Former college basketball head coach Bob Knight has always things done things his way. And in his few years at ESPN, he purposely avoided mentioning Indiana (a former employer) and Kentucky (a program he doesn’t respect).
That all changed Wednesday, after plenty of criticism, when he appeared on ESPN Radio’s ‘Mike And Mike In the Morning.’
The most anticipated Sweet Sixteen game this weekend is Indiana and Kentucky so of course, his analysis was requested.
Previously, when having to talk about Kentucky — which he’s had to a good amount because they’ve been No. 1 — Knight would refer to them as ‘the team from the SEC.’ When other ESPN personalities would try and get his opinion on Indiana, he would swiftly move the conversation in another direction.
Read and watch what Coach Knight had to say below, or listen to his entire interview here, with the Indiana-Kentucky talk beginning at about 3:13.
Mike Golic: One of the big matchups in the South in Atlanta will be Kentucky and Indiana because of the way the regular season game went. As you look at this game to break it down, does it come into play at all in these kids’ minds?
Knight: I wouldn’t think so. If I were coaching Kentucky and they got beat, as they did, I would probably remind our kids that this is the team that beat us early in the year. I wouldn’t put a lot of talk into it. If I were coaching the other team, Indiana, I would say we beat them before so there is no reason why we can’t do it again and leave it go at that. Because you are talking almost a season later for each of those two teams, whether it be Indiana or Kentucky, you are talking about something that happened so long ago. Media obviously likes to make a big deal of something like that, but it is the game that we are playing this morning, the next game, or playing this afternoon, whatever it is. It will be a totally different situation. That game, for either team, I don’t think is going to be factored into it to be a great asset to either one of them.
Michael Smith:Tom Crean talked about it yesterday, how Kentucky is much better team now than they were when they met the first time. But so then is Indiana. Specifically Indiana, how have they improved since that first meeting?
Knight: I think that all teams just improve. they get better, they get off it a decent start. They work at maintaining playing as well as they can play. Both of those teams have had good games across the board. The one thing that I mentioned not too long ago relative to the Southeastern Conference (SEC) was that is where Kentucky is coming out of and I don’t think as conference, it was as good a conference as the other major conferences have been. Therefore, a team like Indiana has played, I think, by and large, against better teams during the course of the season than Kentucky has played against.
Now you are with 16 teams, all of which are pretty good. There may be a few that are better but you get to 16, you have 16 pretty good teams. Then, having played against good teams really is an asset to you. And the Southeastern Conference this year just has not been as good as these other conferences. So, not having had the chance to play in a situation where you are playing a tough team on, say, Saturday and another really good team on Tuesday which happens much more frequently this year in the Big Ten than it did in the Southeastern Conference. So, I would think that that may be, in the long run, something of a problem that might face Kentucky.
[Video via TheBigLead]