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Making The Case For Kansas


Earlier this week on the radio show, Matt and Ryan briefly touched on the Indiana rivalry again.  Ryan, having grown up in Indiana, was assumed to have a more passionate desire to see the rivalry continue.  When pressed though, he admitted it was more about having good, big games with a great atmosphere on the schedule – not Indiana specifically.  Which got me thinking – if all we’re looking for is a great game in a great atmosphere, why don’t we just pick some new rivals?  I’m all fine with Indiana, and I don’t want to detract from the history of that rivalry, but let’s be honest.  Indiana at their best is a sweet sixteen team, and at this point they aren’t even on our schedule, so I would like to make the case for adding Kansas as a rival.

I know – generally speaking – you don’t just get to pick and choose your rivals.  And there is no way a UK-KU rivalry would likely ever have the heat behind it the Tennessee one does, and certainly it wouldn’t reach Louisville proportions.  But I do think it could be great for the fans and the programs, and I think that’s the case for a number of reasons.

Storied Tradition

Right now, Kansas and Kentucky are at the top of the all time NCAA wins list, with only 10 wins separating the two.  They have five national titles to our eight, and dominate the Big 12 the same way Kentucky dominates the SEC.  Their history includes James Naismith, the inventor of basketball – ours includes Adolph Rupp, one of the best coaches to walk to sidelines.  The tradition is rich on both sides, and both sides continue to build on it to this day.  With Calipari and Self at the helm, both programs look to continue their dominance in the near future.

On Court Match Ups

There was a period where Kentucky played Kansas on the regular – from 1969 to 1985.   But since I wasn’t born until the year after that, perhaps someone else can tell me why it ended.  Either way – there’s not much venom currently between the two programs and that may be a disservice to the idea of a rivalry.  But that doesn’t mean we haven’t had our run ins recently.  Most notably the NCAA championship game in 2012.  But don’t forget, Kentucky played Kansas earlier that season in Madison Square Garden, and both seemed to be on a collision course for the title game in 2010 when they were clearly the best two teams in the country.   You would also be remiss not to note that Kansas’s last championship came against a John Calipari lead Memphis team.

Off The Court Match Ups

You can start with Xavier Henry if you like, or Perry Ellis, Julius Randle, or some guys from way back that I can’t remember.  But it pretty much starts and ends with Andrew Wiggins.  It remains to be seen as to just how electric Wiggins will be, but if he is like some believe, he will be a program changer.  Just like John Wall set a culture at Kentucky, there’s a good chance Wiggins sets one for Kansas down the line.  With Wall and Wiggins being premiere stars in the NBA, the Kansas/Kentucky rivalry has a chance to transcend the sport.

Fan Bases and Arenas

Duke has dorks, North Carolina has the wine and cheese crowd, Louisville has DJ’s and Tennessee has a terrible basketball team.  Kansas has what most believe to be the best arena in the college game, and with that come some of the best fans.  They aren’t as numerous as Big Blue Nation, and they aren’t as passionate or all encompassing – I mean, you don’t see ‘Rock Chalk Jayhawk in the Morning’ youtube videos – but they may be the closest we can get to brethren in the college game.  Plus, I hear the Chipotle in the media room at Phog Allen is reason enough alone to schedule this series.

Shaping the Landscape

Most importantly, I think a Kansas/Kentucky rivalry has a chance to shape the landscape of college basketball for years to come.  KU lost their premiere rival in Missouri with the move to the SEC.  Louisville is doing well, but I’m not sold on how long they can sustain a year in and year out great basketball team – and even if they can, I’m not looking to replace them anyway.  Carolina is fun to play for a lot of these same reasons, but they will always be connected to the Duke rivalry before one with Kentucky.  Make this a yearly game, and I guarantee it becomes one of the top ten games to watch every season.

What do y’all think?  Kansas – should we or shouldn’t we?

Article written by Will Lentz

33 Comments for Making The Case For Kansas

  1. Policy
    8:20 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    Kansas has three titles. Helms do not count.

  2. HillbillyInBC
    8:22 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    KU only has 3 titles — 1952, 1988, and 2008. Don’t fall for that Helms crap.

