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NCAA games focus on the prestigious Hinkle Fieldhouse

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The Sagittarius Arched Building was a basketball court long ago when Norman Dale pulled a ribbon to check the height of the border.

The Hoosiers made Hinckley Fieldhouse famous by Hollywood standards, but in the college basketball world, Butler’s home basketball court was already a star.

And when the NCAA announced that the Men’s Basketball Tournament would be held entirely in Indianapolis, Hinckley would no doubt be in the spotlight again, hosting the NCAA Games for the first time since 1940.

“It means a lot to me because I love basketball. I love basketball history. “I have a lot of respect for what basketball means to Indiana,” said Colorado coach Tad Boyle, whose fifth player, Buffalo, will face seed No. 12 Orchtown in Hinckley on Saturday.

The NCAA և its broadcast partners seem to understand the importance of returning the tournament games to Hinckley for the first time in 81 years. The first of the 32nd round on Friday will be the seventh-ranked Florida against the 10th-ranked Virginia Tech, which is almost inside the 100-year-old building. CBS assigned No. 1 to Nancy’s Grant Hill, Bill Rafteri իր Tracy Wolfson’s No. 1 broadcast team to call inside the building on the first day of the Games.

“I’ve never been there, I’ve been in the Middle East all my life, so this is going to be my first trip there,” said San Diego-based Minnesota coach Brian Dutcher, who grew up in Minnesota where his father, Jim Jim, coached the Golden Gopher. »11 seasons. “We’re all looking forward to it, we go in there, we check the edges, we see how soft they are, I hope they’re really soft for us when we do a few shakes.”

Although dozens of famous, historic college ring sites are still in use, the pantheon looks like Alain Fieldhouse, The Palestra, Cameron Indoor Stadium և Hinckley.

In the first 20 plus years of its existence, Hinckley was the largest basketball court in the country. It was called the Temple of Hoosier hoops hysteria, the exterior of a brick, arched steel trunk roof line on top of large windows that allow outside light to shine on the history of the past written on the inner court.

The coaches whose teams play in the first round are excited, whether they know the history of the building or the longing for its role in the film.

“I am 58 years old, I have been coaching for 35 years, I have been to many places. “I’ve never been to Butler University, needless to say, I’ve never been to Hinckley,” said Virginia Tech coach Mike Young. “What an attempt at the top of the mountain to be able to compete in that building.”

And for the players.

“I know Butler is playing there. That’s it, “said Slovakia-born Marek Dolezay, a Syracuse senior.

Finally, “Hoosiers” was released almost 35 years ago, the story of Hickor High School, which concluded its incredible run in the state championship by defeating the mighty South Bend Central to win the 1952 Indiana State Championship. In Hinckley.

In fact, Hikori’s fictional story was based on the 1954 Milan High School. Based on the true story of the champions who beat Bobby Plump’s Munchi Central for the title, when any team could win the glorious Indiana Grand Prix (that race ended in 1997). And yes, it did play in Hinckley.

Does the film based on the events of about 70 years ago resonate with today’s players? Have they even seen it?

“Assuming what I think they’re watching, based on that, my guess is probably one or two (they have),” said Alabama coach Nate Oates.

Young added. “I guarantee two-thirds have no idea what the film is about or have heard of.”

Although Hinckley Fieldhouse had the opportunity to attend the games this season about 1500 people, but during the tournament there will be a little less. One of them was Sally Virtwine. Growing up in a suburb of Indianapolis, he started attending games as a Butler student and never left.

Naturally, the unofficial field house historian was excited to be present at every home game this season.

“At a time when he felt very little normal or as expected, I wanted to squeeze myself every time I was in the building,” Virtwine said. “Listening to Butler War Song, watching the players on the pitch, competing to do what they love to do, it was really special. I will never take it for granted! It was wonderful. Will it be even bigger next season when we hope Hinckley fills up with ferries again? It will be huge. “

Hinckley will host the Sweet 16 games, but those who are destined to play in the first round understand the significance. The last NCAA game, which took place indoors, was Indiana’s 39-30 victory over Duquesne on March 23, 1940.

“It’s great to play in tournaments like this in different places if you have the opportunity to learn,” Boyle said. “I remember the first time I played at Madison Square Garden as a player, how special it was to me, Hinckley Fieldhouse is also very special.”


AP Sports writers Michael Marott and Bernie Wilson and John Kekis contributed to this report.


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