UK was taken aback by the fact that Indiana abruptly announced the end of the UK-IU series today. The Cats still thought that there were negotiations ongoing and were hoping to finish a verbal agreement with IU to continue the series on the neutral court. Two options were on the table:
1. Play in Indianapolis and Louisville, with IU helping to secure the rights to the Yum Center (and the subsequent Louisville waiver of its priority rights for one game) for a neutral site game.
2. Both games at Lucas Oil Stadium, seating between 40,000-50,000.
UK was going to offer their season ticket holders rights to the game under the second scenario, including allowing a student section, etc. The same setup would have been offered by Indiana as well. However Indiana, likely worried about Kentucky outdrawing the Hoosiers in their own state, apparently decided that option wasn’t sustainable.
Now the question is, who does Kentucky play now? Here is the schedule as it stands:
Duke in Atlanta
Maryland in Brooklyn
Road game at Big East opponent
Kentucky is looking to add one more neutral site game against a power opponent (Texas or UCLA?), with locations for the game to be determined. Nashville is a strong possibility depending on the team. In addition, the possibility of a Home and Home series is still being looked into as well (Kansas is a team that has been discussed), although it can only be done if the first game is in Rupp Arena.
The UNC and Indiana series seem to be ending (although with UNC, it might start back again next year), which is a shame…but Calipari believes that with the way he recruits and the quick turnover of players, he needs flexibility in scheduling strength. The neutral site game would have given it and when Indiana refused, the series took a temporary end.
At least we won the last one….