Kentucky and Indiana have met on the basketball court for 43 consecutive seasons. That streak won't reach 44.
Indiana issued a press release Thursday afternoon saying the series will not be renewed for the 2012-13 season after the two programs could not agree on where it would be played in the future. Kentucky wanted the rivalry returned to a neutral site affair – as it was from 1992 to 2006 – while Indiana contended it should remain a home and home game. Neither school was willing to budge from its stance during recent negotiations.
The Hoosiers' statement left the door open for a rekindling of the series at some point in the future.
"While we understand that such neutral site games could be quite lucrative, we think the series should be continued as it is, home and home," Indiana Director of Athletics Frank Glass said. "Playing on campus enables our students to attend these marquee games which we believe is a great component of the overall college experience. Playing in the historic venues that are Assembly Hall and Rupp Arena is also a tremendous experience for our student-athletes.”
In response to Indiana's public declaration the series won't continue as is, Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart said it was in Kentucky's best interests to move the game back toward the neutral site set-up.
“I think that we wanted to keep it at a neutral site,” Barnhart said. “There was not interest on their part to do something like that. I guess they're putting that (statement) out there as a final conversation, so we'll go on from there, do what we have to do.
“It's disappointing for that not to continue. It wasn't an unwillingness to play on our part. We wanted to play. We just felt like there were a couple of things that gave us a chance to play that game back in Jefferson County, put it in Louisville and then return it up to Indianapolis or whatever the other neutral site they wanted to. I guess they did not want to do that.”
The border rivalry was the longest continuing non-conference series on Kentucky's annual schedule, far out-distancing the Louisville and North Carolina showdowns. Kentucky held a 29-18 edge over those 43 seasons, with the four additional games coming in the NCAA Tournament. The Cats had gone 1-2 in Bloomington's Assembly Hall since the series returned to the home courts in 2007.
The suspension of the rivalry comes after a wildly entertaining pair of games between the two last season. The Hoosiers scored a 73-72 victory in Bloomington on Dec. 10 when Christian Watford's buzzer beating three-pointer found the bottom of the net. Kentucky got its revenge with a 102-90 victory in the Sweet 16 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Both teams are expected to be Top 10 squads in 2012-13.
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