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Dick Vitale calls to reignite UK/IU Rivalry

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Earlier this week on Twitter, ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale recounted a conversation he had with an Indiana fan who mentioned something Vitale had been wondering himself, concerning the Hoosiers and our beloved Wildcats.

Vitale offered another thought on the subject, calling the rivalry natural and declaring it would be easy to set up if Coach Cal and IU Coach Archie Miller talked it out.

It isn’t the first time this conversation has been brought up in recent years, and it probably won’t be the last. Heck, just a few months ago, Mavericks owner and IU grad Mark Cuban tried to convince Cal to rekindle the rivalry.

“How about we play it in your building [American Airlines Center in Dallas]?” John Calipari asked the Mavericks owner?

“Done.” Cuban responded.

“My people would go crazy…” Cal added. “But, maybe we do something for charity in your building.”

Without a doubt, the UK/IU rivalry has given the college basketball world some iconic moments. From Bobby Knight slapping Joe B. Hall’s head, to Christian Watford’s fateful buzzer-beater, to Anthony Davis’s revenge in the Sweet 16, and on and on and on.

But the rich history and celebrity pleading have done nothing to sway Cal’s stance on the matter. The last time the two teams met was in the 2016 Round of 32 when the Hoosiers topped the Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray-led Wildcats 73-67. The final regular-season meeting came in December of 2011 when Watford hit the game-winner, which ultimately led to the end of the heralded rivalry.

Just a year ago, Cal shot down any speculation that the rivalry would return, saying the schedule was booked up for the foreseeable future. He pointed out that he proposed a couple of neutral site games at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, which IU declined.

Perhaps it has also been a matter of fearing his player’s safety in Bloomington that Cal has been hesitant to schedule a home-and-home with Indiana. After all, Darius Miller was nearly trampled after the Watford shot. Cal even mentions in the clip with Cuban that he would have no problem playing if fans were not in attendance.

Try as they might — and they keep trying — prominent figures like Vitale and Cuban can easily stir up conversation about the rivalry, but any attempt to convince Cal seems like a futile effort. It’s sure fun to talk about, though.

What do you think, Cats fans? Does the college basketball world need this rivalry back?

Article written by Ty Schadt

32 Comments for Dick Vitale calls to reignite UK/IU Rivalry

  1. catsby.5
    12:31 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

    I was at the Watford shot game, I was in college and so was my cousin who went to IU, There were no issues the whole game, just friendly banter between me and the people around, mostly because I went to the game with my cousin and a couple of his friends, so no much hostility. As soon as he hit that shot though, I started getting punched in the back of the head and people turned around and were throwing stuff at my from the rows in front of us. We tried to get out of there quickly but I was getting spit on, kicked, and getting stuff thrown at me. I’ve been back since, but never felt super comfortable, so I get why Cal doesn’t want to take his players back after that fiasco, but I’d love to see the alternating neutral site games come back, where they rotate from Louisville to Indianapolis each year.

  2. Realme
    12:32 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

    If you’re going to make an article out of it every time Dickie V does that, you won’t have room on the site for anything else.

    • 4everUKBlue
      12:39 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

      This guy’s new and couldn’t find anything worthwhile to write about and he needed clicks. Let’s get one thing straight, the reason we never went back was not because of the Watford shot and the upset, it was because of the way the fans behaved while storming the court and how unsafe it was for fans and players.

  3. IrishCat
    12:39 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

    Tradition for tradition’s sake is useless. I want to play quality games against good programs, and Indiana doesn’t qualify.

  4. CahillsCrossingNT
    12:48 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

    I thought they should’ve kept playing too, but Calipari proved he was too afraid to face them.

    • nocode96
      1:10 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

      You are an idiot. See the top comment in this thread before you spew off nonsense.

    • T-Town Cat
      1:12 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

      “Them” being the moronic IU fans, not the team.

