While yesterday’s Big 12 – SEC Challenge boasted a few enticing matchups, they were quickly overshadowed by the Kentucky vs. Kansas battle going down at Allen Fieldhouse.
The impressive performance by both teams has got some in the sports world, thinking: “Why doesn’t this happen every year?”
It makes sense, both universities boast historic programs with legendary coaches, have passionate (crazy) fan bases and a dormant rivalry that needs just a bit of scheduling magic to bring it back to life and more importantly – to our big screen televisions at home.
A quick glance at history tells us that the Kentucky-Kansas rivalry was going strong for nearly two decades when the teams played each other every year from 1969 until 1985, until a schedule switcheroo forced the two “rivals” to meet in March during the NCAA tournament – sometimes. The Champions Classic pits the teams against each other, but again, that is only sometimes.
In the past 25 years, the Jayhawks and the Wildcats have only played each other nine times.
“It’s a crime against the sport,” Matt Norlander of CBS Sports wrote last night.
And Kansas Coach Bill Self, who got his second career win against John Calipari last night, agrees with him.
“The SEC/Big 12 Challenge… I would assume that Call wil definitely say, ‘They’re definitely coming back to our place next year. I don’t think he’ll pass on that one,'” Self told Matt Norlander of CBS Sports. “I would be good with that. The thing about it is, Cal will play anybody, but you look at our schedule, we’ll play just about anybody.”
Despite the loss last night, Kentucky has historically leads the all-time series at 22-7, and with so much history between the two programs it is a shame fans don’t see these two juggernauts go head-to-head that often.
During his interview with Norlander, Self talked about the eerie connections between the Jayhawks and the Wildcats and the fact that Kentucky’s legendary Coach Adolph Rupp played for James Naismith, who was an assistant coach at Kansas at the time.
“You think about how the programs are intertwined. Because this is such a a generational place, how and why they support [Kansas] the way they do. It’s the same way at Kentucky, I’m sure.”
Yes, Bill, it is the same here at Kentucky. When you take a step back and look at it, Kansas and Kentucky were made for one another.
So, is it possible we could be seeing a yearly matchup with our Kansas cousins?
Bill Self seems to think so. But until then, fans of college basketball will have to wait.
Norlander gives the best reason fans need a yearly scheduled meeting between Kentucky and Kansas.
“Because it’s Kentucky, and it’s Kansas.”