Needless to say, by the time the news was announced Tuesday afternoon, this was not exactly the shock of the century.
Early Tuesday morning, Mike Brey told our own Andy Katz that Notre Dame had agreed to extend its commitment to the Crossroads Classic -- a four-team event featuring Hoosier heavies Indiana, Purdue, Butler and ND -- for another two years, into 2013 and 2014. Even before that, despite the expiration of the current agreement this season, no one really expected the event to go away. It was assumed the four schools would agree to keep the thing going, one way or the other.
The reason for that is the same reason the official news, as announced by the four schools, is so very welcome: The Crossroads Classic is an event too good not to continue.
Last season's inaugural edition went about as well as anyone could have hoped. The games weren't classics (though Butler's comeback victory over Purdue was certainly exciting), but the event itself was a welcome throwback to the original, organized and hosted by Tony Hinkle at Butler from 1948-51 and from 1957-60. It took the schools 50 years to put a similar event together again, but when they did, they got it right. All four athletics programs teamed together to host the Classic themselves, as opposed to outsourcing it to the Gazelle Group or one of the other patrons, and because they did so they were able to put the games in Conseco Fieldhouse, an actual basketball arena, while splitting the profits evenly among the four.
The end result showcased the collective culture of Indiana basketball. The impulse to gather in Indianapolis and square off on the hardwood -- the same impulse that has made the sport an obsession in the state, even at the high school level, for almost as long as it's been played -- was on full display. Everyone booed IU fans, because that's what other basketball fans from Indiana do. It was just fun, you know?
So, no, it was no shock Tuesday to see the four schools extend their sensible agreement through the 2014 season. But it was excellent to see. In a sport where scheduling too happily tosses aside monumental rivalries for the sake of individual gain (or, if you prefer, "protection" of a "nontraditional program"), the no-nonsense extension of the Crossroads Classic was a small but refreshing change of pace. May it ever be so.