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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Where are WKU and Murray on the Basketball Schedule?

Often times, the second tier games on a basketball schedule are what make or break the difficulty of that schedule.  UK will always have the UNC’s and Louisville’s of the world on the schedule.  Now we are involved in 2 different round-robin tournaments that will give us 2 more marquee games every year.  But to me, it’s Boise State and Belmont from last year that make the schedule especially tough.  Those are mid-major teams with high NCAA Tournament hopes and the ability, on a great night, to challenge UK.  But I have to wonder: why not give a little more love to the in-state schools like Murray State and Western Kentucky? 

Kentucky announced last week that Eastern Kentucky would be back on the schedule for 2014-15 and UK hosted Northern Kentucky last season, which just transitioned into Division 1.  But do you realize that Kentucky has NEVER played Murray State in basketball.  Never.  That is stunning to me.  Western Kentucky is not much better, having played UK only 6 times in it’s history and 3 of those were during the NCAA Tournament when UK had no choice.  Let’s not forget the last time the 2 teams played in the regular season WKU beat UK in Rupp Arena in 2001.

What I don’t understand is why not schedule non-conference games against WKU and Murray, which would be solid non-conference games that you are still VERY likely to win over the Belmonts and Boise State’s of the world, in which the scenario is the same but your fans have less of a special interest in seeing?  WKU and Murray don’t hurt your RPI in any way, shape, or form, but in the Calipari era also have very little chance to beat you.  Not to mention that the games would always be in Rupp Arena.

The answer is probably something internal.  Some kind of disagreement between athletic directors or coaches of the past.  There is always something the general fan would never know why those games can not be scheduled.  But what is incredibly confusing to me is UK found a way to put WKU on the FOOTBALL schedule for 4 straight years, including 2 of them in Nashville, but can’t find a way to schedule a game on the basketball court.  And let me make this clear: THIS COULD TOTALLY BE ON WKU.  WKU and UL have been playing on a yearly basis for a few years now and UL actually went to Nashville for a couple games and even Bowling Green one year.  I am sure Kentucky would not want that deal if WKU is offering that.  But we don’t know.  What we do know is Kentucky is now on its 3rd coach and WKU is on it’s FOURTH coach since the 2 teams played last.  What has happened with the Murray State relationship is a mystery as well.  But either way, having them on the schedule would be a bonus for the state in general.

But the point is scheduling these teams would not decrease the quality of the schedule one bit.  Would we rather see WKU and EKU in Rupp Arena or UNC-Asheville and Robert Morris?  How big of an issue is this for me?  Not very big.  But look, I am a WKU alum.  In my 4 years in Bowling Green, I saw WKU play UL twice, play Murray every year, Eastern Kentucky every year, and never even sniff playing UK.  And I can tell you in those 4 years, WKU would not have beaten UK once, or played them within 10 points.  Point being, there was no harm in scheduling WKU.  All it would do is give the UK fans another non-conference game that would garner more interest while keeping the schedule strong.

And if you’re argument is that you are scared these teams might actually beat the Cats, then what does that say about you?  That you are scared of mid-major programs in the state?  That is no way to approach a schedule.  I see no negatives to scheduling these teams.  They wouldn’t try and make you play in their gyms, big interest in the state, small chance of losing.  If Murray or WKU is trying to secure a home game, then I get it.  But if not, I don’t see any reason not to seriously consider this.  Don’t tell me UK has nothing to gain by scheduling these games.  If that is the case, what gain do they have in scheduling Wofford or Siena?  At least Murray and WKU would get more interest.

I just wonder what you all think.  Do you want to see more in-state schools on the schedule on a yearly basis?  Or is that an unimportant factor in the schedule for you?

Article written by Bryan the Intern

51 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Where are WKU and Murray on the Basketball Schedule?

