Hoosier Hysteria

March 31, 2020

Have you ever visited the great state of Indiana and suddenly felt the urge to bounce a round ball and then shoot it through a round hoop?

Some say it’s an astute medical condition, others say it’s a natural phenomenon, but to Indianans it is simply known as Hoosier Hysteria.
This extreme passion for the game of basketball in Indiana starts with a profound interest in the state’s famous high school tournament. Possibly the most famous example of this occurred in 1954 when Milan, with an enrollment of 161, defeated Muncie Central, with an enrollment of 1,600+, to win the State Title. This game, forever known as the Milan Miracle in the state, and tournament inspired the plot of the classic movie Hoosiers and is a typical example of how important basketball is to the area. The legacies written within the state’s lines belong to those the like of Larry Bird, John Wooden, and Oscar Robertson. Incomparable legends in a sport that now transcends the nation. You can thank the longtime coach of Butler University, Tony Hinkle (41 seasons as Butler Head Coach), for why basketballs are now orange. He just thought orange was a better color than brown. Hinkle also helped establish the rules of the game by ending the rule of a jump ball after every basket and establishing the three-second rule.
However, no story on Indiana basketball can be complete without mentioning Indiana University and The General himself, Bob Knight. One could say many things about the man, but none could debate the fact that he was one of college basketball’s most pioneering and successful coaches. A controversial figure with his fiery attitude and emotional behavior. He would do things like throw chairs across the court during games and pull players off the court by their jerseys. He still endeared himself to Indiana basketball fans by matching their passion for the sport. It didn’t hurt that his 1976 team is the last to have a perfect season culminate in a NCAA tournament championship. During his 29 years at the school, he won 662 games, 3 Tournament championships in 1976, 1981, and 1987, and 24 Tournament appearances. Love him or hate him, he’s still an Indiana basketball icon.
James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, visited the Indiana Basketball State Finals in 1925 and later wrote “that while basketball may have been invented in Massachusetts, basketball really had its origin in Indiana, which remains the center of the sport.” Today, basketball is still the pinnacle of passion for all those who reside in the Hoosier State.

Tagged: College, college basketball, NCAA

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