that was a bit of a victory. It’s not important who goes to school at what university, and fans who hyperventilate over the decisions of high school kids should take a deep breath and relax.

          I’ll say that anytime to any fan base. I would never have seen the reaction from UK fans toward Wiggins if not for Kentucky Sports Radio’s piece on the same issue.

          Reply
          1. kirk

            Never again !! hey if IU didnt get their game in lex last yr SO they could rub cals nose in it in front of those fans..THEN WE ARE DONE !! Dont care if we ever play ky again.

  3. Bo Blackburn

    Kent, I couldn’t agree with your last sentence more. I will miss Kentucky v. Indiana this year and each year the game is not played.

    I grew up with this as a true rivalry. A rivalry is a game you can drive to and from in the same afternoon. A 90 mile road trip fueled by the expectation of the brawl to come. I have crowed when we won and looked quickly to next year when we lost.

    I like taking the stories and grudges off the shelf each year. That glorious calendar year of 1975 might have been the best the series ever saw. IU hammered us in November, ’74 in Assembly Hall. The stage was set. UK came back and wrecked #1 IU with a 2 point victory in the MidEast Regional Finals of the Tourney (UK would win the Championship over UCLA, really too far away to be a rival.) Then starting the fall of 1975, IU delivers on the promise of the season before and gives college basketball that brilliant undefeated run, one that included a thrilling OT game versus Kentucky (played in neutral site Louisville?). Kentucky gets that big win in ’79. IU grabs a similar win in ’93. Glorious, heady days of a rivalry in full force.

    And I think that 1993 year is significant in the change of college basketball, as well as the series. Over the next 15 years Kentucky would win 11 of 15 meetings (the series had been 20-17 to IU’s advantage, prior). Rivals need to more equal to keep the heat. But more importantly, and more to your point, the college game changed dramatically over those 15 years. Money from television, money players expected in the pros, money GM’s didn’t want to risk in the pros all seemed to overshadow the games, the teams and the rivalries. Rivalries now meant ESPN ratings instead of home state bragging rights. And that brings us to the impasse today.

    I think the loss of this rivalry game highlights the crossroads all of college ball is currently facing. I don’t agree with the blame being wholly thrown on UK. Both schools and their coaches were trying to leverage the series to their best advantage. Crean is no Pollyanna and wanted what he wanted so he could build his program. Same with Calipari. It is about eyes on the game now and recruiting and mega televised marketing events. I know how much that saddens you. But even given that, based on Watford’s shot alone (and UK’s title revenge), I think both schools missed the opportunity to ink a 4 year deal that included 2 home games and 2 neutral site games. They could have had the marketing and kept the tradition.

    The rivalry still has a chance to become important again. I think college ball needs it. Kids need local and immediate games to fuel their desire to play the sport for the sport and to play it for the teams they grew up cheering for. I know you root the player and not the name on the jersey, but we wouldn’t be having this discussion if those names on all those jerseys worn each time titans clashed didn’t hold a spell as well. Both schools have to find a way to make this happen and your article should be a call to fans of both sides to write, call and demand that this tradition be kept alive. That is a better use than trying to throw blame. Blame that you know is shared by both athletic departments.

    Reply
    1. Rupps Rhetoric

      I’ll be curious to see if Kent responds to your eloquently parsed comment that includes facts and logic. I’m sure Kent is taken aback at your statement because I fear he probably thinks Kentucky fans can’t combine logic and reason to counter his argument that this is one-sided impasse, with Kentucky being the “Bad Guys”. Kudos, and GO BIG BLUE!

      Reply
      1. Jeff Gregory

        I think the position of Indiana people is that it is Kentucky, not Indiana that wanted to change things. Crean just wanted to renew the contract. Kentucky said “no unless we change it to exclude home games.

        Reply
        1. Bo Blackburn

          Jeff, I have gone back and looked at the articles regarding the negotiations. It seems both sides were working on it with neutral sites somehow in the mix, and then on 5/3/13, in a surprising move to UK, IU announced the talks were over, digging in on home/home or nothing. IU went all in and UK moved on. Then the press grabbed it and 3 weeks later, Glass sent a letter to Barnhart saying maybe a 4 year deal could be reached with a mix of home and neutral sites. 3 weeks to come up with a solution that had been somewhere on the table! I do wish UK had accepted that deal, but I also respect their position that IU unilaterally ended discussions and maybe that isn’t someone you want to negotiate with. Glass got a face-saving “I tried” moment without actually having to worry that he might be taken up on the offer. If he did finally want neutral sites, maybe he should have kept the discussion going. And while the rivalry is tradition, its contest on a home court is not. Again, Indiana was the first to pull out of home/home for the series. So I go back to my original point which is that egos in both Lexington and Bloomington robbed fans of the games. Neither school needs the other, so if fans want this, then fans have to push for it to come back.

          Reply
          1. Bo Blackburn

            My mistake, the IU announcement ending the talks came May 2, 2013 with reports in the news published on May, 3rd. As a Kentuckian, may I say that it was further poor form on IU’s part to deliver this type of news during Derby week. Poor form indeed.

          2. kentsterling Post author

            Indiana didn’t pull out of the home/home talks. They wanted to continue home/home, and had no interest in a neutral site rotation.

            College athletics should be accessible to college kids. I’m good with that.

            Putting college students on a tour of Madison Square Garden, the UC, and other arenas in front of boosters and local gawkers doesn’t seem to suit the collegiate mission of education.

          3. Jeff Gregory

            As Kent said, IU wanted to continue what has already been in place. UK is the one that basically said, “We don’t want to do that anymore so if you don’t agree to neutral site games, we are going to take our ball and go home.”

            A little later, IU wanted to renegotiate, but the delicate genius scheduling the games couldn’t be bothered because UK had already “moved on” – whatever that means. So, . . . UK kind of has to own the end of these rivalry games.

          4. scott

            If IU has no interest in neutral site locations, why did they come crawling back agreeing to it after UK called off the negotiation?

    2. kentsterling Post author

      The only thing with which I don’t agree is your memory of UK beating UCLA. It was UCLA that won the championship game 92-85 over UK in 1975.

      The loss of this game makes a Saturday in December a little less fun, and that’s too bad.

      I would like IU and UK to play each other, and my zeal in yelling about how this supposedly amateur pursuit has become a commercialized mess where everybody gets rich but the player gets co-mingled with this rivalry business, where Kentucky wanted to removed the game from the access of the non-wealthy students (or those unwilling to hitchhike or load eight guys into a Monte Carlo).

      I’m tired of coaches taking themselves way too seriously, as though the zeroes on their paychecks confer wisdom or provide the illusion of power. Calipari isn’t nearly alone in falling headlong into that abyss of idiocy, but he’s a thought leader among them.

      Reply
  4. Indycatfan

    It’s over forget it we are done playing Indiana. I would rather be in Iraq in a war zone than see a game in assembly hall. All I know is if kentucky does play indiana again in assembly hall whether that be next year or 5 years not one kentucky fan will show up and put up with the behavior of Indiana fans that happened the last time kentucky played there.

