Thursday, May 3, 2012

Are IU and UK Really Set to Blow a Good Thing?

Truth is perspective.

When it comes to the Indiana-Kentucky basketball standoff, let’s not lose sight of that.

We seek villains and blame. We become passionate about our view and uncompromising in our approach.

In one scenario, John Calipari is the bad guy. He caused the mess that resulted in IU and Kentucky cancelling their annual basketball rivalry that has stood firm since 1969.

He started it in the fall by babbling about softening the Wildcats’ non-conference schedule because of an expanded SEC slate, suggesting that either Indiana, North Carolina or Louisville had to be dropped. He even started an on-line poll on it. Then he insisted the IU-UK  series be held at neutral sites, although he was willing to let that site always be at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium.

That would seem to give Indiana the edge, but given the fact the teams would almost certainly split the ticket allotment 50-50, given the fact the game would give Calipari a strong presence in talent-rich Indianapolis, that Cream ‘n Crimson edge gets watered down.

In another scenario IU’s Fred Glass and Tom Crean are the villains. They’d rather end the series than play Kentucky anywhere, any time.

What we forget, in all of this, is the butterfly effect.

That refers to how one tiny seemingly insignificant thing, like a butterfly flapping its wings, can cause massive affects down the road.

For instance, on Wednesday night, about 9, our 18-year-old son showed up with an earring in his left ear.

Less than 24 hours later, Indiana announced its series with Kentucky is over.



Just being ridiculous?

Truth is perspective.

Ridiculousness comes from even having to deal with this situation. It’s mind boggling we’re at this point. IU and Kentucky have a great thing going, especially now that the Hoosiers are, once again, a national power. See the above photo as a reminder of the kind of passion this game produces.

Are they really going to blow it on what amounts to pride?

For now, the answer is yes.

There is a perception that IU has stood up to Calipari, that by not caving and giving into Kentucky demands it has done the right thing.

But in no rational world are the Hoosiers, or the Wildcats, better off by not playing each other.

Truth is perspective.

Compromise seems simple -– you agree to a series of four-year deals. One year the game is at Assembly Hall. The next year the game is at Rupp Arena. The next year the game is at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium. The following year it either returns to Lucas Oil or switches to Louisville’s Freedom Hall or, less likely, the KFC Yum Center.

Then you repeat the process.

Sure, IU can replace Kentucky with Kansas. The Wildcats can replace the Hoosiers with a whole bunch of high-profile teams. Both teams can have non-conference schedules that prepare them for conference successes.

And they could, just as they did this past season, meet in the NCAA tourney, perhaps even in the Final Four.

But a regular-season meeting between these two college superpowers is a tradition, an event, something to stir excitement across the nation. It’s must-see TV again.

Instead, we have theater of the mind.

In an interesting twist, Calipari suggested to ESPN’s Andy Katz that Kentucky has a date lined up at Lucas Oil Stadium and will just play somebody else there. Jeff Rabjohns of contacted Lucas Oil Stadium officials and discovered that Kentucky has no date lined up.

So what does all this mean?

Truth is perspective.

And the bottom-line truth is Indiana and Kentucky need to play.

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