Yesterday afternoon, Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports reported that the Indiana Hoosiers and Arizona Wildcats are in the process of working on a home-and-home series in the years to come. This would bring two marquee college basketball programs together on the court for a foreseeable future.
There are plenty of reasons to be excited about the potential of this season, but here are five of the most important:
Five Reasons To Love A Potential IU-Zona Series:
1. Everyone loves a sibling rivalry.
So, let me get this straight: Archie and Sean Miller are going to coach again each other in a four-year non-conference series? Everyone loves a good sibling rivalry and this could very well end up being the best one ever at the college basketball level.
There have been plenty of games throughout history that featured showdowns between siblings, but few at this kind of level. While the Harbaugh brothers facing off in the NFL comes to mind, those two wouldn’t have seen each other in four straight seasons. This could add some extra sizzle for the Millers.
2. It’s hard to complain about two bluebloods facing off.
Although a lot of fans get touchy when the term “blueblood” is mentioned around college basketball, fans need to acknowledge it exists. Certain programs just get more attention (right or wrong) than others. They just bring a bit more attention.
Right now, two of those blueblood programs are Arizona and Indiana. Maybe that changes sometime in the future, but that’s where things sit right now. As such, any meeting between those two is going to garner immediate national interest and exposure. It’s hard to argue against that kind of environment.
3. Both Arizona and Indiana should be good for years to come.
Although Indiana is currently going through a coaching transition, Arizona has been one of the nation’s most dominant programs over the last 10 years. The Wildcats made eight NCAA Tournaments, six Sweet 16s, and three Elite Eights during that period. Arizona has also thoroughly dominated the Pac 12.
However, given Indiana’s recruiting surge since Archie Miller took the job and Arizona’s impressive recent recruiting, it’s easy to conclude that both of these programs will be relevant for years to come. After all, Arizona (No. 6) and Indiana (No. 10) are both currently near the top of 247Sports’ rankings for the 2018 recruiting cycle. Putting that kind of talent together on the court should be exciting.
4. Two outstanding arenas.
While it’s difficult to claim that Assembly Hall and McKale are the two single-best arenas in college basketball, they deserve to be mentioned in the top group. Both have great atmospheres and student sections and are places that opposing players hate to see when they pull up the schedule.
In particular, Assembly Hall may be one of the most intimidating environments in college basketball for a marquee game. Maybe the fans aren’t the most consistent, but when there’s a primetime matchup, they show up. And in force. Expect them to do just that when and if the Wildcats come to town.
5. The Hoosiers need a new non-con rival.
Hoosier fans may not want to hear this, but there’s a very real possibility that the Indiana and Kentucky series won’t be resuming anytime in the near future. Fans certainly remain hopeful that it will get on the schedule in the coming years, but it’s not crazy to think that Indiana and Kentucky will be off the docket for another decade or more. Even if it’s unfortunate, it’s reality.
As such, Indiana needs to work on developing a new marquee non-conference rivalry. Well, Arizona would fit that bill. Arizona may not have the close proximity that Kentucky has to Bloomington, but the program is certainly good enough. This could be the start of something special, which should excite fans on both sides.
Indiana and Arizona don’t have a long history on the college basketball court, but if the two programs do end up playing one another in the years to come, it should make for a great set of games for fans across the board.