    Reply
    1. Dave / New Mexico

      I wasn’t there, but I hear they were truly obnoxious, even threatening, to the UK fans and team. Curious how they poke at Kentuckians, saying they are uncivilized, backwoods hillbillies…Ironic isn’t it? Of course, Mr. Sterling would have no part of that.

      Reply
      1. Kevin

        I was at the game. Yes some students were yelling at some idiot who sat in the student section. (Begging for trouble). Ya there was jeering by some IU fans for UK fans coming to Assembly Hall wearing their blue go cats shirts.Not that many I would add. If IU fans went to Rupp or Mackey arena they have to know there is going to be comments made. Its a rivalry game people quit being so thin skinned or stay home and watch the game.

        Reply
        1. kentsterling Post author

          Hell, I was at a Purdue vs. Loyola-Chicago game a few years ago and the Purdue fans were vicious to the Rambler. Not funny or clever – just vicious.

          Reply
    2. TJ

      I’m pretty sure you have the 2011 IU/UK game mixed up with some scenes from Remember the Titans and Glory Road. The worst things that happened were a group of 19-22 year olds chanting a**hole at UK fans in their general vicinity. And there were a few F Kentuckys, but yet again those were college students and it was rivalry game. There were no real threats of bodily harm or anything else that everyone else has been accusing everyone of for two years now.

      Reply
      1. scott

        So trampling and injuring UK fans is a lesser offense than chanting “asshole”? Well that’s an interesting world you live in then.

        Reply
        1. Kevin

          “if” you were trampled, which I doubt, then you probably would have been killed from the sea of red storming the court. But something tells me there was probably no more than some toes being stepped on.

          Reply
  5. GardenStateHoosier

    Dave / New Mexico ….. thanks for stopping by to take a cr*p. Don’t they have toilets in New Mexico?

    Indycatfan …. crying about “the behavior of Indiana fans”. Oh, boo hoo, waaah, waaah, WAAAH, those mean IU fans booed our beloved Mildcats!! One word: C.O.W.A.R.D.S.

    Reply
  6. GardenStateHoosier

    “The issue becomes playing teams (like Michigan State) this early is not fair for my team. It may be fair for everybody else. But it’s no fair for my team.”
    ——— John Calimari

    Coward fans.
    Coward coach.

    Reply
    1. Bo Blackburn

      Dude, we play Michigan State (#2 to our #1 in the polls) next week. We don’t fear any opponent early in the season, but Calipari is setting it up that if we play the top tier, we don’t get the early inflation of our own home court or the negative effect of an opponents home court. We get a better read on where the team is. Not saying it is right or wrong, but it makes sense.

      Reply
  7. Michael

    A valid viewpoint, but a quick hole to fill in: This year, UK’s nonconference schedule also features Michigan State (neutral site), North Carolina (away), and Baylor (neutral site). #2 and two other Top 25’s. And yes, Louisville is #3 (though that game is at home). UK’s non-conference schedule has plenty of challenges.

    Kinda convenient that you forgot to mention that, right?

    Reply
  8. Victrola Depot

    Kent is not a narcissist, but he presents himself that way to troll UK fans.

    I’m a UK grad who lived in Bloomington for several years. When I moved up there I was a mild IU fan, but I quickly learned just how much they hate us. I was surprised, because I always rooted for the Hoosiers to win(unless playing Kentucky) and most of the people I knew in Kentucky held similar opinions.

    I quickly discovered that the jealousy of Hoosiers was extremely intense. I was born in 1980 so for the most part I don’t remember many contending IU basketball teams other than Mike Davis tripping and falling into the title game that one year.

    The end result is that I rooted for Indiana, because I didn’t fear them at all. The other side to that coin is my intense hatred for Duke over the years. Duke has been a truly great basketball program in my lifetime. Indiana has not.

    If I was a Hoosier and I was viewed in that light by Wildcat fans I would hate them, too. Nevertheless, it’s really not my fault that IU basketball has been mediocre in my lifetime.

    Hoosiers are a truly sad group. They lose in back-to-back sweet 16 games(SWEET REPEAT!!) and you can find books sold in their malls and local book stores about their return to power. Kentucky has averaged more NCAA tournament wins in the past two years during the IU “return to power” and we didn’t even make the tournament in one of those 2 years.

    It’s pretty delusional and extremely pathetic. Tubby Smith kept losing in the elite eight and he was run out of Lexington(unfairly in my opinion). That’s the difference between IU and UK and that’s why this Hoosier journalist doesn’t even recognize what he is and why he comes to such lame conclusions. He’s just a jealous hater.

    Reply
    1. TJ

      Solid viewpoint with no bias whatsoever. Once again here’s the classic UK delusion that everyone hates them and is so jealoussss. The books you are referring to are more about IU losing a legendary coach, struggling, having the three worst years ever and then climbing out of that hole. So you keep seeing the world as everyone else is our to get you and hates you. The rest of us will stay living our lives and rarely thinking of UK although you would have everyone believe otherwise.

      Reply
      1. Vosot68

        Living your lives and rarely thinking of UK, huh? You mean, like this article? Give me a break…

        UK fans don’t just walk around claiming that people hate the program without merit… it’s always in response to something like this sub-blog “article” that dumps all over UK for one reason or another.

        As I’ve said, I don’t consider Indiana a rivalry with Kentucky. Louisville and Duke and a couple of SEC schools are more of a rivalry to me.

        Reply
    2. Jeff Gregory

      I’m not sure you really understand the distaste that both schools and their fans have for each other or the roots from which they spring. I live in a border city. When I first got the job I have in KY, I discovered so much anti-IU paraphernalia around the office that it made me a bit uncomfortable. There was everything from papers floating around with anti-hoosier basketball jokes to Bobby Knight dartboards. So, you see, this has never been a one-sided thing no matter what your personal allegiances may tell you. I have never seen jealousy as part of the equation from either side.

      Reply
      1. Victrola Depot

        I agree that where I lived at in Kentucky shielded me from whatever rivalry might have been going on, but facts are facts. The rivalry is not the same. Rivalries evolve as programs evolve.

        If anything, now the “rivalry” is based on UK fans looking down their nose at IU because it’s an inferior basketball program. Hoosiers don’t appreciate it, because the facts hurt their feelings and in order to believe that you are on our level you talk endless trash about us. So, we talk back and we make fun of you. The important thins is to understand your role in this rivalry. We hate you because you are pathetic. We hate Duke because they are a threat. There’s a difference. I sit around with my friends and laugh about IU. I sit around with my friends and hate on Duke.

        IU fans will talk all day long about how we will eventually be on probation as a result of our current coach and the unbelievable talent he somehow manages to bring in. Meanwhile, they JUST got off of probation. Delusional.

        IU fans will talk and talk about how we pay our players and call our roster “hired hands”. Well, if they’re so easy to pay off then that would explain why IU beat us during our title year. Somebody in Little Red Nation must have cut Anthony Davis a check, right? Hoosier logic.

