Rick Stansbury was hired in Bowling Green a little over two years ago. Since getting the job, he has brought in two five-star recruits and taken a team to the NIT semi-finals.
First, I should start with some background. I am a recent graduate of WKU. During my time on the Hill, I covered Stansbury’s WKU teams. I learned very quickly from the former Mississippi State head coach that he wants to play Kentucky.
That leads us to this past week. Stansbury was in Louisville where he proposed a state of Kentucky tournament. He said:
“I wish we could come up with some kind of tournament. … How we could get Kentucky and Louisville, ourself, and another school in a tournament somewhere. It’d be great for everybody. You’d get three of the flagship programs in the country tradition-wise.”
For more quotes from his entire visit to Louisville, you can click here.
My guess is Stansbury is basing this off of the Crossroads Classic that the state of Indiana does. Each year, Purdue, Indiana, Butler and Notre Dame meet in Indianapolis and play two games similar to the Champions Classic.
Should Kentucky do something similar? Maybe we have four teams, but guarantee that Kentucky and Louisville never play during the classic. For example, the first year could have Kentucky vs. NKU/Murray State and WKU vs. Louisville.
This could replace the Adolph Rupp Classic and add more fun to the non-conference schedule. I would be on board for something similar to be adopted.
In fact, if we wanted to get really interesting, we could make it an eight team tournament. The state of Kentucky has seven Division One basketball teams. What if those seven teams plus one of the other teams in the state played in a tournament?
How it would work? The tournament could occur every two years. It would rotate between four different arenas around the state. One year the Yum Center in Louisville could host, one year could be Memorial Coliseum/Rupp Arena in Lexington, one year could be BB&T Arena in Highland Heights and one year could be at Diddle Arena in Bowling Green.
The bracket would be a random draw. Each team would be guaranteed three games. This would allow a direct showing of the ranking of the teams in the state. For example, here is how it could look if this tournament was hosted next season:
The guarantee in creating this tournament would be that Kentucky and Louisville would automatically be one separate sides, so that they could only play in the championship game if necessary.
We can always go back to Adolph Rupp’s opinion on playing in-state schools other than UofL. He didn’t see any value in it and while I do agree with it, I would like to see an event like this at some point.
So now I ask you, which system would you prefer? Or would you rather not have anything like it? Vote in the poll below and if you have a better idea, please let me know in the comment section below.