It is certainly one of faculty basketball’s lasting pictures from the previous 15 years, Indiana’s Christian Watford catching a kick out from Verdell Jones with a smidge greater than a second left on the clock and letting it fly.
IU was down two factors. Kentucky was the opponent.
It was Dec. 10, 2011.
When the 3-point shot left Watford’s palms, Dan Shulman, ESPN’s glorious play-by-play man, met the second completely and described what we have been all watching within the easiest and most correct approach.
“Watford for the win!” Shulman stated in a raised voice.
Then the buzzer sounded. Then the ball swished.
“YES!” Shulman added. “YES!”
Last rating: Indiana 73, No. 1 Kentucky 72.
It represented the primary lack of the season for the top-ranked Wildcats — and one of many solely two defeats they’d undergo whereas on their option to a 38-win marketing campaign that produced a nationwide championship. Unsurprisingly, Indiana followers stormed the courtroom that Saturday afternoon. It was an unbelievable scene that additionally marked the top — even when we did not comprehend it on the time — of certainly one of faculty basketball’s greatest nonconference collection that had beforehand been performed yearly since 1969.
Which is why Tuesday’s information was notable.
CBS Sports activities’ Jon Rothstein broke the story that Kentucky and Indiana have agreed to begin enjoying one another once more yearly starting within the 2025-26 season. It is a four-year collection that can launch inside Kentucky’s Rupp Area. The next 12 months, the Wildcats and Hoosiers will play at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. After that, it is again to Rupp Area. After which, within the 2028-29 season, Kentucky will return to Meeting Corridor for the primary time since Watford buried that buzzer-beater almost 12 years in the past.
Is it excellent? No.
Perfection could be a collection with all video games performed inside both Rupp Area or Meeting Corridor. True home-road environments are eternally my desire. However Kentucky coach John Calipari has an actual must really feel like he wins each negotiation he is in, together with negotiations tied to non-league collection. So he presumably drew a line at two video games inside Rupp Area, one recreation inside Meeting Corridor, and one recreation on a impartial courtroom, and Indiana coach Mike Woodson agreed to the proposal as a result of, properly, I assume he simply determined that Indiana enjoying Kentucky on Calipari’s phrases is best than Indiana not enjoying Kentucky in any respect.
I suppose I agree.
Kentucky and Indiana are two of school basketball’s largest manufacturers, and large manufacturers enjoying yearly is all the time factor, particularly in a sport the place too many non-league video games are complete mismatches between groups that ought to by no means be on the courtroom collectively. So I am going to take Indiana-Kentucky wherever — or Duke-Arizona or North Carolina-Kansas, simply to call a few different big-brand vs. big-brand collection scheduled for the long run — over any of the so-called purchase video games that fill November and December.
Fact be instructed, I by no means agreed with Calipari refusing to proceed the home-and-home collection with Indiana as beforehand constructed following the 2011 recreation — though I all the time acknowledged it as precisely the kind of factor Calipari would do after having the court-stormed on him 4 months earlier than successful a nationwide championship. When Calipari made his resolution, he was the most important deal within the sport and highly effective sufficient to tug off no matter he needed with out anyone questioning him in any type of approach that mattered even when he stated complicated issues like this to longtime faculty basketball reporter Andy Katz: “We have been prepared to play them within the state of Indiana [specifically in Indianapolis], and so they stated no to that. Which means they do not need to play us.”
With all due respect, no, that by no means meant Indiana did not need to play Kentucky. It simply meant Indiana did not need to play Kentucky 49 miles away from Bloomington and take a premium contest off campus whereas robbing its college students of one of many largest dwelling video games on the schedule each different 12 months.
Easy as that.
However … no matter.
As they are saying, what’s achieved is completed. No person has the ability to vary the previous. Which is why, by the point we get Kentucky-Indiana once more within the common season, it should have been 14 years since Watford buried that buzzer-beater, 14 years since we final watched the Wildcats and Hoosiers play outdoors of the NCAA Event. That is unlucky. However the excellent news is that this rivalry between faculties from bordering states which have mixed to win 13 NCAA Tournaments will renew in two years.
It is not a real home-and-home collection.
It is not excellent.
However it’s positively higher than Kentucky and Indiana not enjoying in any respect.