Roundtable: Rivalry Revelry

UL coach Rick Pitino

This week, many of the nation's preeminent college rivalries are taking place. Some are more historic and some have gained steam more recently, but the bottom line is that fan perception about their team's season hinges disproportionately on this week's outcomes.

From a recruiting perspective, then, obviously some players grew up immersed in local rivalry culture. Do you think players who sign with local or regional programs are more likely to compete ferociously in future rivalry games, or do players from elsewhere soak up the importance of the rivalry just as much simply by virtue of being on campus?

Here's what our national recruiting experts had to say:

Josh Gershon: I think competitive kids are more likely to step up in a rivalry game type atmosphere, regardless of where they're from, and that less competitive kids are more likely to be inconsistent in their effort in big games.

The true bitterness of a rivalry is formed for the average fan starting in college, and I just don't think there's a ton of high school basketball players who care that much about a rivalry growing up, even if they see it around them. A player's competitiveness and drive to win are probably more important for a rivalry game than where they're from.

Brian Snow: I honestly don't think a kid who is local will end up getting it more than a kid who isn't. I grew up in Cincinnati and I didn't notice a significant difference in how local kids looked at the Xavier/UC rivalry than kids from other spots, once you get there you are ingrained into it.

Living in Indiana now, I saw guys like Victor Oladipo take a lot of pride in beating Purdue, just as much as a kid like Yogi Ferrell did. In general I don't think it is something that makes a ton of difference. The coaches makes it clear a rivalry game is not one you can lose, and players all fall in line no matter where they come from.

Evan Daniels: From what I can tell the rivalry games mean a lot more to the players that grew up in it. While I think most guys genuinely get into into those type of games, regardless of where they are from, when you grow up and are immersed in that type of culture, like a Kentucky/Louisville or a Duke/North Carolina, I think it's only natural for a 18 year old kid to care about it more.

Rob Harrington: I think there are very competitive players who absorb a rivalry's nuances simply because it serves as the most direct outlet for their aggression and hatred of losing. In those cases, geography makes no difference. But I think for less competitive players, the kind who turn it on and off from game to game, being local to a big rivalry does make an impact.

Evan Daniels, Brian Snow, Josh Gershon and Rob Harrington contributed to this report

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