    • Bluehender
      1:13 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

      Lol. Why would be be afraid of them? Because they beat us on a lucky last second shot on their court? In a game that meant nothing, except to their fans. We won the one that counted. See Catsby above to see why we shouldn’t give them the satisfaction of playing at Assembly Hall ever again..

  5. friendsofcoal
    1:09 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

    IU wouldn’t be a huge deal on our schedule at this time because they aren’t anywhere close to what they used to be. I’m all for a neutral site game with them but in an environment like that, it isn’t worth playing them in Bloomington. We beat them 9.8 out of 10 times right now.

  6. T-Town Cat
    1:11 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

    The series could be renewed – I would rather see us play IU than all the other stiffs we schedule each year – but it won’t include any games in Bloomington.

  7. catfan838
    1:12 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

    I was at that game as well. I was in Blue of course and my wife in Red because she graduated from IU. I won’t go Into details but yes we left as fast as possible as well and she was embarrassed. Honestly no big deal I get it they had not been relevant in years and honestly since that year I think they have been relevant one more time. I honestly feel sorry for IU fans because all they have to talk about is the Watford shot and Bobby Knight. Pretty sad! As for the rivalry. Screw IU!

    • T-Town Cat
      1:15 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

      Right. UK had won something like 20 of the last 25 meetings before that shot. Seems like I remember Watford was open because Teague must have thought the game was over and didn’t run down to the defensive end of the court.

    • Bluehender
      1:15 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

      Thank you…

  8. dukesuxone
    1:21 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

    I live in Western Ky. on the Ky./In, border, I miss the rivalry between IU & UK. There’s a lot of history between those two programs. They have played some very memorable games, while it’s true IU hasn’t been very good the last few years, I still think they should be on the schedule. I believe the games should be played in Indy. & Louisville or just in Indy & split the tickets. I think Archie is building a competitive program at IU. I bleed Blue but I miss the rivalry with IU.

    • Buttered Popcorn
      1:52 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

      I’m not sure how much of a rivalry there is anymore (talent being a deciding factor), but neutral site games could be fun. I remember a game at the old RCA dome, fans split half and half, it was a blast.

  9. BobbyBlue
    1:52 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

    Neither Dukie V or IU are relevant anymore.
    I don’t understand why Dukie even has a dog in this fight— Oh,ok, he only gets hits if he rattles the cage of the BBN

  10. CatsfaninFL
    2:17 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

    Went to college in Indiana. Their population as a whole has an unhealthy hatred with all things Kentucky. It boiled over when they beat us because they had been so irrelevant for so long. No excuse for what happened to our fans that night and we owe them NOTHING. Let them languish in obscurity for their self righteousness. If we play again it should be on our terms. Period.

    • ClutchCargo
      2:02 am July 6, 2020 Permalink

      +1, I totally agree. They can renew the series anytime they will accept the reasonable proposal they have been given. Also, fuk Dukie V.

  11. CatfaninCinci
    2:32 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

    IU needs is. We don’t need IU.

    I’ll never forget the story of the special needs kid wearing UK fear that got spit on, punched and a beer dumped on his head after the Watford shot.

    IU fans are the worst most classless idiots around. Let them reap what they sewed. We are at the top year after year. They’re nothing now. No longer a blue blood.

  12. maxblackanvil
    2:34 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

    Sorry, but the behavior of that group of fans totally outweighs a need to renew this series. Cal has said, rightfully, that he will play on a neutral floor. IU has declined this option. Who needs them and their incredibly unworthy fanbase?

  13. WKY Cat
    2:36 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

    Exactly. No reason to help them try to get relevant again.

  14. runningunnin.454
    5:11 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

    No, thank you.

  15. theSpectre_
    6:31 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

    Let’s fix the headline and, instead of rivalry, say “rivalry”. UK has won 17 of the last 23. So, playing IU has been like playing a middle of the road SEC team.

