Hoosier Hysteria is the state of excitement surrounding the Indiana high school basketball tournament. In part, the excitement stemmed from the inclusion of all Indiana high schools in the same tournament, where a small town's
Davidmight knock off a large city's Goliath. The most famous example occurred in 1954, when Milan (enrollment 161) defeated Muncie Central (enrollment over 1,600) to win the State title. The plot of the now famous movie, " Hoosiers", was based on the story of the 1954 Milan team and seems to typify the hysteria related to basketball in the state of Indiana.
Indiana's passion for basketball was observed and written about by basketball's inventor,
James Naismith. In 1925, Naismith visited an Indiana basketball state finals game along with 15,000 screaming fans and later wrote, that while it was invented in Massachusetts, "basketball really had its origin in Indiana, which remains the center of the sport." Hoosiers have a traditional love for basketball similar to the love for football in Texas, and Minnesotans' love for hockey. It truly is one of the State's most cherished traditions.
High School Hysteria
Historically, each of the several hundred small towns of Indiana had its own small school system. Before consolidation of many of these rural school districts in the last half of the twentieth century (Milan itself is now a consolidated school whose enrollment is twice what it was in 1954), Indiana high schools had fewer students than those of most other States; basketball was a natural game for these schools since it only required five starters and a few reserves. Even one or two great basketball players could make a high school team a powerhouse, and nearly every Indiana town dreamt of such glory.
Franklin Wonder Fivewas the first team to win the state championship in three consecutive years, from 1920-1922. This accomplishment would not be matched for over 7 decades. The team was led by Fuzzy Vandivier.
Until Milan's Miracle in the 1950s, no school with an enrollment of less than 500 won another boys' State title under the all-comers format. As
schoolconsolidation became more common and as more ruralresidents migrated to cities making large high schools grow even larger, smaller high schools had only a mismatch to look forward to come tournamenttime, as success concentrated in Indiana's large urban and suburbanschools. Starting with the 1997-1998 season, Indiana established a controversial four-class system for its basketball championship, although many other sports remain single-class. The State's move to this new system has, to some extent, diminished the phenomenon and public opinion is widely split on the merits of "class basketball."
Aside from the "Milan Miracle," the story of
Crispus Attucks High Schoolranks as one of the greatest in Indiana high school basketball tradition. In 1955, the year after Attucks had lost in the semistate final (state quarterfinals) to Milan's championship team, Attucks gained fame by winning the Indiana state championship, becoming the first all-black school in the nation to win a state title. Crispus Attucks repeated as champions in 1956, becoming the first Indiana high school team to complete a season undefeated. The Attucks teams of 1954 through 1956 were led by Oscar Robertson. Both stories, Milan and Crispus Attucks, are memorialized for their accomplishments and tradition at the Indiana State Museumas well as at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Famein New Castle, Indiana.
A highlight of the single-class tournament was the 1990 State Championship game, in which the paid attendance was over 40,000 fans. This phenomenal turnout of fans who witnessed
Damon Bailey's Bedford-North Lawrence Stars win the State Championship stands as the largest crowd ever to witness a high school basketball game.
After the 1997 season (when Bloomington North won the final single-class State Championship), the IHSAA controversially did away with the single-class system, effectively ending the run of single-class champions in Indiana. There are many in Indiana who lament this loss, and who feel that Hoosier Hysteria has been significantly lessened thereby.
High school gymnasiums
Perhaps one of the more telling signs of the passion and commitment to basketball at the high school level is the number and size of large basketball
gymnasiums in the state. With considerable cost and effort, Indiana boasts nine of the ten largest high school gyms in the country [http://www.usatoday.com/sports/preps/basketball/2004-02-25-ten-great-hoops-newcastle_x.htm] , and a purported eighteen of the top twenty. Seventeen venues in Indiana today boast a capacity of over 6,000. [http://www.hoopshall.com/gyms/]
Hoosier Hysteria may have its roots firmly planted in the high school game, but the college tradition brings its own depth to Indiana's passion. In
NCAADivision I basketball, Indiana's colleges and universities have a storied past. Big Ten rivals Indiana University and Purdue Universityare the most notable, with national and conference championships to boast. Yet, even the more football-oriented University of Notre Dameand smaller schools such as Ball State University, Butler University, the University of Evansville, Indiana State University, and Valparaiso Universityadd to the mix. In recent years, even the largely-commuter campus of IUPUIand the Division II University of Indianapolisand University of Southern Indianahave added their own successes to the legend of Indiana basketball. It is sometimes said that the terms " Final Four" and " March Madness" have grown out of the tradition of Hoosier Hysteria.
