Indiana University alum, entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban may be the one to resurrect the annual Indiana-Kentucky basketball rivalry, which has been sidelined since 2011.
Recently, Cuban joined Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari for “Coffee with Cal” on Facebook Live, urging the national championship coach to get the rivalry series restarted. Cuban made several pitches in an attempt to get this rivalry contest rebooted.
First, there was a discussion about a neutral-site game at the American Airlines Center, where the Dallas Mavericks call home. After initially agreeing to that idea, Cuban said he believed that one of the campuses, or a closer neutral-site location, would be better.
“I think close proximity is going to be important,” Cuban said according to Crimson Quarry. “I say we just flip a coin.
“Lexington and Bloomington are so close. We flip a coin, decide where the game is played that way. Get on buses, take the buses, right to whichever stadium, and we just throw the ball up with the fans or without, made for TV. …If the NCAA doesn’t want to go for it, I’ll figure it out.”
Cuban’s push was to have Indiana and Kentucky play a game shortly after COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are lifted, giving fans something entertaining to watch.
The Indiana-Kentucky basketball rivalry has been put on hold since the 2011 season. IU has made attempts to make the series a home-and-home rivalry again, but UK has agreed to play neutral-site games — primarily in Indianapolis. Neither side has budged, causing a stalemate between the two schools.
Before the conversation steered away from renewing the rivalry, Cuban made one last pitch, involving charity.
“You know what, we’ll do this: we’ll set up a fund for some charity that really need it,” Cuban suggested. “Whichever side’s alumni donates the most, that’s where it’s played.”