There has been some scheduling issues recently in college basketball due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. These issues include well known rivalries and, in particular, the uk-UofL rivalry.
This is the year the Cards are supposed to host the cats at the Yum Center. However, Louisville attempted to negotiate with uk to play the game at a neutral site for this season and then host next season. The hope and belief being the world will be back to normal. Apparently, Coach Cal and uk were hearing none of it. They wanted the game played in the Yum Center regardless if fans would be allowed or not. This, in spite of the fact uk football agreed to resume the Governor’s Cup in 2021 at Louisville even though the game would normally be in Lexington. There were rumblings that the game may not happen this season because it irked UofL. Well, the game is on and it looks like it will be a bitter contest. Louisville Coach Chris Mack just released a video and excoriated Coach Calipari.
To Cardinals’ fans everywhere…. pic.twitter.com/vBMgnduWaD— Chris Mack (@CoachChrisMack) September 29, 2020
Coach Mack must’ve watched old wrestling promos because he went in on his uk counterpart. He opens with the question being asked by UofL fans if we are going to play uk this year and if he’s scared or chicken to play uk. After that opening statement, he releases a salvo against the rivals down the road and, in particular, against their head coach. With each point, he accentuates it with the opening line, “never mind the fact.” I’m telling you, that seems like something a pro wrestler would say as he describes why he hates his opponent and will whip their butts in the ring.
Among the points, there were two that stood out. One is that there was a date set for the game, but uk kept trying to move it. uk originally wanted to move the game from, “the mutually agreed upon date of December 12th,” because they had a game in London against Michigan. They were set to return to KY on December 6th and protested that the games were too close. In essence, they needed more rest and time to prepare. Once Covid-19 officially cancelled that game, they didn’t agree to play UofL on “the mutually agreed upon date of December 12th.” Instead, they scheduled Notre Dame. It was obvious this irked Coach Mack. However, the second point is the one that seemed to really piss Coach Mack off. That point is that uk contacted ESPN behind UofL’s back to get one of UofL’s ACC games moved. While Coach Mack didn’t provide the reason why they did this, it seems logical to assume uk wanted that game moved to open the date and play UofL then. Regardless, that’s some pretty underhanded tactics by Coach Cal and uk.
It had been mentioned UofL wanted to play the game on a neutral court this season and resume the home-and-home rivalry next season in Louisville. The main reason behind this would be due to fact fans likely won’t be able to attend the game because of Covid-19. The hope and belief is that in December 2021, fans will be back and UofL can pack the Yum Center. Coach Mack mentions that uk football agreed to allow UofL to host next year’s Governor’s Cup game in Cardinal Stadium. He also mentions UofL agreed to allow Cincinnati Basketball to host the 2021 game between the two next year instead of this year. Apparently, the protestations of UofL fell on deaf ears, however.
Coach Mack closes by saying the game is still on. That will make both fan bases happy. Unfortunately, instead of taking place on a neutral court or allowing UofL to host with fans next year, it appears uk won’t budge and will host the 2021 game. It obviously pissed off Coach Mack and I’m willing to bet that whenever this year’s iteration of the game is played, there will be some serious heat. The vitriol is definitely back in the UofL-uk rivalry and it injects a small measure of normalcy back into our lives. Plus, it’s fun to see a little animosity and fire brought back in a rivalry that had two old guys on dialysis get in a fist fight before the 2012 Final Four. The 2020 Battle of the Bluegrass will definitely be a blast.