Not too long ago, I had a coworker, mistakenly of course, tell me that Kentucky was the best state at basketball... that obviously isn't true. The people of Indiana take their basketball seriously. all across this fine state you will find small towns that all but shut down every friday night for the local basketball game. As of about 10 years ago, I'm sorry this statistic is a little dated, 19 of the top 20 largest high school basketball gyms were in Indiana. Yeah, i'll say that again 19 out of 20! Most small towns in Indiana have a gym that will hold most if not all (or in some cases, more than) the entire population of the town. And they are full... every week. For those of you who have seen Hoosiers (if you haven't go rent it tonight... fantastic movie), the way the town follows the bus... that doesn't happen... the fans are there well before the bus is. Indiana does basketball right. You don't see any of this crap that has become common in the NBA where one guy dribbles for 20 seconds and then chucks up a 3. Players pass, and move, and set screens (even for players who don't have the ball), and it is truly a team game.
For those of you who need proof that Indiana, as a state, does basketball right, let's review the last couple of weeks of NCAA basketball scores: Butler 82- UNC 71, Indiana (still undefeated) 83- UNC 59, Purdue 73 - Clemson 61, Notre Dame 64 - Kentucky 50. Brad Stevens at Butler took the Bulldogs to back to back National Championship games in 09-10 and 10-11. Indiana basketball is the BEST team in the country, Purdue is currently rebuilding but no one wanted to play Matt Painters' team in the 09-10 and 10-11 seasons, and Notre Dame holds their own in a very good Big East year in and year out.
Indiana may not be the greatest state ever, but we do one thing right... and it's basketball
Now on a brief side note: This week is the Jimmy V classic on ESPN. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the V foundation, its a foundation set up by former NC State basketball coach Jim Valvano , who passed several years ago to cancer. the V foundation is a not for profit that raises money for cancer research. Everyone is affected by cancer any more. I have an aunt who has been cancer for as long as I can remember, she has had cancer go into remission and come back 4 times now. The V foundation raises money to find a cure for cancer... to make this terrible disease a thing of the past. If you have the opportunity, support the V foundation. A couple of times a year ESPN does a huge fundraiser in which they auction all kinds of awesome sports related opportunities. And if any of our readers are battling cancer currently... in the words of Jimmy V "Don't give up... Don't ever give up".
Have a great week,
-T.O. signing out