Written by Jackson Williams
With March Madness on the horizon, college basketball teams are in the heat of conference play; every win and loss matters at this point. Qualifying for the NCAA tournament is tough when considering subjective factors such as quality of wins, bad losses and strength of schedule. The state of Indiana’s college basketball teams are improving their standing with the selection committee day-by-day.
Indiana and Purdue are two contenders to win the Big Ten conference. Indiana is currently sitting at 8-1 and a 18-4 overall record, though their conference schedule is about to get tough. Purdue is sitting at 7-3 in the Big Ten and 19-4 overall, and after playing the top teams in the Big Ten they are predicted to dominate the bottom of the conference.
Because of the close proximity of several major universities, students often have the opportunity to take in these games in person, not just watch them on TV. For junior Jacob Sanders, visits to Bloomington only happen a couple times a year. Although he doesn’t go often, his trips to Indiana University games are always memorable.
“With 17,456 seats sold out in Assembly Hall every night at Indiana University, there is no college basketball experience like it,” Sanders said. “The students are really into the game. Being down by the floor really enhances your experience, and you get to see how huge the players are.”
Northwest of Bloomington lies Mackey Arena, home of the Purdue Boilermakers. Freshman Tristan Bufkin attends quite a few games at Purdue each season.
“Mackey is fun in the sense that when you sit close to the coaches and you can hear how intense they are,” Bufkin said. “Hearing them talking and getting so into the game makes my experience better. The crowd is also a huge factor when you go to a game there. The louder the crowd, the more fun the game is.”
However, it’s not just the Big 10 schools that are making a run at the NCAA tournament.
Butler started out the year as a ranked team and fell from No. 18 to the ranks of the unranked after starting Big EAst play 3-6, with a 14-7 record overall. With a strong Big East conference including three teams in the top 10, the Bulldogs are going to have to find a way make it to the top. Butler has a history of being underdogs (no pun intended), with a similar situation in 2011 when Butler started out with a record of 12-9 and finished the season in the National Championship game in Houston.
With Butler located in the heart of Indianapolis, Hinkle Fieldhouse is one of the most convenient places for Center Grove students to go catch a college basketball game.
“Hinkle Fieldhouse is one of the greatest atmospheres in the country to watch a basketball game. Between the great brand of basketball and history of Hinkle, no other place beats it,” sophomore Brad Boswell said.
Whether students are catching a game at Mackey Arena or dressed head-to-toe in cream and crimson, live college basketball will always provide an unforgettable experience.