Much of the attraction of college basketball has to do with the drama that comes with some intense long-standing schol rivalries. Fans typically wait for those one or two games during the playing season when their team finally gets to face off against their traditional rival. Of course, it also happens that these rivalry matches often turn out to be the most exciting and most hard-fought games all year round.
Here are some of the most heated college hoops rivalries known to fans:
Duke vs North Carolina
Games between Duke and North Carolina are often a deciding factor on which teams will make it to the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season championship rounds. Separated by just eight miles, the century-old rivalry between these two scools became increasingly even more intense during the early 1980s. When Duke meets North Carolina, fans expect to see overtime extensions, fantastic buzzer-beaters, and of course some bloodied faces.
Kentucky vs Louisville
Kentucky has seven National Championships and plays at the Southeastern Conference. Louisville, on the other hand, plays at the Big East Conference and has to yet to make it even as a consistent contender for a deep tournament run. The “Battle for the Bluegrass,” as the heated rivalry between the two scools probably started in 2001 when ex-Kentucky coach Rick Pitino took on the job of coaching for the Louisville team.
Syracuse vs Georgetown.
The rivalry started during the 1980s when both teams began to be noticed on the national stage. This year however, as a result of a continuing realignment among the NCAA basketball conferences, Syracuse will play at the Atlantic Coast Conference while Georgetown will be competing at the new Big East Conference. To keep up the rivalry that fans love to see, there are ongoing negotiations to allow the two universities to play each other every year, despite their playing in different conferences.
Cincinnati vs Xavier
Located barely four miles apart, the two schools in Cincinatti, Ohio, have faced each other off every year since the 1945-46 playing season. Aside from the usual trash-talking, games between the teams sometimes become so heated up that hardcourt brawls have been known to erupt among the opposing players during playing time.
Kansas State vs Kansas
Kansas has eight consecutive Big 12 regular-season conference titles and has dominated the rivalry with Kansas State, which has not won since 2006. Still, these two are the Big 12 Conference’s best teams every season. Each time they meet on the hardcourt, there’s a championship-match-like intensity on the air. Nicknamed the “Sunflower Showdown” after the state’s official flower, a Kansas State-Kansas game never fails to keep fans off the edge of their seats.
Obviously, the five named hoops rivalries listed above are not the only ones that fans of the sport eagerly wait for. There are just so many good and exciting college basketball teams playing around now. And there are also a staggering number of collegiate basketball governing bodies that set the actual match-ups among the teams, including the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA), the National Junior College Athletic Athletic Association (NJCAA), the National Christian College Atheltic Association (NCCAA), the Association of Christian College Athletics (ACCA), several independent conferences, among others.
Furthermore, each of these governing bodies have sub-bodies of one to three conference divisions depending on the number and level of scholarships that are being given to the participating players. So, depending on which part of the country you happen to be, your list of most heated hoops rivalries may also include Michigan vs Michigan State, Connecticut vs Syracuse, Florida vs Kentucky, Pittsburgh vs West Virginia, Kansas vs Missouri, Michigan State vs Ohio State, Duke vs Maryland, Florida vs Florida State, among others.