  1. Brian
    9:08 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    Murray wants UK to come play at Murray & UK won’t do that. It would be great for the west Ky Cat fans to see UK play though. CFSB Center hold about 8,500 fans & I’m sure UK doesn’t feel that is nough

    • WardIsTheWorstADif....
      1:03 pm May 13, 2014 Permalink

      …he turns UK down. I have a hard time believing that Ward would put that into a possible contract but Murray believes they are their own big boy brand now too. I am a Murray State alumni but I bleed blue. If you wear UK (or any other school) gear into the CFSB center for game days they put you on the screens and laugh/boo. Just so happens the time I was put up on it I had on our Natl championship shirt on. That is why I have been posting for the past 5 years about why hasn’t UK EVER played Murray…just for the beat down. The “true” Racer fans are becoming obnoxious and starting to mimic little brother…UK doesn’t need to stand for this!!!!! Please HELP your Western KY Wildcats…

  2. Ray in Paducah
    9:08 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    UK would beat Murray 9 times out of 10. That one loss probably would have come in 2012-2013.

    • Adam
      11:41 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

      Murray had an off year in ’12-’13, too.

  3. Rick in TX
    9:09 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    Geez Bryan, we’ve already got 4 in-state programs on the schedule that we can beat and two of them have made the NCAA tournament recently.

  4. Joe
    9:10 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    They want home and home schedules and eku and nku did not have that requirement

  5. Micki DeMoss's Mustache
    9:15 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    Matt says that Murray wants a home and home, but I have a hard time believing that Alan Ward (their AD) would ever think that’s a reasonable demand…maybe that’s Murray’s way of saying they don’t want to play UK while still saving some face. I think a better option would be a home and home, but with Murray’s home game being at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. It’s only 2 hours away from Murray, and would give a lot of southern KY-area UK fans a chance to see the Cats play. I’m sure the two schools could work out some sort of revenue-sharing agreement.

    • JC
      9:54 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

      Alan Ward insists that UK play in Murray. It has been a long time Murray State policy to demand home and homes or at least 2 for 1’s in basketball since the 80’s. Having UK come to Murray would be a logistical nightmare for everyone involved. UK would lose money out of a two year series. Meanwhile, a home game for UK against Murray would fiscally be another game against an instate rival where Murray makes the money and UK loses it.

  6. JaredCarterIsMyHomeboy
    9:16 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    Do you even listen to Matt on the radio show?

  7. Micki DeMoss's Mustache
    9:16 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    Also, when’s the last time that Teeng Akol had his picture on the website? Gotta be the Marshall County Suckfest.

    • Adam
      11:54 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

      What’s wrong with Hoops Fest?

    • Dennis Foust
      1:12 pm May 13, 2014 Permalink

      Marshall County Suckfest? You haven’t been there lately. Besides, what does that have to do with UK playing Murray State?

  8. Roofus Howls
    9:22 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    The best way to schedule Murray would be to package it with a football guarantee game and a game in Nashville. Maybe something like a game at Rupp, a game in Nashville and 2 FB games in Commonwealth.

    I can see a reason for scheduling Murray. Most years the Racers are good and it would be a “decent” non-conference game for UK (not discounting MSU’s success, I have two degrees from Murray and count the Racers as my second favorite team).

  9. Owensborocatfan
    9:22 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    Not sure about WKU but at one time Murray was ‘demanding’ a home and home agreement with UK – of which UK was simply not willing to grant. This was back in the 1990s but one would think that hatchet would have been buried by now.

  10. V
    9:27 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    When do Championship Classic in Indy tix go on sale?

  11. Creans Crew
    9:30 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    Of course they are afraid to play Murray and WKU, example: Indiana. All-time winningest program only gets that by dodging real competition.

    • Micki DeMoss's Mustache
      9:34 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

      Nah, we just don’t want the worst team in the Big 10 killing our strength of schedule.

    • Sarcasm is fun
      9:41 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

      you’re 100% correct. Indiana and Murray are definitley better competition than Kansas, Texas, UCLA, UNC, and Louisville.

    • uhhhhhh
      10:11 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

      IU is terrible………. you serious?

  12. asdf
    9:33 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    UK adn Murray should do a 2 for 1 where we play two years at UK and one year at Murray.

  13. Derrick
    9:35 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    Would love to see UK play Cincinnati!!

  14. King Kelly Coleman
    9:37 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    We are already playing 4 in state schools….we can’t play them all! It gets to a point you start trying to play all of the in state schools and you water down your non con. schedule. Maybe put EKU and WKU on rotation every other year, UPike and Gtown on rotation every other year, and Murray and WKU on rotation every other year, and then of course Louisville.

