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UK/IU Basketball Series Set To Return

Updated: Oct 27, 2023

(Image via WLWT)

It may be hard to believe, but one of college basketball's greatest rivalries, ever, Indiana and Kentucky, has officially been set to return to the stage. The UK men's basketball program announced on Tuesday afternoon that Indiana will be on their schedule in the very near future.

“This is an exciting day for not only IU and UK Basketball, but college basketball,” said Indiana Athletics Director Scott Dolson. “When you consider the history, the passion, and the proximity of our schools, this is a game that means a great deal to so many people. I appreciate Mitch Barnhart’s willingness to work together to resume what I believe to be college basketball’s best non-conference rivalry. I also appreciate the support of Coach Calipari and Coach Woodson and their desire to bring this series back. Their relationship is a big reason why we are able to make today’s announcement.”

The two respective programs have scheduled a four-game series which will begin in 2025 and run through 2028. It will begin in Lexington and end in Bloomington, with two games in between.

Dec. 20, 2025 – Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center, Lexington, Ky.

Dec. 27, 2026 – Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind. (IU home game)

Dec. 18, 2027 – Rupp Arena Central Bank Center, Lexington, Ky.

Dec. 16, 2028 – Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Ind.

The 2025 matchup will be the first regular season matchup between the two schools since Dec. 10, 2011, which might also be remembered as "The Wat Shot" night where Christian Watford hit the game winner over No.1 Kentucky and Hoosier fans stormed the court. While that moment was over 14 years ago, IU fans will still act as if it was just yesterday. Sad behavior, I know, but it's even more embarrassing when you explain that the 14-year gap is the longest in the series since the two former rivals went 21 years between regular season battles, dating from 1944 to 1965.

“This is a really important rivalry to our fans and the game of college basketball and we’re happy to bring it back,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “Mike and I have been friends for years and I have the utmost respect for him as a coach and as a man. Let’s do this!”

“It’s great to renew this series, which is among the most competitive rivalries and storied traditions of college basketball,” UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “The matchup will resume its place as one of the nation’s most anticipated games of the season. This emanated from Coach Cal and Coach Woodson getting together and talking about playing again. I’ve enjoyed spending time with Scott Dolson and getting to know him better as we’ve worked out the details.”

Kentucky leads the all-time series between the two schools, 32-25. Kentucky ranks second all-time with eight national championships, while Indiana is fourth with five all-time.

While I definitely wasn't in the category of fans that were begging for this one to come back, I am very happy that it is. Not saying I was opposed to it happening, I just wasn't desperate to have it back in my life. I think it's more of the age gap thing. I wasn't around when the 35+ age demographic was growing up watch this rivalry year after year. I was in high school during the 2012 game in Bloomington, and I remember having a lot of pain that night after seeing all the red storm the court, but besides that and the few games since, I didn't get to adventure deep into this storied rivalry. But as a college basketball fan, I think this rivalry returning is huge. It means a lot to many people across the country and more importantly, the two states that border each other. I know these two states are jumping at the chance to get things stirred back up just like it is with the orange state below us currently.

Overall, I'm pretty excited about this news so that Kentucky can remind little brother just what they're getting themselves back in to. See you soon, Hoosier fans.

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