December 22, 2012. Â I can see the tweets now.
“How do you like that for neutral court, Cal?!”
“I’m glad your non-traditional neutral court idea backfired on Kentucky!”
“Go Hoosiers! Â Two years in a row! #iubb > #bbn”
If you don’t see where I’m going with this, I’m insinuating that Indiana and Kentucky will indeed play each other this season, and I have even picked the date.
Earlier this afternoon, the Bloomington Herald-Times Dustin Dopirak broke the story that Fred Glass had reached out to Kentucky for one last-ditch effort to revive the rivalry that they hadÂ publiclyÂ put on hold. Â Glass offered a four-year deal that would have the pair meet in Lucas Oil Stadium in 2012 and 2013 (like Calipari wanted), and then the teams would rotate home games starting in 2014 at Rupp Arena (what Crean and company wanted). Â Kentucky declined the offer and has caused yet another uproar between both fanbases. Â To read the entire article, go here.
You are probably wondering why I would post this on the same day that many have considered the last straw for the rivalry, and rightfully so. Â Something getting lost in all of this is that Kentucky has not taken their bid off the table of a two-year contract that would have the pair face off at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2012 and 2013. Â Kentucky’s Athletic Director, MitchÂ Barnhart, has noted that Kentucky does not have any games scheduled for December 15th or December 22nd, and that Lucas Oil Stadium is still available for both dates, and he wants to see the game played.
Barnhart was quoted as saying, “In the best interest of our fans, I would hope we can come to a conclusion to continue this storied series this December.”
Like I said, I still think this game will be played this year, and here’s why.
Fred Glass’ first half of the offer to Kentucky to play the first two games of the contract at Lucas Oil Stadium is identical to the offer Kentucky has proposed. Â There is not one difference. Â Kentucky is a big-time opponent, but Indiana will have the upper-hand on them at least next season, and the game will only be played an hour away from campus.
Indiana has to be confident they can beat Kentucky next year, no matter where they play. Â The next season Indiana will have another solid roster, and who knows where Kentucky will be because of their “non-traditional” status. Â The point I am getting at is that if Indiana can beat Kentucky two straight years at Lucas Oil, they will have more leverage to get the home-and-home they want.
If Indiana is able to sign another two-year contract with Kentucky after the 2013-14 season, only that time being home-and-home, the same deal Fred Glass put on the table two weeks ago would still be in place, Â just under two different contracts.
I personally thought the Indiana-Kentucky rivalry would be halted for a few years…..until today. Â After seeing Glass try everything to work a deal with Kentucky, and even give in to what Kentucky wanted, everything inside of me thinks Indiana will ultimately cave, which is fine.
The game will be the most anticipated non-conference match-up, and a 50/50 split of Indiana and Kentucky fans would be a neat crowd. Â Indiana does not necessarily need the Kentucky game. Â Their non-conference schedule next year will still be one of the top. Â However, I think after the game is played in December, Fred Glass and Tom Crean will both look back and be glad they continued the rivalry, and I believe that because I think Indiana will win, regardless of where the game is played.
This post may come back to bite me, and I will fully own up to the fact of being wrong if this series is indeed delayed, but something inside of me tells me it is not.
Time will certainly tell, but until then, the Indiana and Kentucky rivalry is certainly on the fritz.