  15. LeRoy Bird
    9:43 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    UK refuses to play Murray because Murray has blocked expansion of UK in western Kentucky. It was Racers turf and UK thought it was theirs to claim. This began 20 to 25 years ago.

  16. WKU Fan
    9:49 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    With WKU moving to CUSA then just scheduling a one time away game at Rupp doesn’t make sense for them anymore. They are trying to climb the ranks in new conference and will need more attractive teams willing to play at least once on their campus. UL is a great example of a state school willing to participate. WKU plays twice in UL, once against them in Nashville then UL will come play at Diddle Arena. UK shouldn’t be arrogant and should do something similar. Heck the neutral court game could be played at Freedom Hall, or as all the UK fans love Nashville do the same as UL. WKU had Ole Miss come to BG for a game this past year and will play at Ole Miss this year, so scheduling the one-time away games isn’t a huge interest for them, and to say UK won’t do it is bogus. UK scheduled a 3 game series with Samford (not Stanford) to where UK would play twice in Alabama, once on campus and one off campus in same city, then once at Rupp. However, UK eventually bought out that contract, meaning Stamford made good cash from this, and only played at UK once. But again, they did that for their buddy Martin Newton.

  17. RealUKan
    9:53 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    There is nothing that UK gains by playing in-state schools, ul included. If they want to play UK it should only be in Rupp Arena.

  18. Bubba Earl
    9:54 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    Let’s add Centre, Lindsey Wilson, NKU, Spalding, College of the Cumberlands, Sullivan Cooking School, KSU, Kentucky Wesleyan, Our Ladies of the Poor, etc.

  19. UK-WKU Fan
    10:07 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    What about having some a State of Kentucky basketball classic where UK and UofL both play a in state school (WKU, Murray, Morehead, EKU or NKU) and they alternate between Rupp and the Yum Center? I’m sure many people would oppose this, but I think it would be huge for the state.

    • Rick in TX
      10:38 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

      You could actually make it a triple-header.

  20. CatsFan12
    10:20 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    It is just the state of Kentucky politics. Western KY is not in the Golden Triangle area. If you are west of E-town the state of KY doesn’t care about you. Western KY is more neglected in some areas than Eastern KY. It is sad to see that this is the way the state is. This is coming from a guy from the big city who brought you Rex Chapman. I have had a chance to travel the state and see this type of thing first hand. Even though I went to UK and despise WKU I would still like to see us play them to be able to pound them. Go CATS.

    • Micki DeMoss's Mustache
      12:37 pm May 13, 2014 Permalink

      I grew up in southern KY, went to school in western KY, have traveled to eastern KY, and currently live in Lexington. What you say simply isn’t true. There is no place in western KY that compares to the abject poverty of the Appalachian region and Daniel Boone country. I’m sorry, but that’s the way it is.

  21. GraBeardCat
    10:29 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    This has been discussed for many years, and has not been resolved for a number of reasons. Usually, the primary reason has been financial. 22,000 seats at Rupp, 8,000 seats at one of the other schools. One proposal was that UK would play Morehead and Western one year, Eastern and Murray the next – all at Rupp. The guarantee to the other in-state schools would be sufficient to match (or exceed) what they would get from playing the game at their arena. (For many years, Rupp would not play an in-state school because winning would not mean much in rankings, losing would be a big blow.) I think it would be great for the state, but am not holding my breath – too many people have differences of opinions.

  22. Murray Kentuckian
    10:34 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    Full disclosure: I grew up in Murray. I am a Murray State graduate, as are my father, my mother, my brother, both my grandmothers, both my aunts, my cousin, and a bunch of my friends.

    I love Murray State basketball. I also love UK basketball.

    These two schools should play once every few years.

    It surprises me that the Racers would insist that UK come to Murray to play.

    In the past decade, Murray has only made such an arrangement with one school from a major conference: Tennessee. In 2005 and 2006, Murray played a home-and-“home” with the Vols. UT’s home game was in Knoxville, and Murray’s “home” game was in Nashville. The Racers have no reason to expect UK to do the same, though I would be very pleased with such an agreement.

