Indiana And Kentucky Set to Resume Basketball Rivalry

Kentucky v Indiana
Kentucky v Indiana / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

One of college basketball's greatest rivalries is set to resume and I personally had to check if Hell had frozen over. Indiana and Kentucky will restart their annual rivalry series during the 2025-26 season, 14 years after they last played during the regular season. It's about damn time.

The last time the teams played led to one of the most enduring images college basketball has seen in the last 15 years, as Indiana's Christian Watford hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Indiana a 73-72 win over the Anthony Davis-led Wildcats. The "Wat Shot" led to a fan explosion and court storming was cathartic for long-suffering Hoosiers fans, but also led to the end of the rivalry series.

Kentucky coach John Calipari long said he didn't want to return to play at game at Assembly Hall after that court storm and that he believed it had been dangerous for his players. He offered to continue the rivalry in domed arenas, but not on campuses. Apparently he has relented a bit.

The new series will begin during the 2025-26 season at Rupp Arena, will move to Lucas Oil Stadium in 2026-27, heads back to Rupp Arena for the 2027-28 campaign and will finally return to Bloomington and Assembly Hall during the 2028-29 season. It would seem Calipari and Indiana coach Mike Woodson were able to find compromise and move forward.

Fans of both programs have long pushed for the rivalry to resume but to no avail. Indiana is on its third coach since the last matchup. The "Wat Shot" game wasn't the last time the two programs have faced each other. Kentucky beat Indiana in the Sweet 16 of the 2012 NCAA Tournament en route to winning the championship, and the Hoosiers topped the Wildcats in the Round of 32 during 2016 tournament.

It will be great for fans of both programs to have this series back.