UTEP Should Not Travel To Kentucky For Famed Rematch Next Season [OPINION]
When John Calipari and Tim Floyd began talking about a UTEP vs. Kentucky rematch on the 50th Anniversary of the famous NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game, the news almost seemed too good to be true. Nearly 15 months later, that is exactly the case. Tim Floyd told KTSM-TV on Wednesday that the Glory Road dream game would not happen next year because Kentucky backed out of the agreement.
Then, John Calipari was asked about the cancellation at his weekly press conference yesterday. Here's the video, and his answer can be found at the 1:30 mark.
It is not surprising that Calipari invited UTEP to play at Rupp Arena next season for a potential rematch. The arena seats 25,000 fans and Kentucky could make millions of dollars hyping up that game on the 50th Anniversary of their famed loss to Don Haskins' Miners. However, UTEP and Coach Floyd would be crazy to say yes to that offer. For one thing, the Miners would have little to no chance of winning that game in one of the toughest arenas to play college basketball. Even if they receive a million dollar payday, it does UTEP no good to lose by 20-30 points to one of the best college basketball programs in recent memory.
Even if the game was played in College Park Maryland, the site of the original 1966 title game, the Miners would be heavy underdogs. However, that neutral site has so much significance, that it makes perfect sense for both schools to play the rematch in the same place where they originally met on the court. If the second meeting between UTEP and Kentucky should be held anywhere else, it should be here in El Paso at the Don Haskins Center. UTEP earned that right in 1966, but we all know that Kentucky and Coach Cal would never agree to that. As we approach the Golden Anniversary of Texas Western's championship, I hope Miner fans will celebrate that watershed moment in college basketball all over again. At the same time, UTEP should not compromise its sports legacy with an unnecessary trip back to Lexington to appease Wildcats fans who will never be able to forget the most significant loss in the history of their program.