With the Men’s Big 10 Basketball Tournament kicking off today and the NCAA Women’s Final 4 taking place the first week of April, many basketball fans will be flocking to downtown Indianapolis to cheer on their teams in the coming weeks. Beyond the confines of Conseco Fieldhouse, you’ll find plenty of great basketball sites and competition around the state.
Let’s start our journey where last year’s Men’s NCAA basketball championship left off. As you’ll recall, Butler’s championship dreams were dashed when a last second half court heave narrowly missed. I have no doubt that the shot would have been nothing but net had it been launched from inside Hinkle Fieldhouse (although I’m a little biased, being an alum). This stadium, located at 510 W. 49th Street, was built in 1928 and has changed very little since. Not only is it the home of the Butler Bulldogs, but the classic film about Indiana hoops, Hoosiers, was filmed there. Go see for yourself if the rims are 10 feet high.
After visiting Hinkle, continue your Hoosiers tour by eating lunch or dinner at Plump’s Last Shot. Owned and operated by Bobby Plump, the real life high school basketball star that the movie was based on, you can admire lots of great basketball memoriabilia while you eat. Many diners get a chance to shake the hoop star’s hand. Plump’s is located at 6416 Cornell Avenue, minutes from Hinkle Fieldhouse and just off the Monon in Broad Ripple.
To get a broader picture of Indiana high school hoops, I recommend a stop at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. Inductees include such legendary stars as Larry Bird, Oscar Robertson and John Wooden. The Hall of Fame is located in New Castle, Indiana. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults. Kids 5-12 are $3.
Once you get all that historical knowledge, you’ll be ready to watch the stars of the present in the high school tournament. Regional competition starts this weekend (March 12) around the state and the tournament will conclude with the state finals on March 26. Visit the IHSAA website for more information.