NCAA Basketball: Why we need more non-conference home-and-home games

A look at why we need more non-conference home and home series in NCAA basketball.

We need more non-conference home-and-home series’ in college basketball. There is no ifs, ands, or buts about it. The conversation comes up every year but usually reaches fever pitch when it actually occurs. Fans from all over take notice of these rare home-and-home events, and in turn, it indeed sparks conversation.

Case in point, Purdue vs. Villanova on Monday night last week. This match-up featured two top-15 programs playing in West Lafayette in Mackey Arena. If you didn’t watch, you not only missed out on a great college basketball game, but you missed out on a great college basketball environment.

It felt like an NCAA Tournament game. And not one of those early round match-ups where you see a game being played amongst a sparse crowd sprinkled with random team colors. I’m talking a full-fledged later round NCAA Tournament game where top tier teams are playing in a constantly ear ringing environment.

To put it simply, Mackey Arena was rocking. So much so that even Jay Wright had to comment on it.

College basketball and its fans miss the great non-conference home-and-home series’ that it used to possess. The game needs more of these like Duke-Kentucky and IU-Kentucky match-ups.

The only time we get these outstanding events are during the ACC/Big Ten Challenges or other series such as the Gavitt Tipoff Games.

Sure teams play on neutral courts like Indiana playing Kansas in Hawaii or Duke vs. Kansas and Kentucky vs. Michigan State in New York, but that just isn’t the same. The atmosphere isn’t nearly as great as what we saw during that Purdue-‘Nova game this past week.

Is it to protect teams’ records? It’s obviously harder to go into a tough environment against a good team and come out with a win. But wouldn’t you want to see if your team is ready for March in November, rather than just jumping into the fire in four or five months later?

I’m sure that there are many reasons as to why it doesn’t occur as often as fans would like. Regardless of the reasoning, we need more non-conference home-and-home series’ between top-25 teams. College basketball deserves it and the fans deserve it.

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