        “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, WE WIN OUR GAMES WITH GOOD COACHING AND HEART!!!! WE ARE IU BASKETBALL! WE’RE BACK! WE’RE BACK! WE’RE BACK! LOOK AT ALL OF THESE SWEET SIXTEENS WE GO TO!”

        Please. You need to get Mike Davis back.

        Go watch the Rocky movies, IU fans. You are all so pathetic that it makes my head hurt. I’ll bet 75 percent of you don’t even know who Branch McCracken is. You’re just drunk college kids. There was a time when your program was on our level. It was long ago.

        You will never hear an IU fan say the truth and it’s very simple. Indiana basketball is totally outclassed by Kentucky and by several other basketball programs in this country. You aren’t a powerhouse just because they made a movie about you. The Looney Tunes have a basketball movie about them, too.

        Ten years from now. Who knows?

        Today. Everyone except for Hoosiers know.

        Reply
    3. kentsterling Post author

      You made some sense early on. We agree I am not a narcissist.

      Your early life saw some excellent basketball played by Indiana. When you were a toddler, Indiana won a National Championship. Then, when you were likely a first grader, they did it again. If not for some injuries and bad officiating, they would have likely won two more as you went to junior high. At that point, the cookie crumbled. From 1995 through 2011, things were not good. I consider the 2002 team a bizarre outlier that cannot be explained rationally. Mike Davis was a horrible coach, and the dunderhead AD who fired him then hired Kelvin Sampson.

      Would I rather Bob Knight had graciously faded into an elder statesman role and allowed the program to continue – as has happened with Michigan State? You bet. A great deal happened at Indiana that no one should be proud of. Knight’s antics to Davis’s idiocy to Sampson’s arrogance and amorality – there is a lot for the university to regret.

      There is a segment of Indiana fans who lash out at others because they are narrow minded and lack even a small amount of the wisdom needed to feel good about themselves without dragging down others. They are fools. The difference between Indiana fans and the Kentucky fans who post comments here – minus Bob, Philboyd, and a couple of others – is that those tools are marginalized and reviled by the rest of the Indiana fans.

      That has nothing at all to do with the bad practice of scheduling patsies for home games, which denies season ticket holders the opportunity to see meaningful basketball before Christmas. That’s the point of the original post, which Kentucky fans have used to launch into baseless and nutty attacks upon me and my ability to be unbiased.

      Reply
  9. Vosot68

    “Kentucky’s behavior in refusing to play Indiana on campus shows its desire to keep fans from seeing decent basketball for their hard earned money…”

    This inane statement is why your opinion cannot be taken seriously. I understand you’re bitter about the series being canceled. But instead of logical discourse, you devolve into a biased passion that overshadows any point you may have.

    It’s not the rivalry that you would miss. It’s the home court advantage. Period. Anything else you say is rhetoric designed to appeal to a perceived sense of fair play, and also to find yet another reason to disparage UK and Calipari.

    Any notion that UK is “afraid” to play Indiana is, at best, absurd… and any knowledgeable basketball fan knows it. This year, UK will play Mich. St., N. Carolina and Louisville. One home game, one road game and one neutral site game. All three are in the top 25, with two of them ranked #2 and #3.

    Look, I don’t have any problems with UK playing IU every year, but at the same time, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it, either. I just don’t think it’s that big a deal when there are plenty of rivalries and good games to be had.

    Reply
  10. Jack

    It’s cute you miss us. You should try and move on. We have.

    Nice to see you’re still attention seeking from UK fans though. I hope you continue to think of us daily.

    Reply
  11. mike

    Uk doesn’t need to play IU. Uk plays unc home and home as well as ul home and home. With two added sec games in mizzou and tamu, why waste time playing in that dump of an arena with the vitriol that iu fans spit at uk fans. Uk’s non conference schedule is just fine with games against unc, ul, Mich. St., Baylor, and our annual big east/sec challenge game. Get over it iu fans you are acting like a jilted ex lover. Uk has moved on

    Reply
    1. Dave / New Mexico

      It doesn’t matter. The only ones who read his tripe (when he’s not bashing UK) can’t spell either.

      Reply
      1. John

        Kent sterling. You are far from sterling. You have your tiny niche. But it is smaller than a grain of sand. Your writing smacks of envy. Bigtime.

        Reply
        1. Lay back and enjoy it

          The envy IU has for Kentucky is truly pathetic. The reality is Kentucky fans simply do not view Indiana as an equal and could care less about playing them. We have much bigger fish to fry in terms of other tier one programs then allowing Indiana the honor of being beaten by us. Again. Beating Kentucky on a fluke last-second shot in the middle of December is one of the top three accomplishments of Indiana basketball in the past two decades.

          Reply
  12. Philboyd Studge

    Just keep crying Kent. The tears of you and every Indiana fan fuel Kentucky fan’s feeling of Schadenfreude toward a program that just can’t measure up.

    The simple fact is Kentucky doesn’t need Indiana, and after that disgraceful display of hooliganism a couple years ago in Bloomington are content to let you whimper and whine. You’ll NEVER get a regular home-and-home with Kentucky. Period.

    Worried about losing at Rupp? Indiana has beaten Kentucky exactly ONCE anywhere in the Bluegrass state since the Jimmy Carter administration. In that same stretch, Kentucky has beaten Indiana TEN TIMES in the state of Indiana.

    Face it, IU is Kentucky’s whipping boy. UK has won 17 of the past 21 meetings. The runts of the SEC litter are more competitive. So why throw Indiana’s tattered ass a bone?

    The Cats are in the premier tournament of the early season Tuesday. They play North Carolina, Louisville and plenty of other competitive teams. Next year Kentucky will be in two preseason glamor events involving college basketball’s elite — Duke, UNC, Kansas, UCLA. Notice who never gets invited? The Queens of the Sweet 16 in candy-assed warm-up pants.

    Indiana is a second-rate program that gave up Elite Status in a cascading two decades of mediocrity and well-earned probation. Good luck with your battle for 6th place in the Big Ten.

    Kentucky fans under 50 spend zero time thinking about Indiana. College basketball fans under 40 have no idea why Indiana considers itself anything more than a use-to-be. 1987 is a long, long time ago, in real terms and in the memories of anyone who follows basketball.

    Indiana is a cautionary tale for how a program can give up its status if it does everything wrong — including massive violations of NCAA rules, enabling a psycho-bully of a coach and hiring another unbalanced coach — over three decades. It’s finished. Better hold on to those memories of cutting down nets in an empty arena after a loss and choking away preseason No. 1 rankings, ending up with another silly Sweet 16 Ring (how pathetic is that?)

    Reply
    1. kentsterling Post author

      More than anything else, I’m crying on behalf of Kentucky fans who should be tired of buying season tickets to see UK play UT-Arlington and equally untalented rosters.

