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10 college basketball rivalry games that need to be played every year

For The Win logo For The Win 11/8/2017 Andrew Joseph

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As we've seen the past 10 years, conference realignment and pettiness have put an end to some incredible rivalry games in both college basketball and football.

This offseason, some schools put disagreements aside to play exhibition games in hopes of raising money for hurricane relief. Old rivals like Kansas and Missouri, UConn and Providence, Texas and Texas A&M came together to play charity games last month, which had us at For The Win wanting to bring back (or create) more intense rivalry games. Here are 10 college basketball rivalry games that we'd like to see on an annual basis.

10. Butler vs. Indiana

Indiana forward De'Ron Davis (20) drives on Butler center Nate Fowler (51) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. Butler defeated Indiana 83-78. © Michael Conroy Indiana forward De'Ron Davis (20) drives on Butler center Nate Fowler (51) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. Butler defeated Indiana 83-78.

Indiana is one of the great states for college basketball, and Butler has earned recognition at the same level as Indiana, Notre Dame and Purdue when it comes to college hoops. Indiana and Butler played each other in the Crossroads Classic last season, which Butler won. And while the Crossroads Classic is a cool event that brings the Indiana schools together for games, we'd like to see Indiana-Butler become an annual home-and-home series.

9. Wichita State vs. Creighton

a basketball player in front of a crowd: USA TODAY © USA TODAY USA TODAY

Both Wichita State and Creighton have moved on from the Missouri Valley Conference for greener pastures, but in doing so, it brought an end to one of the more entertaining rivalry games between two (formerly) mid-major powers. Though the schools have discussed renewing the series after Creighton moved to the Big East in 2013, nothing official has been announced since they acknowledged the discussions in 2015.

8. Texas vs. Texas A&M

Texas head coach Shaka Smart watches his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor, Saturday, March 4, 2017, in Austin, Texas. © Michael Thomas Texas head coach Shaka Smart watches his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor, Saturday, March 4, 2017, in Austin, Texas.

When Texas A&M left for the SEC, it essentially closed the door on this heated Big 12 rivalry. The teams hadn't played since 2015, but that meeting was part of the Battle 4 Atlantis - not a scheduled meeting. Like other schools, Texas and Texas A&M did put aside the pettiness to play an exhibition game for Hurricane Harvey relief. Texas edged out the Aggies, 73-69, in that matchup. Even if most fans associate this rivalry series with football, it's a basketball game that we'd love to see come back.

7. UConn vs. Providence

Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie claps in the second half of an NCAA college exhibition basketball game against Queens College, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Storrs, Conn. © Jessica Hill Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie claps in the second half of an NCAA college exhibition basketball game against Queens College, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Storrs, Conn.

UConn and Providence were among the schools to hold an exhibition game for hurricane relief. Providence won the game in a blowout, and there is reason to be optimistic about these former Big East rivals rekindling that series. After the game, UConn athletic director David Benedict said he's very hopeful about a series renewal. Providence athletic director Bob Driscoll echoed that sentiment, saying that it was just a matter of figuring out the right time.

6. Indiana vs. Kentucky

Kentucky's Kevin Knox (5) receives instruction from head coach John Calipari during the second half of an NCAA college basketball exhibition game against Thomas More, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, in Lexington, Ky. © James Crisp Kentucky's Kevin Knox (5) receives instruction from head coach John Calipari during the second half of an NCAA college basketball exhibition game against Thomas More, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.

Kentucky already has non-conference games against powerhouse programs like Louisville, UCLA and Kansas. So, as awesome as it would be for Kentucky to add Indiana (and/or North Carolina) to the schedule every year, I can see how that wouldn't be feasible from a scheduling standpoint. But this is also my list, and I don't care how stressed the extra marquee games make John Calipari. Make it happen. Remember how fun this was?

5. Arizona State vs. Grand Canyon

a man standing in front of a large crowd watching: File Photo © File Photo File Photo

Grand Canyon University probably has the craziest student section in college basketball, and Arizona State has one of the more original student section traditions. That combination alone would make for a fantastic college basketball atmosphere. Like, this was from an exhibition game at GCU:

However, ASU refuses to schedule GCU due to Grand Canyon's for-profit status. While the Arizona Wildcats have agreed to schedule GCU, ASU's close proximity to GCU (the campuses are 16 miles apart) would make for a much more heated series. Sign us up for Dan Majerle vs. Bobby Hurley.

4. Villanova vs. Syracuse

a baseball player holding a basketball: USA TODAY © USA TODAY USA TODAY

Syracuse finally renewed its classic rivalry with former Big East foe Georgetown - the first game of a four-year series is this year. But after meetings in 2013 and 2014, we're still waiting on a full-time renewal of the Villanova-Syracuse series. Syracuse.com reported last month that Syracuse is open to renewing old Big East rivalry games, but nothing has been set when it comes to playing Villanova or Saint John's again.

3. USC vs. Notre Dame

Southern California coach Andy Enfield gestures to his players during the first half of a First Four game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, against Providence on Wednesday, March 15, 2017, in Dayton, Ohio. © John Minchillo Southern California coach Andy Enfield gestures to his players during the first half of a First Four game of the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, against Providence on Wednesday, March 15, 2017, in Dayton, Ohio.

This game would be a dream matchup, playing off the football rivalry. There isn't really an established history between the two basketball programs as they've only met nine times. Yet, this season would be a great time to get a rivalry series going. Both Notre Dame and USC are on the upswing and ranked in preseason polls. Notre Dame's status as a football independent gives it more flexibility with scheduling, but this would be a basketball rivalry with plenty of potential.

2. Kansas vs. Missouri

Kansas coach Bill Self talks to his players during the first half of an NCAA college exhibition basketball game against Fort Hays State, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, in Lawrence, Kansas. © Charlie Riedel Kansas coach Bill Self talks to his players during the first half of an NCAA college exhibition basketball game against Fort Hays State, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, in Lawrence, Kansas.

Kansas and Missouri had played each other in every season since 1907, but that ended in 2012 when Missouri left the Big 12 for the SEC. It brought a halt to one of the more heated rivalries in all of sports, a rivalry rooted on actual violence between the two states.

Missouri wants to play Kansas, but Kansas doesn't want to play Missouri. Both have totally legitimate reasons, and Kansas doesn't owe Missouri a game that doesn't benefit Kansas. I get it. But ending the Border War robbed college basketball of a must-watch game before March. We got a glimpse of this series' potential when the schools sold out Kansas City's Sprint Center to raise over $2 million for hurricane relief (Kansas went on to win, 93-87). Despite the charity game being Bill Self's idea, his stance on renewing the rivalry remains unchanged.

1. Duke vs. Maryland

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: USA TODAY © USA TODAY USA TODAY

Sure, the Tar Heels have always been Duke's primary rival, but Maryland wasn't far behind - even if Duke won't ever admit it. When the Terps left for the Big Ten, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was adamant that he'd never schedule Maryland for a non-conference game. He said of Maryland back in 2013, "That's not gonna happen again, because we're not gonna schedule them. It's tough to schedule anybody when you have 18 conference games. But when we schedule non-conference, it's usually outside of our conference area, so that we play national teams."

There has been no indication of Coach K changing his mind, and that's a shame.

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