Monumental Indiana, Kentucky Men’s Basketball Series Set to Return

Written from a news release from Associate Athletic Director for Strategic Communications and Media, Indiana University Athletics, Jeff Keag

Bloomington, Indiana – October 2, 2023

In a monumental announcement for college basketball fans, Indiana University Athletic Director Scott Dolson and Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart revealed today the revival of one of the sport’s most iconic rivalries. The two institutions have jointly agreed to a four-game men’s basketball series, set to tip off in 2025-26 and extend through the 2028-29 season.

The series will encompass two home games for each program, but with a twist to accommodate more Hoosier fans. Indiana University will stage one of their home games at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, harkening back to the matchups witnessed between these two powerhouse teams at the Hoosier/RCA Dome from 1987 to 2005, which regularly drew crowds exceeding 40,000.

The schedule for the renewed rivalry is as follows:

  • Dec.      20, 2025 – Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center, Lexington, Ky.
  • Dec.      27, 2026 – Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind. (IU home game)
  • Dec.      18, 2027 – Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center, Lexington, Ky.
  • Dec.      16, 2028 – Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Ind.

Indiana University Athletic Director Scott Dolson expressed his excitement, stating, “This is an exciting day for not only IU and UK Basketball, but college basketball. When you consider the history, the passion, and the proximity of our schools, this is a game that means a great deal to so many people. I appreciate Mitch Barnhart’s willingness to work together to resume what I believe to be college basketball’s best non-conference rivalry. I also appreciate the support of Coach Calipari and Coach Woodson and their desire to bring this series back. Their relationship is a big reason why we are able to make today’s announcement.”

Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart shared the sentiment, saying, “It’s great to renew this series, which is among the most competitive rivalries and storied traditions of college basketball. The matchup will resume its place as one of the nation’s most anticipated games of the season. This emanated from Coach Cal and Coach Woodson getting together and talking about playing again. I’ve enjoyed spending time with Scott Dolson and getting to know him better as we’ve worked out the details.”

Indiana head basketball coach Mike Woodson remarked, “This is a great day for our program and our fans. Indiana-Kentucky is one of the best rivalries in college basketball, with so many great games over the years. We worked hard to get this done, and I could not be happier to be playing Kentucky once again.”

Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari added his enthusiasm, saying, “This is a really important rivalry to our fans and the game of college basketball, and we’re happy to bring it back. Mike and I have been friends for years, and I have the utmost respect for him as a coach and as a man. Let’s do this!”

The December 2025 game will mark the first regular season clash between these long-time rivals since Indiana’s thrilling 73-72 victory at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Dec. 10, 2011. This 14-year regular season hiatus is the longest gap in the series since the two college basketball powerhouses went 21 years without a regular season meeting, spanning from 1944 to 1965. Although the teams have met twice since the 2011 game in the NCAA Tournament, with Kentucky securing a 102-90 win in Atlanta in the 2012 Sweet 16, and Indiana claiming a 73-67 win in the second round of the 2016 NCAA tourney in Des Moines.

Kentucky currently leads the all-time series between the two schools, with a tally of 32 wins to Indiana’s 25. Kentucky ranks second all-time with eight national championships, while Indiana is fourth with five.

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