      You boobs infer somehow that I am whining about Kentucky’s refusal to play Indiana as bashing UK. Not so much. This is more about major conference teams bilking season ticket holders in exchange for games that aren’t in any doubt at the tip.

      Reply
        1. kentsterling Post author

          You’re welcome. The intellect of a group is never measured by its numbers. The crowds at the Indiana State Fair prove that.

          Reply
  13. Jeff Karnes

    Kent,

    Here is the real reason that Indiana fans (such as yourself) want and need a home and home series with UK. It’s because IU needs the game more than Kentucky does. Doing away with the game does not hurt Kentucky in terms of scheduling, recruiting, etc. Yet it does hurt IU to not have the game. I actually never thought of it that way until two IU grads and big time supporters of Hoosier basketball mentioned it to me on the golf course a couple weeks back.
    The win that IU fans so frequently want to re-live and wish they could recapture again in a future season was IU’s statement for being back? Back to what? National prominence? I don’t think so, what could they do with the best team in college basketball last season. Not make the Final Four? They were back because they upset a young team in a hostile arena? I don’t think so.
    IU hasn’t hung a banner since 1986. UK has hung 3 since then. UK is relevant. IU is not. UK doesn’t need a home in home series with IU … it would be nice … but it is not needed by UK. However … IU needs a home in home with UK.

    Reply
  14. another Mike

    I didnt read the article just the headline and the responses cause the article probably just spews the same crying crap Kentucky fans have heard for the last few years.

    Fact is IU had their chance to play two consecutive in Indy (backyard, home turf, comfortzone, etc.) and declined.

    Oh well, there was your chance. UK is handling their schedule masterfully in my opinion. I’m a Kentucky fan in Northern Indiana who used to love watching that rivalry (one of the best in college sports) but the fact is I dont even miss it.

    Kentucky moved on… Scheduled with a purpose and set up arena games at neutral sites for our kids benefit come march.

    I love our pre conference schedule (Mich St., Louisville, UNC, Providence, and Boise St.), home games or not these games will prepare UK’s boys for March.

    Not playing IU doesnt bother me a bit. Heck I almost forgot about the “rivalry” already.

    Reply
  15. Ralph Sampson

    Oh look, Kent Sterling sounding ignorant, old and completely out of touch in yet another article. I’m positively shocked.

    (no I’m not)

    Reply
  16. Creanisalesbian

    Kent,

    Every time you write an article about Kentucky basketball, you get abused. Give it up. UK owns IU and it’s creepy coach. You don’t deserve to play UK with the way your knuckle dragging fans treated our fans in that dump of an arena in 2011. Be glad you aren’t playing us this year and go away….for good. Nobody outside of Bloomington gives a rats ass about IU. Trust me on this.

    Reply
    1. Jeff Gregory

      No one gives a care about IU, yet you care enough to dedicate your user ID to Crean (even if in a negative manner). It seems to me that if you really didn’t care, that thought would have never crossed your mind.

      Reply
    2. kentsterling Post author

      UK fans have to feel superior to someone. Enjoy yourselves. Glad to provide a valuable service to BBN.

      Reply
  17. Kentucky roots

    This may be the most ridiculous article ever written. UK has a home and home with Louisville and unc, two programs that have been exponentially better than iu over the past decade and it’s UK that is withholding elite Matchups from their fans? Not to mention that UK fans are more than willing to fork out money in addition to season ticket costs to see high profile neutral court matchups (something iu fans are either unable or unwilling to do).

    Face it the reason UK isn’t returning to Bloomington anytime soon is due to the barbaric actions of the fans (a court storming has never happened at rupp, btw). And not sure whether it is disingenuous or irresponsible to criticize UK’s schedule When iu plays no one of note in the pre-conference schedule. Stop being Co-dependent.

    Reply
  18. KC

    Kent,

    Your post is misleading. Two years ago Calipari put a poll question up (Before the game in Bloomington) for vote on his site as to which series he may cancel or would like to move to a neutral site amongst IU, U of L and UNC. He was looking for flexibility because the SEC schedule was going from 16-18 games forcing a home game to be dropped from the schedule. The fans wanted to keep UNC and U of L if one was to be dropped or moved. Calipari figured IU made the most sense to move since the rivalry in previous years (1991-2005) was played at neutral sites and succeeded fine. Second, I went to the neutral site games in Louisville and those games were still special and fun to watch. There are fans who are not season ticket holders who would like to see games in person as well and having neutral site games allows them a chance without paying some huge mark up. I was disappointed at first when they could not come to an agreement but, UK already has two power house programs guaranteed on their schedule with U of L and UNC alternating home/away. In addition, they have found other suitable opponents with the Champions Classic and another similar tournament with UCLA, OSU and UNC to start in 2014-15 season. As a UK fan it is also nice to see them play other powerhouse schools like Duke, Kansas, and Ohio State. Is Indiana ever going to play a return game for Butler in Hinkle from the matchup they had in Bloomington in 2011? Where was Fred Glass’ sympathy for the students and season ticket holders for football that watched the athletic department sell a home game to Penn St a few years ago. You can blame Crean and Glass for not finding a suitable replacement this year and going forward. What happened to U of L and or KU playing IU instead? Why not arrange a home and home with UCLA? At some point the blame falls on Glass and Crean. At all the major programs the non-conference home schedules are not that different. Like it or not its what we have to deal with by having 14-16 team power conferences. Nice jab with the Gardner-Webb reference, but that was buried with the firing of Gillispie. Would you like to point out all of the horrible home losses during the Crean era like Boston University, Northwestern, Penn St and Northeastern?

    Non-Conference Schedules of major programs:

    UNC:

    http://www.goheels.com/SportSelect.dbml?SPID=12965&SPSID=668157

    Better teams:

    Belmont
    Possibly matchup with U of L (neutral site)
    @Mich St
    UK

    Duke:

    http://www.goduke.com/SportSelect.dbml?SPID=1845&SPSID=22726

    Better teams:

    Kansas (neutral site)
    Pre-season NIT (Neutral site for better teams)
    Michigan
    UCLA (neutral site)

    Louisville:

    http://www.gocards.com/sports/m-baskbl/sched/lou-m-baskbl-sched.html

    Possibly matchup with UNC (neutral site)
    UK

    Kansas:

    http://www.kuathletics.com/schedule.aspx?path=mbball

    Better teams:

    Paradise Jam (Wake Forest & winner of Villanova/USC)
    Duke (neutral site)
    @Colorado
    @ Florida

    Syracuse:

    Better teams:

    Indiana
    @ St. Johns
    Villanova

    Ohio St.

    http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/sports/m-baskbl/sched/osu-m-baskbl-sched.html

    Better teams:

    @Marquette
    Maryland
    Notre Dame (neutral site)

    UCLA

    http://www.uclabruins.com/SportSelect.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=30500&SPID=126928&SPSID=749889

    Better teams:

    Northwestern (neutral site)
    @Missouri
    Duke (neutral site)
    Alabama

    Reply
    1. kentsterling Post author

      In no way am I defending the non-conference schedule of Indiana. Ninety percent of the non conference schedule for FBS programs are ridiculous.