  16. Megan
    7:12 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

    Vitale is such a simpleton. The question isn’t whether the two teams should play. UK wants to play IU. And IU wants to play UK. The question is where. And that’s a question Vitale never answers because it doesn’t matter to him. He can’t see things from the perspective of the two programs.

    Cal wants to play in stadiums, like you do in the NCAA tournament. It’s good preparation, and it draws a ton of people. Lucas Oil can hold 70,000 for basketball! But IU won’t accept anything but home and home. The friendly (or not-so-friendly) confines. If they don’t play in Bloomington, that’s a deal-breaker for IU. (Is Fred Glass still there? As King Arthur said to the French: Is there someone else up there we could talk to?)

    That’s why IU rejected Cal’s rather generous offer to play both games in Indianapolis. “Oh, our students won’t be able to drive north for an entire hour to get there. That’s not fair to them. It has to be on our campus.” Such a transparently disingenuous excuse. No one believes it. IU has placed such narrow constraints on any resumption of the series that it simply won’t happen if they refuse to budge. UK has made a number of counter-offers, and IU has shot every one of them down. The series is up to IU. The ball’s in their court. But Vitale can’t see that. His one good eye can’t see a lot of things.

  17. CrystalBall
    8:11 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

    IU said they would NEVER play another game in Rupp Arena.

  18. AirForceOne
    8:20 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

    IU needs us on their schedule to feel relevant. Kentucky doesn’t need them….at all.

  19. Bruce Dickinson
    9:15 pm July 5, 2020 Permalink

    Once again DickieV sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong.

  20. bbn606
    6:14 am July 6, 2020 Permalink

    But they yell at us and call us bad names in Bloomington.

  21. KyZoneBlitz
    6:47 am July 6, 2020 Permalink

    I remember the game clearly. It wasnt just the fans that was the problem, we literally got robbed. Yes, we didnt play very well most of the game and still shouldve won. Stripes were giving IU free throws everytime we breathed hard on one of their players. It was absolute insanity. Iu got away with multiple travels, clear and cheap fouls that weren’t called, yet any contact by our players drew whistles. On top of the extremely poor behavior of the fans, the game was damn near rigged from the opening tip. One of our only 2 losses that season, we later played Vandy in the SEC tourney champ. game. No excuses, vandy showed up, and just played better than we did and hit 1-2 more shots than we did, even though our defense was solid most of the game. Hats of to them, just wasnt our night, but inside assembly hall??!? Not even close. A complete scam. So on top of the armed robbery that occurred, the behavior exhibited by the iu fans after the fact was just the nail in the coffin. I’m behind Cal 100% on this. IF, and that’s a big IF, iu wants a game, it should be neutral site, 50/50 tickets. Indy and louisville. Makes sense, but instead, iu wants to commit another crime against us in their garbage arena. No thanks, if they dont want the fair and square neutral site situation then let the takings heads do just that. Theres nothing else going on, so why not click on it. Still wont change a single thing. We will continue to be at the top of the spectrum and iu will continue to be equivalent to 4 day old hotdog water, and that’s even IF we played them (because that too would be a meal for us, we’d eat em all day on the court!).

    • bbn606
      8:59 am July 6, 2020 Permalink

      The only thing I remember about that game was that we lost on a last second shot so I had to dig up the box score to see how bad we got screwed by the refs after we got whistled for just touching them. What I found was that we must have only touched them 13 times as only 13 fouls was called on us while IU was whistled for 16 fouls. IU did take advantage while hitting 14-17 free throws while we hit 10-17. So this is really just another close game that we could have won at the foul line which has been the norm in the Calipari era but we may have learned a lesson in this game and hit 35-37 free throws in the rematch.

  22. Ned T.
    7:51 am July 6, 2020 Permalink

    It does not matter because we will never have basketball again. Because 2% the population gets the flu, we all need to go into our caves and die.

    Do what the government tells you because they always look out for your best interest.

  23. bigcat68
    9:34 am July 6, 2020 Permalink

    Never should they ever.