What are the Fiercest Rivalries in College Basketball?

It never ceases to amaze how much love there is for college basketball in the United States.

But these games offer fans of the sport a unique chance to see the next generation of NBA stars in their formative years – while shouting at the top of their lungs to support their team in a crowd of thousands.

Some college basketball games have more on the line than just the win, however, with many of the fiercest rivalries in NCAAB also putting local bragging rights on the line.

Here are some schools that are the best of enemies when it comes to college basketball…

Duke vs North Carolina

There are roughly ten miles between Duke University and the University of North Carolina, so it’s little wonder that games between their respective Blue Devils and Tar Heels are so ferociously contested.

But this is a battle that’s about more than geographical pride. North Carolina is a public school and Duke is a private educational establishment – the ideological differences are there for all to see on the court and up in the bleachers, in a game that ensures one of the rowdiest atmospheres at any sporting event in North America.

They finally met at March Madness for the first time in 2022, with the Tar Heels coming out on top 81-77. It was a game watched across the United States, with the NCAA tournament one of the most wagered-upon events in the college sports calendar. A headline-making encounter between Duke and North Carolina, two of the biggest producers of NBA talent, attracted plenty of betting interest too.

Kansas vs Kansas State

The reasons for the rivalry between these two Sunflower State colleges require little explanation.

Local bragging rights are up for grabs, as is supremacy on the national stage – both the Jayhawks and the Wildcats are considerable presences in the NCAA tournament these days.

Rivals for more than a century, there’s plenty of history between these two schools – NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain featuring in the all-Kansas rivalry when his Jayhawks team lost out to the Wildcats in the title race of 1957-58.

Indiana vs Purdue

They love basketball so much in Indiana that the rabid fanbase has its own name – ‘Hoosier Hysteria’.

Hoosier, of course, is the nickname of the Indiana University basketball team, which is one of the most storied in the NCAA with 24 championship victories to its name.

The Boilermakers, meanwhile, represent the nearby Purdue University, which has been a Big Ten member for more than 100 years.

Their games have been beset by near-the-knuckle chants, on-court disputes, and expletive-laden post-match interviews, while their 2017 meeting acted as a tie-breaker to decide the winner of the Big Ten championship – Purdue claiming victory by a margin of 86-75.

UCLA vs Arizona

There are those who believe that UCLA’s fiercest college basketball rivalry is with USC.

However, when you watch a game between the Californian school and Arizona’s Wildcats, you get a sense of the bitterness that exists between these excellent basketball programs.

This isn’t a rivalry in the geographical sense, but these are two of the best college basketball outfits in the West – albeit UCLA’s haul of 11 national championships leaves Arizona’s sole triumph in 1997 looking rather lonely.

If you get a chance to watch a ball game between any of the fierce rivals on this list, you’ll be royally entertained, that’s for sure!

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