It’s a question that, at this point, is seemingly older than time itself: Will Indiana and Kentucky ever resume their basketball series? What was once one of college basketball’s best, most heated rivalries hasn’t been played in the regular season since 2011.
At this point, the topic has been litigated and re-litigated to the point that both fan-bases seem tired of it. We all know why the game isn’t played, and we all know why each side believes they are right. We also know that each team has plenty of marquee games without each other. Between Kentucky with its commitments to the Champion’s Classic, CBS Sports Classic and Big 12-SEC Challenge, and Indiana with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, Crossroads Classic and Gavitt Games, neither is lacking for big games in the out of conference.
But still, wouldn’t it be nice to get them back together? Archie Miller thinks so, and hopes it can happen soon.
Miller joined KSR’s “Aaron Torres Podcast” today for a long, wide-ranging interview on the state of college hoops. He discussed what Indiana is doing to keep its players safe, why college basketball in a bubble could work and his thoughts on his 2020-2021 roster (which should actually be really good).
And finally, as the conversation wrapped, Aaron asked about the future of Indiana-Kentucky and whether it could happen in the future (you can download the full episode here).
“I do, I do [think it could happen],” Miller said. “I think, No. 1, it’s a great game. And it’s going to generate great fanfare, it’s going to generate great comradery with the schools, television. In general, if you go back, the split RCA Dome, half blue, half red, and some of the games people grew up watching.”
He continued, admitting that while he and John Calipari have never personally talked about re-igniting the rivalry, others within each program have.
“I think it can happen,” Miller said. I think a lot of people want it to happen. I think conversations fly through both offices at times. Cal and I have never spoken directly about it. I think we’ve had intermediaries [talk about it]. I think we’ve had our administrations bump around and talk about it.”
As Miller mentions, clearly a few things have to happen before we move forward.
One, we need to get through this pandemic. It’s meaningless to plan out of conference matchups for years down the road, when no one knows what college basketball will even look like this year. Right now the focus of everyone – as it should be – is just trying to get games on the court in late 2020 or early 2021. What happens down the line can be saved for another day.
Two, there is obviously the “when and how” factor.
Previously John Calipari has made it pretty clear that he has no interest in going to Assembly Hall, and at least under negotiations with previous Indiana AD Fred Glass, that was a non-starter. When the rivalry was last played, Glass suggested that the two sides sign a four-year deal, with two games in Indianapolis, and one each at Rupp Arena and Assembly Hall. Again, that was something Calipari simply wasn’t interested in.
But since those last negotiations, things have changed. Glass has retired as Indiana’s AD and Tom Crean has left the basketball program and has been replaced by Miller, who appears to be open to playing.
Most recently, Calipari said that because of other scheduling responsibilities, he couldn’t see a scenario where the game was played for at least another few years. But could the two teams get back together in the future? It seems more possible now than ever before.
To listen to the full interview with Archie Miller, click here. Or download below.