Boilers, Bulldogs and Irish, oh my! This Saturday saw the first re-installment of the Crossroads Classic that was established in in 1948 as a battle of the state’s top basketball programs. By every single account I have read, whether it be media, coaches, athletic directors or fans the event was a resounding success. I can tell you that I sat at home for 5 hours and didn’t flip the channel once. The show must go on.
Indiana has long needed the return of something of this format and we have finally got it again. Of course, you have to blame the Hoosiers in the first place for it taking 50 years to fire it back up again. Indiana left the event in 1959 and it shortly dissolved into nothingness after that. My only real complaint with the Crossroads Classic is that it wasn’t bigger. I loved that the four premiere programs in Indiana were in it, but now I demand more. I demand that they extend the Classic into a second day. Take four more of the state’s top programs and put them into the mix as well.
If you can add the likes of Indiana State, Evansville, Valparaiso and Ball State then we can really have a party. I would like to see a relegation format become a part of this field of 8. The first year can have Butler, ND, Purdue and IU square off against each other on one day, while UE, Valpo, State and Ball State show down on the next. The two winners of the first tier get to keep their spot in the first tier of next year’s classic. The losers have to move down to the next division. On the flip side, the two winners of the second tier get to move up and play on the bigger stage next year, while the losers stay put. I think something like this would inject a competition factor into the Classic that would make it less kumbaya and more cutthroat.
Can you imagine the amount of fun it would be for the Big 8 in Indiana to all come together for one weekend in our state’s capital to slug it out for supremacy in the state. Bragging rights would be on the line and fan pride would be in full force. Now that is an event that I want tickets too. Plus, if you split the tiers so that one high tiered game is played on Saturday and the other on Sunday, you can guarantee attendance at both days to be incredibly high. The only thing that would make the Classic more perfect is if we were to go back to our Indiana roots and play the games in a newly renovated Hinkle Fieldhouse. It gets me excited just to think about the possibility of all that Indiana history and tradition crammed into two days.