      Reply
  19. bleedingblue

    You do realize when we played you guys and Watford hit the shot that several UK fans were hurt during the riot. Even UK fans who traveled to Bloomington and just sat in the bars to watch the game were doused with beer and insulted and threatened with bodily harm.
    Their was many calls to our athletic department about the way UK fans were treated by their neighbors to the north. The hospitality of those said IU fans were something you see in Muslim nations against their women.
    Another thing is that UK can only schedule so many teams a year to play. Since the SEC added two more teams and that means more additional games of SEC play so something had to give. The talk was that UNC was going to get cut and it looked like it was. Then the Hoosiers showed their ass and UNC was back on the schedule and the Hoosiers were cut instead.
    UK then got into negotiations with IU about doing some neutral site games were we would split the revenue. IU refused they only wanted to do a home and home instead. So UK tried to work with IU to get a deal worked out…. nope IU wanted it their way and only their way.
    Whats funny is that everybody can work out a deal with UK as you can see by us playing everybody and IU cannot.
    IU needs UK, UK does not need IU. Not in the least, as you see by this article written by Mr. Kent Sterling. Who by the way is very unprofessional and a prick.
    As far as my own personal tastes I wished UK would drop the UL and UNC games and schedule some home and homes with various teams throughout the country. It gets so boring for me having the same teams every year coming to Lexington or us visiting their place. I like seeing new faces and names gracing our floor and doing the same for them.
    This year our OOC is compromised of Mich St, Providence, Baylor, North Carolina, Boise St and Louisville who are all/can be NCAA tourney teams. So we as UK fans are not just watching us play sisters of the poor every game.
    Washington, Syracuse and Notre Dame are the great games you guys will have in your OOC. No where near as awful as UL’s schedule in which they play absolutely no one. So Kudo’s in trying to find somebody halfway decent.

    Reply
  20. Jeff Gregory

    Well, in the irony department, I started reading these comments stating that IU fans are horrible and classless then read 40 or so other comments from UK fans that were . . . well, horrible and classless. Congratulations, guys, for being the illustration of the biblical instruction of removing the plank in your own eye before pointing out the splinter in someone else’s.

    Reply
    1. Dave / New Mexico

      Okay… and be sure to thank Mr. Sterling for fanning the flames. Of course, he should be thanking us. He’s getting the attention he craves.

      Reply
  21. Warren / TN.

    Are you certain it’s Kentucky (and it’s fans) that are neglecting this series? I contend its’ the actions of the Hoosier fans themselves that have been neglectful in this case. It’s the Hoosier fans that should be concerned in the ongoing desire to rekindle and make amends for the neglectful, disrespectful and downright nasty treatment shown to UK in the UK-IU series. Let me make a few respectful points, if I may.

    Regarding your concern over the paying UK fans, I think Kentucky fans are doing just fine, Kent. To be honest, your faux concern is transparent and a little boorish, coming from a respected journalist, Kent. As for your admonition that Coach Calipari has insulted the UK “legacy of greatness for what is suppposed to be an elite program…”

    First of all, Calipari did win the national title with UK in 2012, which is more than Tom Crean has done for IU. I’m pretty safe to say that positive addition to the legacy of Kentucky’s greatness.

    Furthermore, I find Coach Crean’s penchant for over-the-top self-congratulation and celebration for accomplishments a stretch considering Indiana’s storied past. Cutting down nets IMMEDIATELY following a home court loss for a share of the Big Ten regular season title? Banners & RINGS for back to back sweet sixteen appearances? A Separate Big Ten title banner placed in the rafters?

    I could understand having a low key celebration /rally the day after the loss. The same thing with an acknowledgement of the relative success the sweet sixteen appearances were, considering IU’s recent past. But rings and a banner proclaiming that as a great “banner-worthy” success? At IU? And what singular importance over the other MANY Big Ten titles warrants a separate banner? There are degrees of celebration that people are OK with, but are you serious about accepting this kind of over-the-top “break your arm patting yourself on the back” behavior? If so, I’m surprised. If not, then you’re a Hoosier fan that actually has some semblance of self-respect left intact.

    I’m not saying what is right and wrong in how to celebrate, but what Crean did clearly falls below a standard of a “legacy of greatness for what is supposed to be an elite program” such as Indiana. Your choice of words here baffles me, and how you completely choose to ignore how that could be related to Coach Crean and Indiana. Personally, I would be careful of the stones you’re apparently casting from the porch of the glass house you’re sitting in, Kent.

    Finally, considering the treatment MANY UK fans, players, and coaches alike experienced in their last visit to Bloomington, how dare you even question the fact that a majority of UK fans can collectively agree not to voluntarily go back for more of the same treatment? I submit that many of those UK fans that would like to see the UK-IU rivalry continue has never been to Bloomington to experience in person the kind of humiliating and disgusting actions the Hoosier fanbase has shown on numerous occasions, especially the last time. The Hoosier’s lack of humility, disgusting, and derisive chants filled with expletives and racial slurs has no place in a decent, civilized game of competition that is “good for the fans.”

    I would also add that I have MYSELF experienced several nasty, disgusting and disrespectful trips to Bloomington, regardless of the fact I was with my own Hoosier family members and virtually my whole family is from Indiana, and are die hard Hoosiers. It embraassed them and they COMPLETELY understand why I haven’t been up there to a UK-IU game in YEARS. That in and of itself speaks volumes about the veracity of what happened the last time UK went there to play.

    Let me make it clear : THERE WAS NOTHING FUN NOR GOOD ABOUT THE WAY THE HOOSIERS TREATED KENTUCKY’S FANS THE LAST TIME THEY WENT TO BLOOMINGTON. You have nobody but yourselves to blame for what transpired that day, and in many other days, when hosting UK. Personally, I think it’s fitting you pay a price for all the collective times I have personally seen and heard it happening, and I can assure you that many UK fans are absolutely happy with not playing Indiana any longer.

    Before you retort with “a few bad apples” argument, or how the poor treatment was localized to Assembly Hall, I’ve heard MANY UK fans in the entire southern Indiana area (where the majority of my Hoosier family resides) experienced the same thing just to know it wasn’t only happening at the game.
    The bottom line is this : You make a much stronger argument for UK NOT to pick the series back up rather than to try and suggest what amends could be made by IU and its’ fans in order for it to resume. It’s apparent to me its’ FAR more important a game for Indiana than it is Kentucky at this point in the relative direction both programs are heading.

    I’ve spent the morning writing this response to your article, which was pointed out to me by a fellow UK fan. I’ve tried to be as respectful, but thoughtful and stern, with my response. Forgive me if I came across as a little TOO passionate, but after reading what you had to say, it really touched a nerve with me. All of this is a bittersweet thing, because I really did think the IU-UK rivalry was as intense a rivalry game as there ever was in basketball.

