Indiana and Kentucky Basketball Programs in ‘Advanced Discussions’ to Bring Back Annual Game
It's been nearly 11 years since Christian Watford hit the shot both Indiana and Kentucky fans will never forget for two different reasons. With the Hoosiers down by two, Watford hoisted a three-point shot as time expired that found the bottom of the net, giving the unranked Hoosiers a 73-72 victory over then #1 ranked Kentucky and sending fans in attendance at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, and those watching around the state, into absolute pandemonium.
It would also be the last time those two teams would face each other on the court in the regular season. The two teams faced each other in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, but according to a report released on Wednesday, the annual regular season rivalry game may be making its way back.
Indiana and Kentucky in Talks to Renew Basketball Rivalry Series
Jon Rothstein with College Hoops Today reports both programs are in "advanced discussions to play a multi-year series." While nothing is set in stone just yet, Rothstein's sources say the games would take place at both school's campuses as well as neutral sites.
Previous neutral sites during the rivalry's initial run included the RCA Dome in Indianapolis which was demolished to make room for Lucas Oil Stadium and Freedom Hall in Louisville. If both sides agree to a new deal, I assume Lucas Oil Stadium and Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis along with the KFC YUM! Center in Louisville would be considered for the neutral site matchups.
Not the First Time Renewal Has Been Discussed
This is not the first time the two sides have discussed renewing the rivalry. Discussions were held following the 2011-2012 season with Indiana proposing a four-year extension that would feature one game on each school's campus and two at neutral sites. However, Kentucky only wanted a two-year extension with both games at neutral sites, according to a report from the Indianapolis Star at the time.
What has changed since then was not made clear in Rothstein's report, but if a deal is reached, Rothstein says it is expected not to start up again "for a couple of years."
The original rivalry ran from 1924 until the aforementioned buzzer-beater game in 2011. There were several years when the teams didn't play. For example, there were no games from 1929 until 1940 then again from 1945 to 1965. In total, they've faced each other 57 times, which includes a handful of NCAA Tournament matchups, with Kentucky leading the overall series 32-25.