Maybe the worst crowd ever.
Well, there isn’t any big UK-related news this morning, and unlike Pete Thamel, I’m not going to try to invent any (Boom, roasted). But there is something rotten in the Yum! Center, and it looks like it’s not just that old double down that Martin left under the bleachers. No, this is worse. What could be worse, you ask? It’s
the StayPuft Marshmallow Man a potential rivalry game between Louisville and Indiana.
After UK and IU found they couldn’t resolve their differences, Rick Pitino, ever the opportunist, jumped on the Hoosiers’ open schedule, and is trying to arrange a home-and-home with Tom Crean. Seriously, that was fast. Like, fifteen-seconds fast. But Andy Katz is officially reporting that “Louisville coach Rick Pitino said he wants to play Indiana next season.”
I’m left wondering: is that sycophantic, or savvy?
My first reaction is that Louisville is letting their inferiority complex show, going after what Kentucky decided not to use in the hopes that it will get some attention. It’s like that almost-popular guy in high school that asks the quarterback’s ex-girlfriend to prom hoping that she’ll be mad enough at her former beau that she’ll say yes. Louisville knew it didn’t have a chance while IU was still on our schedule, but with this new schism between the formerly friendly head coaches, maybe there’s a chance that the Cards could sweep in and nab this game in a true “enemy-of-my-enemy” type friendship. And I want to think that doing so just shows how desperate Louisville is to be like Kentucky.
But the more I think about it, and the more I want to make fun of it, it’s actually a smart move. Man, it sucks to say that. But think about it: UK will get national attention almost regardless of what its schedule looks like. They’re the reigning champs, and people want to see how they recover from losing so much talent. Plus, there’s that flat top. That’s a ratings draw in and of itself. But UL and IU aren’t the media darlings that Kentucky is. Indiana may come close, but they’re not quite there yet. So what better way get some attention than a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” scheduling bargain? And geographically, the game makes sense. Louisville is practically in Indiana (and smells like it, too).
The timing couldn’t be better, either, assuming they get to play in 2012 (and Katz suspects they might not play until 2013). Schedule this game last year, and it gets overlooked by several other non-conference games. Schedule it next year, and both teams may not be very good. This year, though? It could be the UK/UNC of the 2012-13 season. Two top-5 teams (if they make it that long) playing out of conference early in the year? Non-UK college basketball fans will eat that one up.
As much as I want to think that Pitino is going after our garbage here, I have to say that this is probably a smart move on his part. I don’t like to admit it, but sour grapes make a bitter whine. You think, if the tables were turned, that Calipari wouldn’t schedule a game like this to jab Pitino? And do you think we wouldn’t like it? I remember at one point there was a push to try and get Swopshire to play for us, not because he was all that great, but just because it might piss Pitino off. Apparently, two can play that game.
The question now is, what do I root for here?
A: The floor to cave in.