Often lost in the hoopla surrounding Kentucky’s massively annoying rivals like Florida, Tennessee and of course the filthy Cards, is a team and program that the Cats have played more than any non-conference foe save for Notre Dame. We’re talking about Indiana, folks, the Hoosiers if you’re nasty. Today we’re going to take a stroll down memory lane and learn a little bit about the history of the Indiana-Kentucky rivalry.
You may be wondering why I’m here talking about our history with Indiana. Well, kind sir or madam, I’m glad you asked, even though I guess you didn’t technically ask. I guess I just assumed you’d ask, so, sorry for doing that and I’ll try to be more courteous in the future. Anyway, we’re talking about Hoosier history because finding an IU fan who will talk about the present is tougher than surviving a Chuck Norris roundhouse crossed with a Mike Porter headbutt. Thus, I had to resort to some old-fashioned research to bring you, the voter, the best information. I also happen to think the rivalry is a little underappreciated with the uber-hatable Donovan and Pearl in conference and the Big Red just down the road. Wait, you thought I meant Louisville? Nah. I was thinking more like this big red. So enjoy these few pearls of wisdom about our rivals to the north…or sort of west…whatever.
Kentucky leads the series 28-23 although six of our losses came prior to World War II, so the total is a little skewed. The Cats have won 65% of the games against the Hoosiers since the Second Great War. Now, this doesn’t mean I’m saying that the beginning of our success against Indiana had anything to do with the powers of good overcoming the Third Reich and European fascism. I’m not saying that their program may or may not have had some questionable connections to Mussolini and the gang which may or may not have led to their early victories over us. I’m not saying any of that. But the numbers are there…so…judge for yourself.
Indiana traditionally held the edge in the head-to-head with the Cats through the 70s and 80s while Bobby Knight was bringing Bloomington title banners. Unfortunately for Knight and the subsequent (cough) weak ass (cough) coaches that have led Indiana, we’ve been tearing up Hoosier tail for about the last twenty years. Kentucky has taken 13 of 17 since coming off probation and sports two separate five-game win streaks in that time, figuring to add to that trend Saturday when the heavily undermanned Hoosiers will battle the mighty Wildcats. They’ll be coming with their normal “Shades of White” homegrown talent and those fabulous candystripe pants (insert lisp at your own leisure), although they’ll be noticeably short on talent and severely lacking in, you know, victory.
While my personal favorite in this series is and always will be Mike Davis’ completely normal protest in 2002, there are several games that bear some more historical significance, one which was particularly important in college basketball history. Way back in the mid-1970’s, Indiana was a basketball power. You probably remember that in 1976, they went undefeated and won the national title. If not for our beloved Wildcats, they might have done it in back-to-back years. Kentucky knocked off the undefeated Hoosiers 92-90 in the Elite Eight in 1975, the only loss they suffered in the two-season span. (The Cats went on to lose the championship to UCLA in John Wooden’s last game.) This kept Indiana from doing something that has yet to be historically approached and saved us from a guaranteed lifetime of grainy, HD-ruining images of Knight and his plaid jacket.
It’s awfully tempting to go with last year’s “hey that’s the wrong Crawford scoring all those points” debacle. I was not able to fully watch the game, as I was attending the crushing of my alma mater Lone Oak’s magical football season in the state championship game. However, I’m fully cognizant of how painful it was. It wasn’t as painful as the Marco Killingsworth show, however. I had the pleasure of listening to that gem on the radio on a long drive and have been afraid to listen to games ever since. Nothing was as insufferable as changing the station and not being able to shake the mental picture I had constructed of that monster hitting fadeaways while we closed our eyes and hurled up underhand shots en route to about 3% shooting. I’m getting sad just thinking about it. What? You too? Well, perk up big guy. Here you go. That’s better.
The All We Did Something Special Against Indiana So Give Us An Award Team
Derek Anderson: For this dunk. Hoosier daddy? D.A., bitches.
Chuck Hayes: For dropping an almost career-high 22 on Indiana in 2003. And for being a bad ass.
Jamal Mashburn: For averaging 21 and 8 in three games against the Loosiers. And for being a bad ass.
Shagari Alleyne: For recording his last of four career double-digit scoring games in a 2004 win. And for producing the funniest story about poop I have ever read. (You’re gonna wanna go to #10 on this list.)
Kelvin Sampson: Thanks to his propensity for calling people outside his Fave 5 (that’s what he did right?), coach Sampson has done more to beat Indiana than the rest of these guys could ever hope for. Kudos.
The All Indiana Sucks but Somehow These Guys Pissed Me Off Something Fierce Team
Killingsworth: Did I mention this game also coincided with the day of my grandmother’s funeral? Yes, it’s safe to say I hate this guy.
Robert Vaden: Not only did he participate in the Killingsworth game, he managed to pop up last season and light us up for about a hundred for UAB.
Calbert Cheaney: My six-year-old self called and asked me to put him in here. Seems he was the first opposing player I disliked for no reason at all. I got the last laugh though. Who would have guessed that Blue Chips would be the high point of his career?
Steve Alford: Wasn’t around when he played, but this is for making me listen to his name for something like ten straight offseasons as Indiana decided who would replace Knight, then Davis, then Sampson. Thank goodness he’s exiled himself to New Mexico.
Luke Recker: One of the all-time great David Padgett, “That guy is still in college?” all-stars, this is for tricking me into believing you could play college basketball for nine years.
So there you go sports fans. Just a little history lesson before this weekend’s showdown with the evil Hoosiers. Of course, this season they’re more cute evil than evil evil. They’re more “Ghosts from Mario 3” evil than say, Poltergeist evil. Either way, Tom Arnold…er…Crean will lead his troops into Rupp Saturday for what should be a good old-fashioned kicking while they’re down. Hide the women and children this weekend folks, especially if they’re under investigation for tax fraud, as the Feds will expect them to be watching the game and they’d be easily apprehended. Once that’s off your mind, go ahead and settle in for the Jon Sciambi-free festivities and enjoy the whoopin’.
I got most of this information from Jon Scott’s unbelievable website.