    Having said that, for me, the disrespect I began to see WAY back in the day with former coach Bobby Knight slapping former UK coach Joe B. Hall on the back of the head (and at the time, was a good friend to RMK) was a recurring theme of disrespect I saw and experienced too many times from IU and its’ fans to stomach. In the end, I think it’s best both schools part ways.

    PS – I always found it ironic that Coach Knight admitted that he really regretted doing that to Joe B., and how he felt like he truly lost a good friend that day, which I beleive, deep down inside, he really, truly did.

    I appreciate you taking the time to read my lengthy response, even if it is quite sometime after you penned this article.

    – Sincerely, Warren in Nashville

    Reply
    1. Jeff Gregory

      I appreciate the thoughtful response you have given this post. Although I believe that you are sincere with the points that you have made, in my opinion they are a little heavy on the melodramatic.

      You would have the readers believe that while UK fans are proper ladies and gentlemen to opposing visitors (at Rupp and elsewhere), the home fans at Assembly Hall are boorish barbarians who are out to humiliate opposing fans and on occasion would even try to eat their children.

      I have seen a multitude of games at IU (including UK games) and outside of a few rowdy frat boys, I haven’t seen much bad behavior. Even the rambunctious fans didn’t direct their attention to opposing fans any time I witnessed. I’m not saying that UK fans at the last game didn’t have a bad experience, but that was one game in a specific, rare situation. It was hardly something anyone should base a future policy over. If it was as bad as UK fans crack it up to be, it would have been exploited by the national news.

      Admittedly, I have never been to Rupp Arena. I do, however, work in Kentucky where there are rabid, defend-everything-about-our-program fans who have been very hard on me for being a Hoosier and sporting an IU license plate. I have accepted it as the nature of the beast of an intense, inter-state rivalry. I am not tempted to find other work on the friendly side of the Ohio River. I don’t snub my co-workers and become an office hermit. I merely accept it for what it is – even the more threatening tones that I have received over the years.

      I guess my point is about priorities. The rivalry between IU and UK has always been special. The intensity proves it. Killing it off because of that – especially after one game seems to be misplaced with a lack of proportion and priority. Most UK fans that I have talked to agree that it should continue, although they tend to blame it all on Crean not unruly fans.

      Truthfully, I don’t believe the end of these games has anything to do with fans. It is about money and the likelihood of UK losing to a team that, on paper, isn’t as talented as the Wildcats on any given year. Cal just doesn’t strike me as a “fans first” kind of guy.

      Reply
    2. kentsterling Post author

      Not sure at what point I have ever defended Indiana’s behavior after wins, condoned celebrations after losses, or defended fans who supposedly behaved poorly during the IU vs. Kentucky game. I wasn’t there, and have no idea what happened.

      Kentucky fans, and I’m specific about Kentucky fans because they seem to congregate here to vent about Indiana, talk about two things when confronted with issues within the program they follow – championships and how others do the same thing.

      Indiana’s sins do not excuse sins elsewhere, and the fact that Kentucky puts winning ahead of all else doesn’t mean they are the only bad apples in the basket.

      Greatness in running a collegiate athletic program is not about championships. It’s about giving student athletes a leg up toward living a full life. Serving as a purgatory while players who would have been drafted wait to become eligible to play in the NBA has nothing to do with fulfilling the charter of a university, or its athletic department.

      Kentucky basketball is about cash and marketing for John Calipari. The kids who churn through the program for eight months every year are looking to punch their ticket for the NBA and nothing else. Greatness is defined much later as the lives of those the program touched have become fathers and adults themselves.

      The exemplary lives led by John Wooden’s student athletes are his legacy, not the banners. The same is true for Bob Knight, Joe Hall, Tom Crean, and every other coach who is employed to serve as a mentor for young adults. We’ll see in 20 years where Calipari’s charges are, and what beyond giant piles of cash Calipari has to show for his time in Lexington.

      People from Kentucky have been resolute in asking me to defend Knight’s actions. I have probably been as critical of Knight’s behavior as anyone this side of Murray Sperber, and will never defend his abuse of position at Indiana.

      Next time you want to defend Kentucky, tell me what you respect about John Calipari and his program, not what Indiana does wrong.

      Reply
    3. Pauly Balst

      Warren is about as rational UK fan I’ve witnessed here. I have been to Rupp Arena, and I personally witnessed ridiculous drunks urinating publicly into the planters in the atrium area near the Hyatt. I’m no Puritan, but there were children and families nearby. This is not a third hand second person account, I saw it.

      So I don’t need to be lectured about alleged fan misbehavior, in a high tech era where there are conveniently no pictures, film, iPhone video, security reports, ESPN video, eye witnesses, first person accounts, etc. of this misbehavior.

      That said, Cal knows Rupp is not an intimidating arena for an 18 year old in the way Assembly Hall is. Rupp is off campus, isn’t loud, and has relatively few students. Assembly Hall is on campus, is very loud, and has the largest student section in the nation, a legacy of Bob Knight insisting 50% of tickets be set aside for the kids.

      Cal sees no upside in playing a home and home, because it’s not good for Cal. I’ll give him this, he hasn’t made excuses like his supporters have, and I’m OK with that.

      Reply
  22. Warren / TN.

    Kudos to a “rekindling” of this article. I really appreciate the feedback from my post. I wanted to spend some time in a thoughtful response, and will do so again, if I may. Again, thanks for hearing what I’ve got to say…

    Jeff, perhaps it’s fair to characterize my response as a little heavy on the melodramatic side. Perhaps what multiple UK fans experienced the last game, and myself in the past, is a “rare situation.” However you choose to characterize it, it seems to me to be an issue with enough fans that have attended games there to be a legitimate reason not to go back. Again, I’ll speak for myself here, and leave it at that.

    Having said that, surely there are some Hoosier fans that would say how they had specific (and personal) bad experiences at Rupp Arena. Although I haven’t heard of any instances, I assume there would be, because that’s how people are. I’m not naive or arrogant enough to claim that has never been the case specifically at Rupp Arena. So, I put that out there in fairness.

    Hey, thanks for your response, Jeff !

    As for Kent’s comments :

    I suppose it’s the spirit of “fairness” in pointing out to you how your comments (regarding actions reflecting on a legacy of greatness) can be equally applied to Coach Crean as you apply them to Coach Calipari, which your article simply neglects to do. I think that if we’re being honest here, even you can see how your viewpoint could be used to say the same thing about CTC. Just making that point, as I said, in fairness.

    Allow me to address some of your other points, Kent.

    ” the fact that Kentucky puts winning ahead of all else ”
    ” Kentucky basketball is about cash and marketing for John Calipari ”

    I humbly submit that both statements are simply your OPINION of Kentucky basketball, and of Coach Calipari, and they certainly are not unquestioned facts. I would characterize what you said in the area of “hypothesis at best, crack theorem at worst” in a scientific manner of putting things.

