As one can imagine, more than a handful spoke of the time Christian Watford sent the number-one ranked Kentucky Wildcats home with their only loss of the season, sinking a three-point shot at the buzzer to give the Hoosiers a 73-72 victory that sent pandemonium across Assembly Hall and Bloomington's campus.
News was leaked earlier in the week that both Indiana and Kentucky had problems reaching an agreement that would keep the regular rivalry alive in 2013 due to scheduling conflicts. Indiana University would like to keep the home-and-home schedule that the two teams have been playing on as of late, and Kentucky would like to move the games to larger neutral-site venues such as Lucas Oil Stadium.
Though he seemed disappointed, Crean seems ready to move away from the series until Kentucky concedes their views.
"First off, someone asked me if we don't want to play on a neutral site," said Crean.
"But we have neutral sites. When the Crossroads Classic came in (an in-state series with Notre Dame, Purdue, and Butler) we decided it was going to be locked in every year. And though it is in Indianapolis, it is a neutral site, it is not a home site. You always want to have the ability to play in exempt tournaments. We have done that in the past, and we have this year by playing in New York. There is three right there, so at the end of the day it just became two different philosophies, two different viewpoints. The bottom line is when it comes to the history of the scheduling, from the way I understand it, is that Kentucky had moved it back on campus anyways before we had come to Indiana. Really, we saw no reason to move it off. If it's going to move off, we didn't want to do it, and at this point we'll look down the road to put someone in a home-and-home situation with Indiana."
The two squads have met every year since 1969, but in 1991-2005 the series was moved to such larger venues as Freedom Hall in Louisville and the RCA Dome in Indianapolis.
Kentucky's loss at Assmebly Hall was one of two blemishes on an otherwise otherwise perfect season, as Kentucky (32-2) also lost to Vanderbilt 71-64 in their final game of the regular season. However many credit the Wildcats loss to the Hoosiers back on December 10th due to the young squad's ability to handle a tough Indiana home crowd at Assembly Hall that early into the season.
Perhaps a game at a neutral site would diminish the home-court aspect that the Hoosiers received in the victory, but we won't know anytime soon.
"Again, if there is not a Crossroads Classic, if their are not exempt tournaments, maybe it gets easier to do. But that is not the case. So we want to make sure we are always having enough home games that you can schedule for each year, but for the years forward. And working with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge format, to make sure that we have enough games that we can play games at home, but at the same time if something works out for us to play something on the road, that would be great. That's really as simple as that for us. It wasn't a complicated process."
The Wildcats avenged their loss to Indiana in the Sweet Sixteen, knocking the Hoosiers out of the NCAA Tournament with a 102-90 victory at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.