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By ASHLEY SCOBY
I’m officially back in the United States after a trip to South Africa, and it looks like Kentucky basketball still hasn’t stopped. No surprises here.
Probably the biggest “news” that dropped while I was overseas was the continuing debate about the Cats’ schedule for the upcoming season. People haven’t stopped debating the conclusion of the UK-Indiana series, and Notre Dame was just added to the schedule as part of the 2012 Big East/SEC challenge. Let’s discuss:
I write for a variety of sites and on Twitter about Kentucky basketball, and I talk about it to virtually anyone who will listen. But I haven’t sounded off yet about the ending of the IU series. It’s an overall feeling of disappointment that I get from the Indiana news. Although UK lost this year in Bloomington, that game was still the best game of the Kentucky-Indiana series in QUITE a while. It’s a shame that the series ended at the time that it did.
However, maybe this will be for the best for both programs. Taking a break from a series isn’t always a bad thing. When Kentucky and Louisville finally renewed their basketball series after a LONG drought from playing each other, the first game in the series was hugely anticipated. Can you imagine if the Cats were to pick up the IU series 15 years from now? The anticipation would be enormous, and would undoubtedly create a game for the ages.
And think about it this way: If Kentucky and Indiana somehow run into each other in the NCAA tournament again (the selection committee certainly has quite the sense of humor), that game will again be looked forward to by everyone in the nation. Kentucky and Duke don’t play each other on a yearly basis, but when a tournament matchup was predicted between those two teams in this year’s tournament, people were going crazy. The thought of the Cats and the Blue Devils finally being matched up again was a dream come true for basketball fans nationwide, so maybe the situation would be the same for Indiana in the future.
Speaking of the future, how does Notre Dame fit into all of this? Although the Notre Dame game this season is just a one-time occurrence, maybe it could turn into something more. With Coach Cal at the helm, innovation is constantly a factor in the schedule (and everything else having to do with the program). I wouldn’t be totally shocked if Calipari decided to start a new series – to put his own stamp on the program’s history. Maybe it will be Notre Dame – Kentucky fans do have some bad blood with the Irish, after they knocked the Cats out of the NIT during Gillispie’s time at UK. Maybe it could be another team like Duke, Syracuse or Georgetown.
Either way, Kentucky has had some great history with the Hoosiers, but most good things have to come to an end eventually. I, along with many Kentucky fans, am quite disappointed that the series had to end in the way that it did, but maybe it’s time for a change. If we’ve learned one thing from the past few years, it’s that Kentucky basketball endures, and the program can survive just about anything. Although the ending of a series with Indiana isn’t anything that needs to be survived, it’s certainly something that the program will have to at least adapt to.
With Cal in charge, count me as one who believes everything will turn out for the best in regards to scheduling.