College basketball is as much a part of life in Bloomington as anything else. Here’s just how deeply it is cherished, and why.
Tradition & History
The Assembly Hall is a very old building – opened in 1971, but the tradition in this building is second to none. The five national championship banners hanging from the south end of the arena are iconic and the steepness of the east and west stands create one of, if not the best, home court advantage in all of college sports. The decibel level has frequently been measured around 115 – which will never be understood from an outside observer until you actually attend a game here.
A few years ago, Dana O’Neil of ESPN wrote: “Following the dump truck along Route 50 East in Indiana was a huge advantage. It offered an excuse to drive slowly over the curved and hilly two-lane road between Bedford and Seymour; to appreciate the changing leaf colors, and most important, to scour driveways and farms in search of a symbol of what basketball is and means in this part of the country. For two days this past October, Indiana locals spun stories of idyllic childhoods, when basketball was both the competitive outlet and social conduit for kids in every corner of the Midwest. The love affair with the game grew out of those early years, blossoming into an all-out basketball passion that consumes the state like nowhere else in the country. Besides maybe Kansas and Kentucky, no state population identifies itself more with a college team than Indiana.”
In 2010, after a twenty year hiatus, Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance and Indiana University announced the return of “Martha” who is also known as the “Mop Lady” by many Hoosier fans. This iconic commercial from the 70’s now plays right before the players come onto the court every game and begins to fire up the crowd. This video clip does a great job of showing how deep the religion of Indiana basketball drives into the state. Indiana basketball is ingrained into the hearts and minds of most in the state, and there will never be anything which overcomes that.
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