Ball State Cardinals
One of Indiana's oldest basketball programs, the
Ball State Cardinalshave won several conference championships and earned a number of NCAA Tournament berths over the years, including:
Mid-American ConferenceSeason Championships
*Seven Mid-American Conference (MAC) Tournament Championships (and subsequent NCAA Tournament appearances)
Bonzi Wells, a Muncie, Indiananative, was a four-year letterwinner at Ball State, finishing his career as the Mid-American Conference's all-time leading scorer, and leading the NCAA in steals.
*Ball State's highest finish in the NCAA Tournament came in 1990, when they defeated
Gary Payton's Oregon State Beaversand Coach Denny Crum's Louisville Cardinals before falling to eventual champion UNLV by 2, 69-67.
* Home to the legendary
Hinkle Fieldhouse, where Indiana High School Athletic AssociationChampionships were held for many years (including Milan's 1954 championship), Butler Universityalso is notable for its men's and women's basketball teams. The Bulldogs advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in the 2003 and 2007 seasons.
* In 2006, the Bulldogs won the 2006 Preseason NIT, beating most notably Indiana and Notre Dame to reach the semifinals in New York City. Behind a strong performance from guard
A.J. Graves, the Bulldogs defeated Tennessee and Gonzaga at Madison Square Garden. [http://www.nit.org/history/nit-preseason-year-by-year.html]
Evansville Purple Aces
*The Evansville Aces have won five national championships in the NCAA College Division (now known as
Division II): 1959, 1960, 1964, 1965 (29-0 record), and 1971. This ranks second all-time.
*After joining the NCAA's Division I in 1977, Evansville was a charter member of the Midwest Collegiate Conference, now known as the Horizon League. The Aces won or shared the MCC regular season title in 1982, 1987, 1989, 1992, and 1993. They also won the conference tournament title in 1982, 1992, and 1993.
*The Aces are now a member of the
Missouri Valley Conference, and won the 1999 regular season title.
*Legendary Aces coach
Arad McCutchanwas the first NCAA College Division coach selected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame [http://www.ncaasports.com/basketball/mens/results/3744] .
The most decorated of Indiana's collegiate basketball squads, the
Indiana Hoosiersmen's basketball team has several championships to their credit:
*Five NCAA National Championships (1940, 1953, 1976, 1981, 1987), placing them third most all-time
*Twenty Big Ten Championships (including four-in-a-row, from 1973 to 1976), currently the second most all-time
*Also, Indiana completed the last perfect season in Division I men's college basketball, going 32-0 in the 1975-76 season under
The Hoosiers' five NCAA Championships are the third-most in history, trailing only UCLA (11) and Kentucky (7). Their eight trips to the
Final Fourranks seventh on the all-time list. The Hoosiers have made 32 appearances in the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament(fifth-most in NCAA history). In those 32 appearances, Indiana has posted 52 victories, the sixth-most in NCAA history.
Indiana State Sycamores
*Led by the legendary French Lick standout
Larry Bird, Indiana State was the runner-up in the 1979 NCAA Tournament. They lost to Magic Johnson's Michigan State Spartans.
*Indiana State was also the runner-up in the 1968 NCAA College Division championship game.
*Indiana State won the 1950 NAIA championship game.
**Eight team players played under Head Coach John Longfellow at the United States' Gold Medal Basketball team at the 1951
*Indiana State was the runner-up in the 1946 and 1948 NAIA championship games. The 1948 team was coached by the legendary
John Wooden; it is the only Championship game loss in Coach Wooden's coaching career.
