Mark Cuban doing his part to resurrect the Kentucky-Indiana basketball rivalry
Mark Cuban really wants to see Kentucky and Indiana play basketball again and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen.
The two rivals are separated by only 180 miles and first tipped off against one another all the way back in 1893. The two programs have faced off a total of 57 times with Kentucky holding the all-time edge in the series at 32-25.
Despite the long history between the two proud programs, which ran annually from 1970-2011, the only time these two play now comes during NCAA Tournaments. Indiana won the previous matchup in the series, which came back in the Second Round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament, 73-67.
During a recent appearance on Cofee with Cal, Cuban tried to get Calipari to commit to renewing the series in a home-and-home format. The Dallas Mavericks owner even offered to play the game immediately once clearance has been given by medical professionals and the government following the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s the exchange between the two on the show:
Calipari: “Okay, how about we play it in your building (American Airlines Center in Dallas)?”
Calipari: “I offered two years in Indianapolis and [Indiana] said no.”
Cuban: “You know I can’t speak for (Indiana AD) Fred (Glass), or whoever is taking his place, but at the same time, with all this stuff going on, I think close proximity is going to be important so that we don’t have to get in planes and drive somewhere or fly somewhere, we just drive. So I say we just flip a coin.”
Calipari: “Let me go back, my people go crazy, because maybe we do something for charity and you’re building.”
Cuban: “You mean in Dallas?”
Calipari: “Yeah. You’re building, you have a building.”
Cuban: “I have building but Cal, I’m talking about now. Right? I’m saying, as we try to transition out of this [pandemic], we need to get those first game, and you know, Lexington and Bloomington are so close. We hop everybody, we flip a coin, decide where the game is played that way. We get on buses, we take the buses right to where whichever state, whichever arena, and then we just throw the ball up with fans or without. Made for TV, the NCAA doesn’t want to go for it. I’ll figure it out. I’ll get us the TV partner or you have your TV partners, IU’s got theirs. Let’s just do this right? Let’s just be that first game coming out for college athletics that gets the ball rolling.”
Imagine the TV ratings if Kentucky and Indiana tipped off in a few weeks and were the first sporting event to return following the coronavirus pandemic. This needs to happen.