    Anyway, here’s my off-the-cuff and spur of the moment rebuttal of that opinion…

    First, on Coach Calipari : Ever hear of “Hoops for Haiti?” Coach Cal, the university and its’ fans were heavily involved in that. They raised more than a million bucks (as last I counted) which was more than the American Red Cross, for instance, managed to give to the victims of the terrible earthquake in Haiti. That doesn’t sound like Coach Cal is all about cash for himself. Ah! But I imagine you would retort that it covers the “marketing” portion of your assessment.

    Well, all I can say to that would be : Get out there and market yourself for over one million so you can donate it to needy victims in a great cause, Kent. Really, I’m serious about that if that’s how you really feel, and my apologies if that comes across as a little harsh.

    I shouldn’t simply leave it at that, either. Coach Cal has been involved in other charitable works, and it’s not just that.

    He showed up at the bedside of Coach Huggins after his heart attack, showed up unexpectedly at 6 am at the bedside of the cancer stricken Memphis Assoc. AD’s Bob Winn. All of this was done on his own, and away from cameras. I think it speaks far more to the kind of person Coach Cal really is than what you would have people believe, Kent. I’ll rely on what people say that really know John Calipari rather than rely solely on you.

    As for the rest of your diatribe…

    Well, I’m fighting my own battle with cancer and it’s been out of remission for awhile. I can tell you this as a fact: cancer smackdab in the center of the brain ain’t fun. So all I can say is that I will agree to go along with your assessment that it will take 20 years before we can tell where Cal’s kids are. Unfortunately, I prob’ly won’t be there, so I’ll simply have to live the rest of my life believing that you’ll end up being proved wrong there, too.

    As for what else I respect about the Kentucky program? Well, there’s a lot more positives I could point to in praise, as I’ve been a long time fan. Again, to be fair, as with any university, I could point out shameful episodes and the bad things too. However, I think any more positive references would be wasted on you, Kent. You obviously are seeing things in a different light than I do. I can see nothing is apparently going to change that.

    As for RMK : I never asked you to defend him, I simply stated that as an add-on to my perception and why I characterize the disrespect in the rivalry as I have seen since then.

    Let me close this lengthy post out by addressing the core issue of your article once again.

    Maybe it is all about money, and surely ego from BOTH sides get in the way. I still think there could be a compromise on terms (and if money is the overriding thing : venue, too). We live in a world where there’s too much hate and vitriol and maybe I added to it in some way with some of my remarks because of the passion I have for UK. I’ll apologize once again if that’s what anyone takes away from my comments. I really do mean it.

    I don’t expect UK and IU fans to come together, hold hands, and sing kumbaya to get this series back, though ! However, I do think calmer, wiser, and more rational mindsm could agree to do the right thing on both sides to compromise and make amends enough so that it could happen. I’d be fine with that, even if I feel that at the moment, it’s best the series remains where it is.

    After all, a rivalry as intense and as storied as UK-IU should eventually be restored. Even if there are old curmudgeons like me!

    Peace !

    Reply
    1. Jeff Gregory

      I will just comment on the section that applies to me. I truly am sorry that UK fans have had bad experiences when visiting Assembly Hall for a rivalry game. It can be expected to a point, but that doesn’t make it right.

      However, the point of a home and home series isn’t to be hospitable to opposing fans. Each team’s fans will get their turn to have the friendly confines. Shoot, it would be fine with me if opposing team’s fans were not in attendance at all – and that goes for both Assembly Hall and Rupp. The point is that the home fans – especially students get to come out and enjoy the intensity of a rivalry game on campus and not have to venture and hour or more away which would eliminate some people from attending – or as it stands now, not be able to enjoy it all.

      I have enjoyed this discussion, Warren, and wish you the very best and good health. Brain tumors are prevalent in my family, so I have shared in your battle. My prayer is that all of us will still be here in 20 years to see who is right about UK players successes. I doubt any of us will remember, though. 😉

      Reply
    2. kentsterling Post author

      Most importantly, I wish you continued courage in your fight against brain cancer. I have known a few who have dealt with it, and one continues his battle very successfully. May you have the same success.

      It’s impossible to write about the efforts and amounts I have helped raise for charity without sounding like I’m flying my own freak flag, so I won’t. I never spent a second of effort extolling my own virtues working on behalf of a charitable organization in Indiana, and I won’t start now. I’m very proud of the work this group of great people have done over the years, and am very confident that the money was well invested.

      I never said that Calipari is a bad human being. He may be incredibly polite, giving, and reasonable. Bob Knight spent a lot of time visiting friends and fans in hospitals, and that’s wonderful too. It doesn’t mitigate the unreason, self-indulgent anger, and petulance that defines Knight, but it is nice.

      You are right that everything I write about Calipari is my opinion. That opinion is based upon a lot of factors, anecdotes from Kentucky athletes, and a track record of cleverly shrouded indifference to the rules.

      I truly wish you the best, and have found nothing in your comments that could be interpreted as disrespectful, hateful, or vitriolic. You’re passionate, as you should be.

      Reply
  23. Warren / TN.

    Thank you for the kind words, Jeff. You made me smile!

    Yeah, I have to agree, it’s in the best interest of the fans to have the game in a venue where everyone can more easily access the pace.

    I also realize it’s not a prerogative of fans to be more hospitable to opponent fans, but my point is simple : it should be. Maybe living in Nashville (a place most anyone that’s been here knows is a pretty darned hospitable place as a whole) has colored my perception of how it should be.

    Even conscientiously thinking about things, I’m not sure how both sides could make amends to one another, in cases where it needs to be made.

    For UK : Admit it’s a great rivalry series, reiterate the mutual respect for IU, tone down the rhetoric and leave jabs out of the conversation for a more appropriate time when feelings have simmered down and we can all get back to enjoying the game for fun.

    For IU : The same as above,and maybe the administration could make another reasoned apology(as I recall, they once did make an apology to UK fans for what some experienced there the last time, but my memory is foggy on that, you tell me if that’s right)for what transpired. Hey, it couldn’t hurt.

    Both sides should tone down the negative derision and insinuations towards each other, and simply take a deep breath and agree to come together and do what’s ultimately right for the series, and for college basketball in general.

    Maybe then the series can resume and take its’ place as one of a handful of premiere rivalry games we all want to see every season.

    Reply
    1. KC

      What both sides are forgetting is Calipari was likely to end the series no matter the outcome in Bloomington two years ago. The way the fans acted and the untimely response by the AD to there behavior made it easier to walk away. He was very open about dropping or moving one of the rivalry games to a neutral site between U of L, UNC, and IU. IU-UK made the most sense given the history of playing in Louisville and Indy. One of the reasons behind this was the movement to an 18 game conference schedule, which took an extra home game away and he didn’t want to lose a non-conference home game every other year. Hence, why he delayed the UNC game a year to get it on an opposite schedule with U of L. Calipari has really wanted to get a game in Indy with the Final 4 being there next year and has done so with another version of the champions classic that has UNC, UCLA, and OSU in it. I wanted to keep the series going, but my real concern was finding a worthy replacement and UK has. IU fans care more about this series because this is the only true non-conference rivalry they had. At some point IU fans have to blame Glass and Crean for not finding a suitable replacement. Neither side will back down so do not expect a regular season meeting as long as both coaches and ADs are at their respective schools. College football realignment is one of the major reasons this series along with others like Mizzou-KU (BB), Syracuse-GTown (BB), U of L-Cincy (BB/FB starting next season) , OU-Neb(FB) , ND-Purdue (FB),ND-Mich (FB) and many more are over.

