College Basketball's Most Underrated Rivalries
Rivalries are a big part of college basketball.
Of course, you have UNC-Duke, Syracuse-Georgetown, Syracuse-UConn and Kansas-Missouri.
But outside of that, you have some rivalries that are worth tuning into that sometimes fly under the radar.
Some have gone on for years but don't get that much attention, while others have developed over the last few years.
Here's a look at six of those rivalries.
Before the brawl last season, I never realized how intense the Cincinnati-Xavier rivalry really was.
Then again, I'm not sure many people outside of Cincinnati realized how big it was.
The first game in the rivalry happened in the 1927-28 season when Xavier won 29-25.
Cincinnati leads the all-time series 45-26, with Xavier winning four of the last five.
The Bearcats dominated the series from 1956-1979, winning 22 of 24 meetings.
With the series moving to a neutral court next year, I think all eyes will be on this rivalry—although, I don't expect to see the same scene we saw last year.
Kentucky is 148-66 in this rivalry and has regained the momentum since John Calipari took the helm of the program.
Before that, Bruce Pearl had Tennessee dominating the series—helping Tennessee win more games over Kentucky than any other team.
However, the luster of this rivalry will likely only see a home-and-home once every three years, according to a story written by Will Shelton.
Still, the rivalry will survive and see great games each time, no matter how many times they play a year.
We all know of this rivalry in football, but it flies under the radar in basketball.
Michigan State has been on top of the Big 10 for many years, while Michigan is rebounding from the glory days of the Fab Five.
The teams first met on Jan. 9, 1909—Michigan Agricultural (State) beat Michigan, 24-16.
But, Michigan leads the all-time series with a record of 94-75 or 87-75 (depending on who you ask).
One thing is for sure: this rivalry is going to be good for many years to come.
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Arizona and UCLA have long been the top teams in the Pac-12, although other teams have seen bits and pieces of the top over the last few years.
But still, when you think of Pac-12 basketball, you think of the Bruins and Wildcats.
Although there's not a lot of attention given to the rivalry outside of the Western U.S., any time these two teams get together, it's always a good game.
Arizona has won six of the last 10 games.
This season, I expect UCLA to claim all the wins in the rivalry with its Dream Team recruiting class.
This series originated in 1903, with Penn leading the all-time series 123-103.
From 1963-2007, Penn and Princeton won or shared the Ivy League conference title, with the exception of 1986 and 1988.
In fact, countless times the conference's automatic bid came down to the final game of the season between these two teams, since there is no conference tournament.
Last year, the Quakers needed a victory over the Tigers to tie Harvard at the top of the conference and force a one-game playoff. However, Princeton got the win, allowing their rivals to sit at home along with them during the NCAA Tournament.
Regardless of what you think about Ivy League basketball, all you have to do is look at the games these two teams play.
They're competitive and almost rarely a blowout, which always peaks the interest of ardent college basketball fans.
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I surprised myself by putting this on the list—but as I go back and look at Big 10 basketball rivalries, Wisconsin-Ohio State fails to be mentioned.
Generally, you have Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State being mentioned together; and then you have Indiana-Purdue, but not Wisconsin and Ohio State.
Lately, this has been a rivalry that's worth watching—especially with the influx of bigs in both programs.
Whatever happens in football spills over into the basketball season, especially for fans.
These teams have split their games the last four years, with each taking advantage of home court.