<..."/> <..."/>

Is Indiana still a rival? Have You Heard a Hoosier?


by Zach Rosen

Or is he just stomping around?

Rivalries are important to Kentucky fans. They are important to any fans, as a rivalry indicates familiarity and years of fierce competition. Rivalries are what make sports a year round obsession, and can ruin someone’s month because of one really bad day. Of course rivalries are more exciting than some random game, but Kentucky fans always take it farther than others. I have spent my life in the bluegrass and one thing I can tell you, Big Blue faithfuls have as many teams and reasons to hate them as a Derby field. Kansas (most conference championships), UCLA (most Nat’l Championships), North Carolina(all-time wins, seems kind of funny now), Louisville (Smelly Cousin Syndrome), Tennessee (you shouldn’t need any more reasons), and Duke (hiring a melodramatic weasel as a coach) all have drawn the ire of Kentucky fans I have spoken to and all have good reasons. Kentucky fans don’t have much in the realm of sports you could get behind. I have been a devote football follower since the Bill Curry era and it has been painful to endure, and as recently as 2004 tailgating for me was the chance for me to get so blitzed I wouldn’t remember the game. Thankfully that situation has improved a bit, but if you were there, you understand. The only real show in town is and always will be basketball, and a majority of a Kentucky fans day is catching up on the latest challengers to the throne of college basketball. It’s natural then, to start hating on the names you hear most often and picking reasons to want to see them fail more. But to really hate someone the reasons have to be legit, and that is what I’m here to say: When’s the last time you heard someone hate on Indiana?

In December of 2007 the Indiana Hoosiers were ranked #15 and playing the University of Kentucky. They won 71-51, and thorough drubbing that had fans to the South wondering if this is what it was going to be like from now on. But Kelvin “Call Me” Sampson’s run was ending soon, and fortunately for us, the Billy Gillispie Experiment would too. But something happened to the fair Hoosiers of Hoo-villle…they fell off the map. One exiled coach and a mass exodus later, Indiana was down and out. They brought in a great coach and declared they were on their way back, but their voices were so tiny they could not be heard. 16 wins, 46 losses, and two seasons later, it’s hard to say they are on their way back.

Understandably they were eviscerated after the last Sampson year, those that didn’t grow pro transferred immediately, and it is hard to build a program back from that. But the fact is, things only seem to be getting minimally better and Tom Crean isn’t John Calipari. So is it fair to consider Indiana a rival still? As stated earlier, a rival is supposed to be fierce competition, and it’s not looking that way. The loss two years ago was two coaches ago and the difference is obvious; the beatdown delivered last year at Rupp was good payback. While Crean has pulled in some good recruits, things aren’t coming together and you can’t count on freshman to re-establish the program (former company excluded). So is Indiana University really a rival anymore?

Will the old ivory towers stand once again and do battle for more than gettting IU out of the cellar? Use the comment section to voice your opinion. I’m going to go look up pictures of the naked IU cheerleader that kept getting mentioned while I was researching this.

Keep following www.http://wildcatbluenation.com for the best in Kentucky basketball and football news, rumors, and opinions. By Kentucky fans for Kentucky fans