      Reply
  24. Amit

    Greatness also includes winning championships. Winning is a part of a life. Achieving greatness in your job/career, learning to be a leader, learning how to operate within a team and principles of teamwork, all of these things are important in providing the student “a leg up toward living a full life”.

    Student-athletes that are inherently NBA bound anyway will still learn and get better at Kentucky due to the competition they will face from other high caliber athletes. And competition matters in life. It makes you better first of all, and it becomes more intense as you try to climb the ladder. It’s a part of achieving “greatness”. They will have to deal with that at UK, whereas they may not at other schools.

    Furthermore, most basketball student-athletes at UK have been stars most of their lives, but at UK they will have to learn to play like a team, otherwise they won’t achieve success on the court. All of the new guys will be going through the same thing, so its not like a single player would be a lone wolf. And I think that’s helpful in learning to play like a team.

    As freshman/sophomores at UK, they will be immediately thrust into critical roles for the team, and will improve their leadership skills. At other schools that are more junior/senior laden, they may not get that opportunity to be leaders for their team, even if they still play a lot due to their talent.

    I would submit that UK provides a tremendous opportunity for talented, NBA level freshman to learn what it takes to become great (or at least begin learning about that process), to learn teamwork, to take on critical roles and improve leadership skills, to improve fundamental skills related to their craft, and to become part of a fraternity of NBA bound players that can only help you as your career progresses in the NBA.

    Reply
    1. kentsterling Post author

      Nothing wrong with any of that, but is it the role of a university to serve as a minor league for eight month students?

      Greatness certainly includes winning. There is no school anywhere so fully stocked with wisdom that winning doesn’t matter. Even Harvard got tired of losing seasons and fired Coach Sullivan, but that’s not the only measure of college basketball program.

      There is no better way for a young man or woman to prepare for adulthood than through participating in collegiate athletics. About that, we absolutely agree.

      Reply
  25. Warren / TN.

    Kent, having only a cursory awareness of your site previously, and not knowing as much about you and the people associated with you as I think I would like to now, I appreciate your responses very much, as well as your words of encouragement. (how about that for a run-on sentence, but I couldn’t shorten it!!! LOL)

    I think that we share a common ground on some topics. We’re both similar in that we’re not going to be less passionate nor less pointed when we make a statement for the sake of being politically correct. Heaven’s NO !

    I did a quick look search of worthwhile things you’ve been involved with and it didn’t take long for me to see you’ve done some work with the Impact Foundation. That’s all I needed to realize your heart is in the right place. It has to be in a lot of other areas, too, so kudos to you. Keep on keeping on.

    That said, honest men will disagree with one another from time to time, and that’s ok too. I appreciate your spunk and spirit and sharing your passion here on your site. I look forward to returning and keeping abreast of things as you present them!

    best wishes, Warren

    Reply
  26. G F Pruitt

    I think it’s very noble of Kent to stick up for the UK and IU season ticket holder’s to try and get them another marquee game on the home schedule. On the flip side, who will step up and support the non season ticket holders who have little to no chance to see a marquee matchup other than on TV? I don’t know the number of IU season ticket holders, but I have to imagine that it is an incredibly small percentage of IU basketball fans across the state (as it is for UK). Big time games at neutral sites are generally in places far from either state. Neutral sites for past UK-IU games have been at Indy and Louisville. I don’t have season tickets and I can’t go to Atlanta or New York for a UK game. I can easily go to Louisville however, and did so for the Mike Davis run out on the court game. I’ve been to a fair amount of games at Rupp and the vast, vast majority of them were against po-dunk state. Having the opportunity as a non season ticket holder to see a big game was pretty sweet and one of my best “I was there” UK sports moments.

    I’m 51, growing up as kid in Lexington in the 70’s IU was UK’s biggest rival in my eyes. Tennessee and LSU being close second and third. No UL series yet, Duke wasn’t even on my radar. We played UNC and Kansas some, but IU was the villain in my mind. Even though UK has owned IU in the past 20 years or so, I still feel that way to some degree. But guess what? That’s no longer the case with scores of younger UK fans that don’t have my memories. Several reason for that like the emergence of the UL series, but the disappearance of IU from national prominence for the past 25 years is certainly at the top of the list. Sorry IU fans, but if the roles were reversed perhaps you just might feel the same way.

    As to how the series ended a few years ago, here’s my take. It’s obvious that the lines were drawn as to home & home vs neutral sites between the two universities. To break the deadlock IU assumed that they had gained back enough national attention that they could play hard ball and thus abruptly canceled the series – catching UK & Barnhart by surprise. I think IU was gambling on epic outcry from fans and media to strong arm UK back into the home and home format. Not only was/is IU wrong on their return to national prominence, but they were dead wrong in their gamble as well. Both sides went back and forth some with UK trying to gain back the high ground by offering to play more neutral site games in Indy, etc., but the die had been cast and Cal finally had to tell Tom to “move on”. UK (the program and fanbase) was more than ready to do just that and has done so without hardly even looking back. The only lamenting of the discontinued series comes from a few media types like Vitale and the “outraged” IU fanbase. I see practically nothing from local UK media and fanbase clamoring for the games return.

    My prediction though, is that the series will be restarted in a few years. It can’t happen until Crean is gone because he cannot (or will not) withstand the humiliation of giving in to Cal/UK and playing at neutral sites. Barring an unbelievable (and unexpected) reversal, the Crean movement looks to be swirling around the toilet and will be flushed into the Bloomington sewers in 2 or 3 years. The IU fanbase has gotten to peek thru the window at the elite teams the past few years and Crean’s leveling off at mediocrity will not sate their desire to be what they once were. When Crean is gone, IU will “reach out” to UK and the Indy/Louisville games will restart.

    Reply
    1. kentsterling Post author

      Just to be real clear, the first priority in collegiate athletics should be the student-athletes, the second should be the enhancement of the college experience the events can generate for the student body. A long way down the list is the convenience and entertainment available to boosters and fans. Whether attending a game in Louisville is easier for UK or IU fans is beyond meaningless to me.

      Part of my discourteousness is reserved for those in charge of putting together the non conference schedule for Indiana. The students have nothing but walkovers to watch prior to the Big Ten season. They should be able to see at least a couple of games featuring schools they have actually heard of before the beginning of the New Year.

      Indiana wanted kids to be able to see the game, and Kentucky didn’t care one way or the other. That’s what killed the series.

      Reply

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