Indiana basketball fans feel left out of NCAA Tournament
It's one thing to lose, but it's an entirely different thing to get shut out. That's what happened to the entire state of Indiana this year.
We had ten chances to get into the men's NCAA tournament and not one of our schools could punch their ticket to "The Big Dance."
With no rooting interest, how much do Hoosiers have invested in this year's tournament?
We are the home of Rick Mount, Larry Bird, the Butler Way, Bobby Knight and the undefeated season. But this year, we are just at home.
It's hard to believe 60 years have passed to the day, when Bobby Plump hit the most celebrated shot in basketball history, immortalized by the classic movie "Hoosiers." It helped create that mystic of Indiana as a basketball mecca.
Playground basketball is about the only kind of basketball you will see in Indiana these days. There are 10 NCAA Division I basketball programs in the state and not one of them made the tournament. That's the first time that has happened in 10 years and only the second time since 1973.
"IU, Purdue and Butler?" one basketball player questioned as if learning for the first time that all were on the outs.
"It's messed up," another observed.
"This can't be. This is Indiana. This can't be," Plump added.
At age 78, his playing days are over, but you can relive those days at his Broad Ripple establishment called, fittingly enough, "Plump's Last Shot." Bobby Plump is one of the most famous basketball players in Indiana history. His playing days were immortalized on the big screen.
"It's almost unbelievable there isn't one NCAA Division I team in the tournament," he added.
"Is this the first time for back-to-back?" Eyewitness News reporter Kevin Rader asked Hamilton Southeastern coach Brian Satterfield.
"First time in state history of back-to-back," he answered proudly.
There may not be a team from Indiana in the NCAA hunt, but there are players from Indiana.
Zak Irvin, who now plays for Michigan, was Mr. Basketball in 2013. Gary Harris, who now plays for Michigan State, was Mr. Basketball in 2012. Both played at Hamilton Southeastern High School. In fact, Harris graces of the cover of Sports Illustrated this week.
"As soon as somebody saw it, they tweeted it out. Everyone is retweeting it," Satterfield observed as we sat on two folding chairs at center court.
He coached both players.
"You feel privileged to watch both of them play. Now, getting to watch them both play in the NCAA Tournament. I think that will be special," he noted.
If Michigan wins its next two games, the Wolverines will play in the NCAA's Indianapolis Regional at Lucas Oil Stadium. No doubt Hamilton Southeastern folks are hoping for that Zak Irvin will get that opportunity.