    Rather, Murray must travel if it wants to play competition from the major conferences. It has happened many times in the past 10 years. Murray has played at Missouri twice, at UAB twice, at Memphis, at Auburn, at Louisville, and at Ole Miss. If the Racers are willing to go to these other schools to play without the other schools coming to Murray, then I don’t see any reason why the Racers would require UK to schedule a home-and-home.

    If there really is a dispute between Murray and UK about scheduling, then I think it is Murray that is probably asking too much. Thanks to its success, UK has enough clout to set its own terms when it comes to scheduling. If Murray really wants to play the Cats, then the Racers must agree to play at Rupp. I think that even a game at a neutral site (such as Nashville or Louisville) is asking too much of UK, though I would be delighted if UK agreed to it.

  23. jq
    10:51 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    Well, yea I can understand why UK has never played MURRAY, however, you must be a GEOGRAPHY student to understand it.

    Murray is like the rest of us west of I-65 we are in the STEP-CHILD REGION OF “KENTUCKY”.

    • Adam
      11:49 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

      “You’re from Paducah, Is that near Bowling Green?”
      –Most Kentuckians

    • Agreed
      12:22 pm May 13, 2014 Permalink

      Western Kentuckians are the most knowledgeable sports fans in the state. And towns like Hopkinsville, Paducah, and Bowling Green have more than their fair share of great athletes. Yet UK has pretty much ignored this region for decades for some reason. Would rather get some redneck hick from eastern Kentucky, who can’t speak plain English, like the “beloved” Richie Farmer.

    • Western KY is well represented with Mr. Agreed....dumbass
      7:07 pm May 13, 2014 Permalink

      Hey Agreed,

      You are about the biggest dumbass ever to post here. To state that folks in the western part of the state are somehow far superior in their basketball knowledge to those anywhere else in the state is blatantly stupid.

      Furthermore, western KY has just as many, if not more, rednecks as eastern KY.

      Neither region consistently produces players that can compete at UK. In fact, it is rare when the state as a whole produces such a player. I will state this however, the next time a white kid from western KY is touted as a dead eye shooter, I hope UK runs as hard and fast as they can to avoid the kid. I believe we have seen enough of those busts in the past few years. Now, as for Rex, which will likely be your come back, he was a good player but not a great player…..a decent streaky shooter but not a great shooter. And, speaking of mental capacity…. it was commonly know that Rex was never a mental heavyweight while at UK. That of course was proven to be correct when he posted his famous social media breaking news of Cal going to the Lakers.

      So, don’t come on here with your attitude that somehow because you are from western KY you are special. You have proven, by your outrageous post, that the only thing special about you is that your IQ likely qualifies you as a person with special needs.

  24. Derek
    10:59 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    I would like to see EKU as a yearly opponent in Rupp Arena!

  25. Proud MSU Alum
    11:05 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    Ummm how about Morehead State? Barely played them in the past few years, and only an hour’s drive separates the schools. You’re lucky to get 1 game in 5 years between them.

  26. Hilltopper
    11:38 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    Cal took a lesson from Stoops. Don’t mess with the Hilltoppers. BBN is scared.

    • Troll Toll
      11:55 am May 13, 2014 Permalink


  27. FearTheBrow
    11:40 am May 13, 2014 Permalink

    For some reason some fans push for these types of games but for UK or any other of the larger schools you have everything to lose and nothing to gain. If you win you gain nothing and get made fun of for beating a cupcake. If you lose, well that speaks for itself. I’m speaking for the majority of years, obviously WKU or Murray have years when they are quite good.

  28. Patrick Quinn
    12:20 pm May 13, 2014 Permalink

    “or…. unimportant”…<<<< intern

  29. jp7
    1:01 pm May 13, 2014 Permalink

    Maybe UK won’t play WKU because Ray Harper shot his mouth off after UK slugged them in the NCAA in 2012 on their way to the National Championship. In his postgame press conference Harper said UK would have to play a lot better than that if they thought they were going to win it all.

  30. snarkster
    2:18 pm May 13, 2014 Permalink

    Dumbass take. They finally get a serious schedule with several top games at Rupp and people want to water it back down with WKU and Murray. F&%k a bunch of Racers & Toppers. You give em a game and they want you to commit to come to their house. EKU’s already on the schedule. Let WKU and Murray rotate with them each year. We’re already doing too bigga favor for the Commuter School to the West by playing them on an annual basis. SUCK IT LIL FISH! Don’t owe’em nuffin!

