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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Give Me Indiana Over Most Non-Conference Opponents

Mike Flynn led the Cats with 22 points. Image via Jon Scott @BigBlueHistory

I was encouraged to hear that Indiana AD Fred Glass suggested the renewal of the rivalry between Kentucky and Indiana could be on the horizon, due in large part to the hiring of Archie Miller.  I completely understand the decision to cancel the series on a home and home basis considering what happened in 2012.  But animosity between UK and IU or Calipari and Crean really turned petty as the years went on.  Which side is more to blame doesn’t matter anymore.  What does matter is it appears the rivalry might be back on and I, for one, am excited about that.  I know many in the fanbase disagree but here are the reasons why this is a good thing:

If you can’t recognize that IU is a rival then you’re just ignoring reality.  They have been and always be a chief rival based on the history between the 2 schools and proximity.  You know why UK and WKU are not rivals?  Because they didn’t play regularly and when they did, rarely were the 2 teams great.  IU and UK have played multiple classic games in their history and each opponent has been key in creating the legacy of their programs.  They are not our top rival but they are absolutely still a rival.

-IT BEATS VIRGINIA TECH (or whatever forgettable non-conference game takes its place)
Since the rivalry ended in 2012, UK has played power conference non-conference games against Baylor (2012), Providence (2013), Providence (2014), Arizona State (2015), UCLA (2016), and Virginia Tech (2017).  In theory, these are the games that took place where Indiana would have normally stood.  Maybe you disagree, I would have rather played a regular rival like Indiana.  Plus, in most of those years Indiana would have been a better opponent.

The argument I hear most often is “Kentucky has nothing to gain from playing Indiana”.  Of course, that argument has several flaws.  First, at a basic level, there are very few teams in the country that UK “gains” anything from playing right now.  Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, maybe Michigan State.  So you can’t say that we gain nothing from playing Indiana but then support scheduling Virginia Tech and Providence.  Secondly, we show our arrogance a bit when we act like our program superiority over Indiana, or anybody, is so great it’s not worth playing.  Let’s not forget it was inside a decade ago that we were a pretty mediocre program.  From 2005-08, UK and Indiana played 4 times.  Twice both teams were unranked and twice Indiana was ranked higher.  Imagine if they said after those 4 years that “they were too good for Kentucky”.  That would have seemed silly, right?

Last 10 games vs Indiana: Kentucky 6, Indiana 4
All-time: Kentucky 32, Indiana 25
Now, those numbers could be more skewed towards UK but the series was dropped.  UK would have certainly been favored in pretty much every year since 2013 if they have played (sans 2016).

At the most basic level, I understand those who don’t want to play Indiana anymore.  2012 was a pretty miserable experience and Tom Crean was a hilariously awkward nerd.  And yes, Indiana hasn’t had a consistently good program since the late 90’s.  But what I haven’t heard is what has been a better scheduling solution than having Indiana on it every year.  Because so far the scheduling solution has been Baylor, Providence, and Virginia Tech.  And if that is who you want, good for you and we’ll just disagree.

But give me a rival with some skin in the game and a history behind the series every year.  

Article written by Bryan the Intern

22 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Give Me Indiana Over Most Non-Conference Opponents

  1. CatsfaninFL
    8:21 am June 5, 2017 Permalink

    I’m fine with it if we go back to the Indy/Lville half and half rotation. I liked it before Cal wanted it for “preparation” for the tourney. While I agree that is a plus, I always liked seeing the half and half arena with both fan bases in a town they don’t technically call home. There is nothing redeeming or good about playing in Bloomington. Lived in Indiana for 4 years and their hatred of us doesn’t justify going to play them there…they showed their true colors to the fans in attendance in 2012.

  2. buzzard
    8:25 am June 5, 2017 Permalink

    IU fans are vile, nasty, unpleasant, horrible, dreadful, abominable, atrocious, obnoxious, odious, unsavory, repulsive, disgusting, distasteful, loathsome, hateful, nauseating, sickening creatures.
    I hope we never give them the honor of playing the Kentucky Wildcats. I forgot…. Indiana women are ugly and their kids are stupid. I don’t care for IU.

