By Eric Smith, Bleacher Report
With the announcement today that the Kentucky/Indiana basketball series will no longer be around, I think it’s a big loss to the college basketball world. This rivalry has been around for a long time, and Coach Calipari used his personal feelings of playing in Bloomington to ruin a good thing.
The series is over due to Kentucky wanting a neutral court matchup every year in Indianapolis and Louisville. They no longer wanted to play on their respective campus sites. As a lifelong college basketball fan, that’s a joke.
Rupp Arena and Assembly Hall are two of the most historic venues in all of college basketball. This series’ games deserve to be played in those arenas. Look at how great the atmospheres have been since they were moved back to the college campus sites.
Last year’s game on December 10 in Bloomington wasn’t just one of the best games in this historic series, but it was one of the best college basketball games of all-time. That atmosphere was special.
The same thing would have happened in Lexington this coming year. Think how pumped the students and fans that cheer on the Big Blue would have been to have Indiana coming to town with arguably the No. 1 team at that point.
You wouldn’t have that atmosphere if it were played in Louisville.
I’m not buying anything Kentucky and coach Calipari are saying. They can say the monetary value and this and that about playing on a neutral site, but there’s way more value in playing in front of your home fans.
The students are owed this as well and shouldn’t have this special game ripped from them and put in a location 60+ miles away instead of it being played right in their backyard.
Coach Calipari has other motives, and I think he’s scared of what Indiana has become with everyone coming back to the team and the recruiting classes the Hoosiers have coming in. It’s hard for one-and-done’s to gel and beat a better all around “team” that early in the season. The one-and-dones don’t have the time to get used to playing with each other in that type of atmosphere and will lose 90 percent of the time.
Calipari isn’t dumb and knows that. He doesn’t want to lose and knows in this series he will be a loser way more than a winner with the type of players he recruits.
Look again to last year as the prime example. Kentucky had way better players as six of them are off to the NBA. They were too young and inexperienced to win in Bloomington in that atmosphere last season.
Once both teams met again in Atlanta in the Sweet 16, Kentucky’s team had more time to gel and look at the result.
Calipari is afraid of losing to Indiana over and over again and with the game coming so early in the season, he won’t play them and that’s why this series is over.
He put his feelings over this game and it ruined a great rivalry. This is something every December every Indiana and Kentucky resident look forward to. It’s circled on everyone’s calendar.
Coach Calipari has put an black eye on every program he’s coached at with asterisks next their respective seasons, and now he’s put a black eye on this rivalry and provided a big loss to college basketball.