Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Indiana turned down the chance to play Kentucky. Again.
Once one of the best rivalries in the sport, the Kentucky vs. Indiana basketball series has fallen by the wayside. In 2016, the Hoosiers knocked the Cats out of the NCAA Tournament, but the home-and-home series has been dormant since Kentucky lost to Indiana in Assembly Hall in December 2011. Unfortunately, Indiana fans’ behavior during and after the game spelled the end of the home-and-home series in Kentucky’s eyes, but the Cats have offered to play Indiana numerous times in neutral court settings, and each time, the Hoosiers have said no.
Today on KSR, UK Basketball scheduling guru DeWayne Peevy said he and John Calipari reached out to Indiana a few years ago to invite them to participate in the CBS Sports Classic, but the Hoosiers declined.
“We had an opportunity, the CBS Sports Classic we had, we invited Indiana to be a part of that because it was an idea that Cal and I crafted because we were trying to have the four best teams, the [schools with the most] national championships. They decided to pass on that at the time, but there may be another opportunity. We’ll see.”
Since the CBS Sports Classic’s inception in 2014, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State, and UCLA have squared off in the United Center, the Barclays Center, and last year, T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. This year, Kentucky will play UCLA at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans on December 23. No offense to Ohio State, who actually beat the Cats in the event in 2015, but Indiana would be a much more intriguing addition to the series.
Now that Tom Crean is gone and Cal’s friend Archie Miller is the head coach in Bloomington, is there new hope for the series? Peevy said he hasn’t spoken to anyone at Indiana about it since the new staff came in, but he’s always willing to listen.
“I’ve seen some public comments about different things, but I haven’t talked to anybody from Indiana’s administration or the basketball staff myself. But we’re always willing to listen to different proposals.”
Your move, Indiana.