  3. ScottyB
    8:23 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    I wouldn’t mind seeing it happen, but not at the expense of UNC or ahead of Duke. Cal has good history with Self.

  4. Bill Fawns
    8:24 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    We had that series (69-85} in which KY dominated them. At least 70 to 80 % wins for KY. I think Kansas wanted out of the series as they just could not keep up.
    I agree a new series would be great and I think it would be more even than in the past which would make it much more of a rivalry.
    I’m all for it!

  5. ajh
    8:27 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    Very interesting article. Id probably ratherhave kansas over any of those top programs. Their program and fan base is very similar to ours. it would be nice to beat up on syracuse too tho…

  6. Big Blue Earl
    8:29 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    Rupp was from Kansas and Calipari started his coaching career at Kansas so, there is a little connection between the schools.

  7. Duuuuuude
    8:31 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    You somehow failed to mention that Adolph Rupp was born in Kansas, attended KU, and played ball for Phog Allen back in the 20’s.

  8. Smiley Pete
    8:37 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    Kansas has three titles, not five. You also failed to mention the Calipari/Self rivalry and history which is one of the more compelling reasons to add KU.

  9. nunya
    8:40 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    Any writer on this site so uninformed as to not know about KUs pitiful inclusion of their Helms titles in their championship count should immediately be banned from ever writing anything again.

  10. Chris
    8:42 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    We played Kansas for a few years when Tubby was the coach. I would love to see an annual game with Duke. I can’t stand them, and I would love the opportunity to crush them any time we played.

  11. TheArmadilloJackel
    8:45 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    May we all take a moment to thank god we are not Indiana…

    8:48 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    Should for sure!!!! two great programs year in and year out great fans great coaches! I think if they would play this game in a huge arena I think it could beat the all time attendance record!! Plus we would be playing for the all time wins record every year and I think that you should be made to play just for that alone

  13. Duuuuuude
    8:49 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    One of the most memorable games I remember was with Kansas in 1978. Both teams undefeated. Kentucky was down by 6 with 30 seconds on the clock. This was before the 3 point shot, so I remember it felt pretty hopeless. We came back on some coaching blunders by Kansas and won the game. Caywood was going crazy!

  14. Indiana Tom
    8:52 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    Born and raised in Eastern Kentucky, lived in Indiana now for several years after a job transfer. In my opinion, the IU and UK rivalry was the best for fans in this area except maybe for U of L and UK. Would love to see the Big 4 Classic with UK, IU, U of L and Notre Dame every year rotated between Indy and Louisville and Lexington. It happened once before and its time to get it started again.

  15. bosshogg24
    8:53 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    Glad you are not in charge Will, worse suggestion I ever heard! You have nothing to gain by playing Kansas and ever thing to lose! How many McDonald All-American players do we get from Kansas?

  16. Nope
    9:12 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    Just to be clear, KU only has 3 Actual titles(NCAA) that anyone tracks for records sake. Plus UK has 1 other Title we don’t count so let’s have it both ways to be fair.

  17. Nope
    9:20 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    Will, BTW… Good article. Lot of haters on here but I gt your point and agree KU fans are more like UK fans than any other blue blood school. They are truly passionate & embrace the hell out of their tradition. Just like Kentucky, there’s not another damn thing to do in Kansas than love bball. Hell, if they had 5 more championships they’d be nearly a mirror image.

  18. Real UK Fan
    9:28 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    There is nothing to be gained from playing Kansas. We rarely recruit in that area. UCLA or someone in the Northeast makes more sense.

  19. UK#1
    9:32 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    Who is this writer Matt? This guy needs to do some research before he feels the need to stop typing. I don’t like him already.

  20. bigcatstanding
    9:33 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    #14 I’m with you regardless on how far Indiana makes it in the tournament, the proximity makes it the better game, everyone knows each year approximately what day we will be playing Louisville, and Indiana and nothing makes me feel better than putting a beat down on those two. Could care less about the Kentucky being afraid comments from Indiana fans, just love seeing those two seas of red go home with their heads hanging lol!! $$ BBN RULES. ILF#9

  21. tooblueforyou
    9:42 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    I had no clue will lentz still wrote for ksr, weird. Im forgainst it.

