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Dick Vitale Calls for Kentucky, Indiana to Renew MBB Rivalry

Following last week’s announcement of Kentucky’s upcoming series against Gonzaga, Dick Vitale implored John Calipari to set his sights on renewing one of college basketball’s most storied rivalries.

The iconic ESPN broadcaster rekindled the conversation concerning a different marquee non-conference clash between UK and fellow blue blood program Indiana. He called for the two sides to renew the bitter rivalry that lasted from 1969 to 2011. After praising the Wildcats–Bulldogs matchup, Vitale urged Calipari to sit down with Hoosiers coach Mike Woodson to discuss the prospect of arranging a future series.

Vitale tweeted, “This is a quality pre conf. matchup btw ⁦@KentuckyMBB⁩ & ⁦@ZagMBB⁩. Now a NO BRAINER ⁦@UKCoachCalipari⁩ needs to get together with ⁦@MikeWoodsonNBA⁩ & they MUST agree that ⁦@IndianaMBB⁩ & KENTUCKY will play!”

Like many fans in the decade since Kentucky and Indiana agreed to end the rivalry over a venue dispute, the legendary Vitale is still clamoring for the SEC powerhouse to add the formidable Big Ten stalwart back to its schedule.

For what it’s worth, his sentiments seem to be shared by a central figure in this complicated equation in Woodson, who said in May he also wants to see the Wildcats and Hoosiers meet again in the near future.

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“I’m not going to let it die,” said Woodson, a former Indiana star with over 40 years of NBA experience as a player and coach. “I’m going to stay on [Calipari’s] heels about getting the Kentucky–Indiana series back on the table because I just think over the years, man, that was a hell of a game, going to Lexington and them coming down to Bloomington.”

Both teams bolster standout rosters entering the 2022–23 season and will look to become primetime players come March Madness. Sports Illustrated’s Kevin Sweeney ranked Calipari’s Wildcats fourth and Woodson’s Hoosiers 22nd in his Top 25 Reset in June

While it’s unclear when and if the blue bloods will renew their rivalry, a potential agreement down the line would mark the first time the team have met during the regular season since the ’11–’12 campaign. The Hoosiers claimed a thrilling 73–72 victory at Assembly Hall in a battle of unbeatens in December.

Indiana and Kentucky have met twice in the NCAA tournament since then, with the Wildcats earning a win in the Sweet Sixteen in ’12 and the Hoosiers returning the favor in the Round of 32 in ’16. Kentucky leads the all-time series 32–25.

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