When we hear the term rivalry, we immediately think college football. Notre Dame-USC, Ohio State-Michigan, Auburn-Alabama, Cal-Stanford, Miami-Florida State, Georgia-Florida, Oklahoma-Texas, etc are what makes college football season special.
But what about college basketball? College basketball has some rivalries that are just as intense or maybe more so than football. Is there a more intense rivalry in sports than Duke and North Carolina? The two schools are separated by eight miles and both are among the elite programs in the sport. Plus you have the whole “elite, expensive, private school” vs. the “huge state university” thing going on there. We even have dark blue vs light blue. The winner of this rivalry often goes on to the Final Four and many times the national championship.
But that’s not all. How about games like Florida vs Kentucky, Indiana vs Purdue, Michigan State vs Michigan, Kansas vs K-State, Vanderbilt vs Tennessee. These are some fierce rivalries on the hardwood. And the beautiful thing is may times, these schools will meet as many as three times per year.
Unfortunately, due to all the recent football conference maneuvering, basketball is losing a lot of its great rivalries. No more Syracuse vs Georgetown or Kansas vs Missouri or West Virginia vs Pitt. And that is too bad. It would be nice if some of these lost rivalries could find a way to at least schedule a one game per year home and home series. Some of these games could be almost like football rivalries where the two teams meet only once a year, so there will be 365 days of bragging rights attached. That would be great for the game.
It Texas and Texas A&M can’t get together on the gridiron, it would at least be nice to play on the hardwood.
The last weekend before New Year’s would be a great time to have a “Rivalry Weekend” between non-conference rivals. It would give people something big to watch if they don’t get into all the “dot.com” bowl games. Imagine a day when you can watch Georgetown at Syracuse. West Virginia at Pitt, Florida at Florida State, Kansas at Missouri, Louisville at Kentucky and Notre Dame at Indiana. That would be a fun day of college hoops rivalries.