  22. Indiana Tom
    9:53 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    bigcatstanding your right on. Love to see em making excuses after we kick their hindends. I use to say, as long as we beat U of L and IU our season is complete. Well almost.LOL

  23. Cayts and Faycts
    9:55 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    I want all of our “cupcake” games to be in-state (Murray, Morehead, NKU, EKU, WKU, UL). Keep that money in the Commonwealth. I’d also be open to scheduling teams close-by if we get tired of these every once in a while, such as Cincy, Xavier, Evansville, Marshall, etc to get those UK fans a chance to root for the Cayts too. I also want to play a “great” team from each major conference, so how about UNC/Duke (ACC), UCLA/Arizona (Pac), KU/Texas (Big12), and OSU/IU (Big 10)?

  24. Michael
    10:38 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    UNC and UL for fans.
    UCLA for west coast recruiting.

    Add a couple of neutral site games… like the Baylor game…insert KU, IU, MSU, Cincy, Notre Dame, Uconn, Duke… $$$$ and recruiting.

    Fill out the rest of the schedule with bunnies, instate home games, and away games located for recruiting and player’s family.

    The problem with Syracuse is that Boeheim doesn’t leave the state of NY until conference play. Would love to play them, but it would have to be @ MSG every year. Not too happy about that, would similar to playing a true road game.

    I’m also interested in seeing a UK/Memphis game.

  25. Michael
    10:41 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    Have the UCLA game played at Staples Center.

  26. J
    11:23 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    KU has THREE titles you boob! Love the site but someone has to proofread this drivel. Unbelievable!

  27. Whos Counting
    11:38 pm September 20, 2013 Permalink

    Why shouldnt Kansas claim the Helms? Is Kentucky going to claim the NCAA Titles if/when the organization disbands?

  28. Real Teams Don't Count Helms
    2:14 am September 21, 2013 Permalink

    ^That’s retarded. UK doesn’t count Helms. He’s counting Helms for KU (pathetic they hang banners), but no for UK.

  29. EK
    8:18 am September 21, 2013 Permalink

    They are already working on games with UCLA, hope that is a home and home. Playing the loosiers is a no win for the CATS….. If we beat them, it’s oh well we beat indiana, ho hum… if they beat us they cut down the nets, hang banners,make t-shirts…. Fu-ck indiana!!! KU would be good, Hell let’s sign up all the blue bloods every year and just kick everybodies ASS!! GO CATS!!

  30. MustangCat
    10:00 am September 21, 2013 Permalink

    Hey, we should play them every year for no other reason then the “UK vs KU” moniker!!! And, we don”t recruit an area anymore. We recruit the top of the national class. Top 40 minimum. Mostly top 25. Beyond the top 40 is just filler for us. We beat out Kansas for Randle – just THIS YEAR!! Wiggins only went there because he couldn’t handle the pressure of playing with an entire class of his equals! Which says a lot more about Randle and the twins, and Young, Johnson, and Lee. Randle looked at that class and WANTED to lead them! Wiggins looked at that class and thought “I’ll get lost”. Wiggins can average 25 to Randle’s 15 this year, and we will have gotten the best of that deal. Because i guarantee you we will go farther in the big dance then they will. We will get #9 if we stay healthy. I want to play KU, NC, and Duke, and UL, then pick up a UCLA or Syracuse occasionally. IU is history as long as Crean is there. He will never take them anywhere.

  31. If we count Helms
    10:25 am September 21, 2013 Permalink

    If Kansas wants to count Helms and compare to us then you have to count our 7 of those. So if they have five NC’s then we have 15.

  32. BradinMississippi
    8:21 pm September 21, 2013 Permalink

    Well where do I start. I usually don’t critique these articles but this one seems like it was written by someone that knows absolutely nothing about the history of college basketball.
    Rupp played at Kansas and won one of those mythical national titles. There is a picture of Rupp, Allen, and Naimsmith drawing up plays. Calipari coached at Kansas. Kansas has 3 national titles. If your going to count those made up titles then you need to count our early NIT titles.

  33. Mike
    9:31 pm September 21, 2013 Permalink

    Pitino ended the series after Kansas ran up the score on him big time in his first season. However Ricky pressed full court until the bitter end.