  31. MarshallRacer
    2:56 pm May 13, 2014 Permalink

    Great article. This has been a long standing conversation with Murray State fans. Part of the lore is that there was a deal almost in place in the 90’s for MSU to travel to Rupp. Newton (I believe) reduced the financial package by a a large amount because it is an in state team, using the rational of we pay EKU and Morehead $X, so Murray should play for $X. Unfortunately Murray is 266 miles and a 4 hour bus ride from Lexington, so Murray’s AD (Dennison I believe at the time) asked for what UK pays out of state teams to cover hotels and travel. Apparently words were exchanged and the hard feelings festered. I know this does nothing to explain the decades before the 90’s but there it is.

    Also as a MSU fan I have no interest in playing someone who has only 1-2 true away games before conference season. It’s either 1) all about the $$$$ or 2) padding your record. I know UK plays a few OOC games at neutral sites but easily 2/3 of Nov, Dec, and early Jan games are at home. Not exactly an even playing field IMHO.

  32. Kypeachcat
    3:40 pm May 13, 2014 Permalink

    I’ll go you one better. Diddle and Racer arenas are regularly rated as some of the better places to see games in college basketball. The arena in Nashville is soon to be the permanent host of the SEC Tournament. If WKU and Murray agree to give us 1/2 the gate for games at their arenas but not in their regular season package (read that premium pricing); and alternate 3 ways with Nashville, with us getting the home gate for all games there, we’d get at least one game in December (or a return to the nonconference February game) in the site of the SEC tourney each year, one in really cool arenas that ESPN likes, for even better RPI points, and still have room for an instate home game against Morehead or Eastern. AND, we’d throw a bone to our fans in the western part of the state who rarely get Rupp tickets, but make us OWN postseason venues.

  33. Alec
    4:01 pm May 13, 2014 Permalink

    It doesn’t matter to me one way or the other. Since you would like to see us play them I hope we do soon. GO CATS!!!!

  34. foreheads
    4:17 pm May 13, 2014 Permalink

    Akol VS. Davis

    2 Brows VS. One

    Fivehead VS. Threehead


  35. Justin Credable
    6:25 pm May 13, 2014 Permalink

    If I recall back in the Popeye Jones\Pitino days they did attempt to schedule but Murry wanted a home and home series with UK and that was the deal breaker and that Murray State even refused games to be hosted in Looserville.

    Just what I recall hearing back in the day. No clue if any truth to it or not but that was the big rumor in the Western Kentucky area during that time.

  36. cowboyracer43
    9:28 pm May 13, 2014 Permalink

    I must reiterate Marshall Racer’s comment. When Pitino/Newton discussed Murray/UK with EW Denison, there was no demand or insistence on H/H. It came down to one game at Rupp. Newton took the position that UK does not pay for motel rooms for ANY in state opponents. Why should Murray be treated differently? Lexington is a short drive from Wilmore (Asbury) Danville (Centre) Lexington (Transylvania) Richmond (Eastern) Morehead (Morehead) Louisville (UL) Bowling Green (Western) Of these, the longest drive is Bowling Green (120+m) Next is L’ville (70m) The balance are less than an hour from Lexington.

    I have been hoping (praying) for a Murray/UK game for nearly sixty years. For any of the last thirty seasons, the game would have been highly competitive. There are easily 5000 Racer fans who would make the trip to Rupp — would there be 5000 seats/tickets? Would (however many) seats be together or scattered?

    Many of the posts here speak of the UK fans in far western Ky. Murray fans travel well. They bring more fans to EIU than EIU. More to TTech than TTech. If they meet in the Dance (and if I am still living) I will be there.

  37. Thomas Cissell
    10:17 pm May 13, 2014 Permalink

    Memphis actually did play at Murray in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Murray beat the socks off them both times. But a couple of years ago Murray did the dastardly deed of winning at Memphis and that has pretty well pulled the plug on them playing again unless it is in the dance. When WKU won at Rupp that probably took care of their game and Uk probably doesn’t want to take a chance on the same thing happening with Murray.