    • Eazy
      10:37 am June 5, 2017 Permalink

      Right on, especially the women. Ew

    • FrankieD
      12:13 pm June 5, 2017 Permalink

      Agree with most of this which is WHY we should play them. Nothing better than watching their heads explode when they can’t beat us. Living in Louisville and working with several IU fans I know how much it kills them to see their beloved Hoosiers get owned by our Cats. We should play them in every sport (football) just for this reason.

  3. Sentient Third Eye
    8:28 am June 5, 2017 Permalink

    Looking back at it, I would argue that our rivalry was with Bobby Knight. Once he left IU, it’s been boring, even when the games are competitive. If we need a B1G “rival”, make it Michigan State. Those games are more interesting and intense. Who needs IU?

    • Mathlete
      8:36 am June 5, 2017 Permalink

      Yep, we already play Mich State every 3 years in the Champions Classic and they’re consistently great games. We could do the same thing we did for Kansas and UCLA games the last few years – a home and home in between the neutral site matchups

    • 4everblue
      8:57 am June 5, 2017 Permalink

      I agree with STE and Mathlete and I’ve been alive long enough to remember what a @ss Bobby was and still is. Good coach/Miseralble human being!

    • Sentient Third Eye
      8:59 am June 5, 2017 Permalink

      As big a butthoole as Bobby Knight was, it made the sport better to have a legitimate villain. Can you remember how awesome Olympic basketball used to be when we have genuine bad guys in the Soviets? Same thing with Bobby Knight. It was literally a “good versus evil” aspect to the games.

  4. Mathlete
    8:30 am June 5, 2017 Permalink

    I’d rather see us join another marquee rotating event like the CBS Sports Classic or the Champions Classic than play Indiana. They haven’t established that they’re on our level at all. Hopefully Archie Miller will make them consistently good and we’ll be able to restart the series, but for now it’s a matter of risk/benefit:

    There’s no risk to Indiana in playing and losing to Kentucky, but there’s a tremendous potential for a windfall gain. There’s nothing for Kentucky to gain by beating up on Indiana (which, let’s be honest, would have happened 6 of the 8 years Cal has been here if the series had stayed around). Yes, they beat us in 2012 on their home court with a last-second three, and then we annihilated them in the tournament the same year. That was easily Crean’s best team at IU (they beat 3 top 5 teams that year, tough to top that). We could’ve lost a #1 overall seed if they had underperformed the rest of the season, meanwhile they got a marquee win. When was the last time UK needed to beat Indiana for a marquee win? Was Knight still there at the time?

    • CatsFanFrankfort
      3:39 pm June 5, 2017 Permalink

      This argument is ridiculous….a risk/benefit’ argument for playing a basketball game?!

      Why do we need to benefit from a rivalry game? Would you do a risk/benefit analysis for playing Rhode Island or Arizona St or whoever? What kind of benefit are you looking for from one game? We have plenty of marquee games without Indiana; that’s true. So what? Playing Indiana SOUNDS like a marquee game even when it really isn’t and they suck. So we beat them; you know how it is different from beating VA Tech or Marquette?? Because it simply looks better in the minds of people paying attention, no matter how bad IU is that year. No, we don’t NEED to beat them. But when the hell has that ever been a reason for playing a random game in December?

      And what are we risking exactly? Suppose a mediocre IU team beats us in December on their home court. So we drop a few spots in the polls? Who gives a damn? The last time it happened, it arguably made us stronger, and we didn’t lose again until the SEC Championship game, which didn’t really matter. Is the risk the unruly fans? Yes, they are awful, but surely the administration will take some action after the last game, knowing full well why Cal didn’t want to play there anymore.

      Look, its a storied rivalry. There was one game where the IU fans were assholes, and every seems to think that if we go back there, UK fans or players will be killed or injured. Yes, that experience was by all accounts horrible for UK fans, arguably due to the fact that we lost. But I don’t think its enough for the average fan to act high-and-mighty about never playing Indiana again.

      For once, BTI is correct: bring this game back. The pettiness is unbelievable.

