Can you name the five best current rivalries in college basketball?
Probably not, because there simply aren’t a lot of great rivalries anymore. There are two great rivalries in Kentucky vs. Louisville and North Carolina vs. Duke – yes, in that order too. The fact is, unlike college football, college basketball rivalries are incredibly regional.
There are two rivalry games going on tonight. If you’re a casual fan you might not know it, but Cincinnati vs. Xavier is a nasty rivalry.
It could be considered above UNC-Duke in terms of hatred between fans and schools, but that’s only known in the greater Cincinnati area. Of course, the fight from a couple years ago made a mark in the rivalry and let the country in on the secret that is this rivalry. The two schools are only separated by three miles and fans of the two schools often split the city in half.
What are the other great rivalries though? Is Purdue vs. Indiana really the fourth best rivalry in college basketball? Is it Marquette vs. Wisconsin? While it’s obviously not hurting the game, going forward we might not see these hardcore rivalries exist.
This is what happens when there’s a changing culture in what conference you’re a part of. When the Big East broke up as we knew it, we lost Syracuse vs. UCONN and Syracuse vs. Georgetown. Not to mention West Virginia vs. Pitt. Think about Maryland leaving the ACC, no more Duke vs. Maryland classics.
Since there seems to be an endangered species feel when it comes to rivalries, let’s embrace what we have.
For the record, the top five college basketball rivalries right now are the following:
5) UCLA vs. Arizona
4) Indiana vs. Purdue
3) Cincinnati vs. Xavier
2) North Carolina vs. Duke
1) Kentucky vs. Louisville
Yes, that might be a little different since people think of North Carolina vs. Duke as the best rivalry, but that’s at a national level. When it comes to pure hatred, nothing can top Kentucky vs. Louisville. When there are elderly men fighting during a dialysis, that’s hate.