DES MOINES — John Calipari hasn’t been excited about rekindling negotiations on future Kentucky-Indiana games, but Tom Crean was eager to discuss the rivalry’s future Friday.
The Wildcats and Hoosiers are pitted against each other in Saturday’s Round of 32 (5:15 p.m. ET, CBS), a matchup that’s led to several questions about the historic series.
Crean was clear that he is open to the possibility of restarting the series, which was pronounced dead in 2012.
“As a fan of college basketball, somebody that has a lot of respect for their program, I hope that at some point in time we can get something going like that,” Crean said. “I don’t think there is any door closed that couldn’t be opened again.”
Logistical issues shut down Kentucky-Indiana four years ago, when Calipari wanted to play at a neutral site and Crean wanted a home-and-home series.
“I even said, let’s play it in Indianapolis every year, play it in the football stadium,” Calipari said Friday. “We will get 75 or 80,000 people there, and it will be a crazy game. I understand they need home games and that’s what they want. There is no issue with me. We’ve got our schedule. They’ve got theirs.”
The schools have played 56 games against one another over the past 92 years, with Kentucky taking 32 of them.
If negotiations restarted this weekend, the first game would likely not be played for at least three more years. Both programs are tied down with agreements for other rivalries, tournaments and events that leave little space on the calendar.
But Saturday’s game might be enough to get the two sides back at the table.
“I’ve never looked at it like it was closed, but there’s nothing in the works right now,” Crean said. “I think both sides know how each other feels, and if it comes down to a business decision, then that’s what it is.”