  5. henderblue
    8:31 am June 5, 2017 Permalink

    I agree with CatsfaninFL. And I agree with buzzard’s description of IU fans. Let’s play them in Louisville and Indy. Half and half. And kick those red and white striped asses in front of their vile, nasty, unpleasant…fans

    • Eazy
      10:38 am June 5, 2017 Permalink

      They do have a much closer record against us than UL. We are 34-16 against Louisville. Not much of a rivalry.

  6. leshearer
    8:33 am June 5, 2017 Permalink

    Screw Indiana… That is a one way street, with no real gain for UK.

  7. Sasquatch
    8:46 am June 5, 2017 Permalink

    I’m 36, if retired people and people from Louisville didn’t say IU was a rival, I wouldn’t consider it one.

  8. Bill3
    8:47 am June 5, 2017 Permalink

    Well don’t hold anything back buzzard. My concern is simply that our players, coach, and fans are safe after the last debacle. There should be some basic rules that all follow. Keep your hands to yourself. No spitting on our fans or hurling objects at fans or players. No chair throwing. Keep obscenities to yourself. Let’s try some good sportsmanship maybe?

  9. GroundControlToNumber9
    9:08 am June 5, 2017 Permalink

    The people who follow Indiana Basketball are the most sport ignorant group of people I’ve ever come across. This was consistently the case for 35 years.

    They are not your typical sport fan who knows a bit about the game. They only like it because it’s a way for them to be rude condescending yankee c o c k hogs.

    There are some awful fan bases in the bottom of the s h i t bucket. Indiana fans are found under that bucket.

    • Eazy
      10:37 am June 5, 2017 Permalink

      I agree. They are the worst. Remind me of Arkansas. They are more redneck/trashy than Yankee though.

  10. runningunnin.454
    9:13 am June 5, 2017 Permalink

    The Bat Cats just smacked the Hoosiers; does that count?
    BTW…I like the picture of #24 Mike Flynn…his 3 point play ended the Hoosiers undefeated season in ’75. He was Indiana’s Mr. Basketball and is a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

    • Eazy
      10:36 am June 5, 2017 Permalink

      Lol, I was thinking the same thing. There was a section of ignorant IU fans in attendance, too. Glad they got sent home with an L.

  11. EdC
    2:46 pm June 5, 2017 Permalink

    You and Dick Vitale claiming it is a rivalry doesn’t make it true. It was only a rivalry during Knight’s years and UK had a winning record against him too.

    “So you can’t say that we gain nothing from playing Indiana but then support scheduling Virginia Tech and Providence.” an objectively stupid question without the context of who Calipari is recruiting.

    We’ve been down not so long ago. Yea. For how long? A couple of years? IU hasn’t just been down, they have been bottom feeder down several years. Again, only relevant during Knight era.

    As usual you are cherry picking years to try to make your statistical point to people without enough initiative to look it up. Look at the record of UK vs IU SINCE Knight left. 10-4.

    Since Knight left IU has been any kind of threat a single year. In 2002 they lost in the finals. Sweet 16 only 4 times. During that same span UK was in the Sweet 16 or better 10 times, Elite 8 or better 7 times, Final 4 or better 4 times, Runner up once and winner once.

    The longest Kentucky has ever gone between Sweet 16 appearances was the 5 years from 1986-1992

    Thankfully Calipari is scheduling for the good of the program and knows A LOT more about it than you and the pond scum IU fans do. Of course the little guys want a home and home. They don’t really have anything to lose by it.

    • CatsFanFrankfort
      3:45 pm June 5, 2017 Permalink

      What do we have to lose, exactly? One game in December? We aren’t exactly losing revenue on the game being played in Bloomington. Especially if we go back to the home-neutral-away-neutral plan that was suggested before.

      Everyone’s argument seems to be ‘Indiana has nothing to lose, but UK does’. Isn’t that the same for any smaller school we play? Why would it be any different for Indiana? They may not be the caliber of program they once were, but who cares? Why is that such a big deal to people? The game is simply replacing some other game with a mediocre opponent, so why the fuss.

      I simply don’t understand why UK fans wouldn’t want the chance to dominate IU, especially given the bad blood from that last regular season game.