LEXINGTON, KY- The IU/UK basketball rivalry is huge, one of the biggest in college athletics. If Indiana is playing, Kentucky fans are tweeting their hearts out for the opponent to get the win, and vice-versa for when the Wildcats are playing. The two fanbases are always at the other’s throat and turning blue as they shout the reasons why their historic team is superior.
And this is from a rivalry in which the two haven’t stepped on the same court to play since 2012, which only adds fuel to the fire when the topic of playing gets brought up. Neutral court or home court advantage? Big stadiums or school spirit traditions? Who’s to blame, Cal or Crean?
Kentucky head coach John Caliparimade comments this week that may or may not have been an indirect stab at the Hoosier fanbase. Cal, who was making his weekly call-in for a radio show on the IMG Network in Kentucky, blew off some steam on the reactions media members had to Kentucky’s 73-66 win over Louisville in Rupp Arena.
“Other teams lose three and four game: ‘Ah, they’ll be great. Wait till they get in there. We lose: oh, you got people. That Louisville game we had 100 writers, hundred media. Seven wrote stories. Ninety-three had the other story written: ‘They’re gonna lose. You can’t do it. Cal doesn’t care about Kentucky or basketball, college, he’s just trying to get guys to the NBA. This is bad for col-. But we won, and we won big with a young team. And Julius [Randle] didn’t play the second half! So they couldn’t write the story. So seven were written.”
He later made comments about his school’s fanbase compared to other schools’ behavior. “We don’t have obnoxious- well, we may, but I never hear them- but we don’t treat the other team with disrespect. If we won a game against the No. 1 team in the country in Rupp Arena, would people charge the court? No. You’re supposed to [win]. You’re Kentucky. We don’t do that here.”
So, is he taking shots at the historic “Wat Shot,” as it’s called now? Could be. It makes sense. But as we’ve seen as of recent, more and more coaches are outspoken against the fabled tradition. In March of last year, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski made waves by giving a losing coach’s perspective to storming the court.
“When we’ve lost in the last 20 years, everybody rushes the court,”Krzyzewski said after losing to Virginia. “Whatever you’re doing, you need to get the team off first. Celebrate, have fun, obviously you won. That’s cool, but just get our team off the court and our coaching staff before students come on.”
“Look, do you know how close you are to — just put yourself in the position of one of our players or coaches,” Krzyzewski continued. “I’m not saying any fan did this, but the potential is there all the time for a fan to just go up to you and say, ‘Coach you’re a [expletive],’ or push you or hit you. And what do you do? What if you did something? That would be the story. We deserve that type of protection.”
In the instance Coach K is alluding to, it was a planned storming. If Duke lost that game, Virginia students were stepping on that court when the buzzer sounded. But looking at instances like the “Wat Shot,” where Indiana had struggled for years and solidified their college basketball resurgence and Roosevelt Jones’ steal and game-winner with 3.5 seconds to go in Butler’s win over Gonzaga last season, these are all on impulse. Who can plan for a buzzer-beating win?
Did Calipari make a subliminal diss to Indiana? It’s up for debate. All fans can do is pick an angle and fight it out.
Dylan St. Clair is a Writer & Social Media Director for the Indy Sports Report. Follow Dylan and the Indy Sports Report on Twitter.
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