**In 1947, Wooden's basketball team won the conference title and received an invitation to the NAIB National Tournament in Kansas City. Wooden refused the invitation citing the NAIB's policy banning African American players. A member on the Indiana State Sycamores' team was Clarence Walker, an African-American athlete from East Chicago, Indiana. In 1948 the NAIB changed this policy and Wooden guided his team to the NAIB final, losing to Louisville. That year, Walker became the first African-American to play in any post-season intercollegiate basketball tournament.
*Indiana State finished third in 1953 and fourth in the 1949 NAIA tourney.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
*Like Purdue, the 1936 Men's Irish Basketball team won the Helms Foundation National Championship.
*The Irish women won their first National Championship (over Purdue) in 2001.
With their only National Championship coming in the days before the modern NCAA Tournament, the
Purdue Boilermakershave a strong basketball history:
*National Championship in 1932 (sponsored by the
Helms Athletic Foundation, seven years before the NCAA sponsored a basketball championship)
*One NIT Championship (1974); the first for the
Big Ten Conferenceand two Runner-up finishes (1979, 1982)
*Twenty-One Big Ten Championships (including a "Three-Pete" - a play on their mascot - from 1994 to 1996)
**Currently the most all-time
**Currently third all-time in
Big Ten Conferencevictories with 822.
*The women Boilermakers have one National Championship (1999), one National Runner-up (2001), seven Big Ten Championships, and have won six of the thirteen women's Big Ten Tournaments.
USI Screaming Eagles
Big Ten Tournament
At the conclusion of the regular Big Ten season, a tournament is held to determine the conference winner, who receives the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Indianapolis has played host for the men's tournament on three occasions to date. Indianapolis has hosted all but one of the women's tournaments since its inception in 1995. Beginning in 2008, the
Big Ten Conference Men's Basketball Tournamentwill be held exclusively at Indianapolis' Conseco Fieldhouse.
Indianapolis, Indiana, often referred to as the "Amateur Sports Capital of the World" has hosted a number of collegiate basketball events. Aside from the multitude of regional games held during the NCAA tournament, Indianapolis has hosted five men's NCAA Final Fours (1980, 1991, 1997, 2000, 2006) and one women's (2005). Indianapolis is scheduled to host the men's 2010 Final Four as well as the women's in 2011. Previous events were held in the Conseco Fieldhouseor the RCA Dome, but given the new stadium being built for the Indianapolis Colts, Lucas Oil Stadiumwill host future events. When the NCAA Headquarters relocated to Indianapolis, it was stated that Indianapolis would then host the men's Final Four once every five years.
In 2002, Indianapolis hosted the
FIBA World Championship, an event that takes place on even years opposite the Olympic Games. Since inaugural event in 1950, Indianapolis is the only city in the United Statesto have hosted the event.
Here follows a list of notable Indiana natives who have achieved success in basketball:
Here follows a list of those who gained basketball fame in Indiana's tradition:
Blue Chips- a 1994 basketball movie telling the tale of a by-the-books coach who turns to "friends of the program" to secure the talents of incoming freshman players. Indiana Hoosier Matt Noverco-stars alongside NBA stars Shaquille O'Neal, Anfernee Hardaway, and cameos by Bob Knight, Dick Vitale, and Larry Bird. The game segments were filmed in Frankfort, Indiana.
Indiana High School Boys Basketball Champions
Indiana "Mr. Basketball" award
* [http://www.hoopshall.com/inductees/mrbasketball.html Indiana's Mr. Basketball]
* [http://www.usatoday.com/sports/preps/basketball/2004-02-25-ten-great-hoops-newcastle_x.htm USA Today Article on New Castle Fieldhouse]
* [http://www.ihsaa.org/main.shtm Indiana High School Athletic Association]
* [http://www.hoosierhysteria.org A synopsis of the State Championship tournament brackets for each year 1911-1997]
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