Bowles: Why Indianapolis is a perfect location for a college basketball bubble

<p>The seating area at Bankers Life Fieldhouse is empty as media and staff mill about, Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Indianapolis, after the Big Ten Conference announced that remainder of the men's NCAA college basketball games tournament was cancelled. <strong>(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)</strong></p>

The seating area at Bankers Life Fieldhouse is empty as media and staff mill about, Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Indianapolis, after the Big Ten Conference announced that remainder of the men's NCAA college basketball games tournament was cancelled. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Charleston Bowles is a Sophomore news journalism major. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper. Write to Charleston at clbowles@bsu.edu.

In early September, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports hinted the city of Indianapolis — home of the NCAA’s national headquarters — received strong consideration to be chosen as a bubble location for this upcoming college basketball season.

With the lore and tradition basketball carries throughout Indiana, this is a perfect match for fans and players alike. 

Indiana is a basketball-driven state. The rich history is shown throughout all levels, whether that be high school, college and even professional, with the Indiana Pacers. 

The Indiana Pacers play in a small-level NBA market, which has its benefits. Compared to larger markets, this allows the organization to become closer-knit with the community and its fans. The players compete every night, giving their fanbase great energy in each home game. 

The movie “Hoosiers” might not be the most accurate depiction of modern-day Indiana high school basketball, but it does put a spotlight on how much basketball means toward Indiana. 

To put the importance in perspective, Indiana is home to 11 of the 12 largest high school gymnasiums in the United States by seating capacity. The New Castle High School gym, which seats 8,228 fans, is No. 1 on the list. 

Out of Indiana’s three levels, the college fanbases might be some of the most passionate in the country. These consist of true “basketball junkies,” who not only follow their respective programs but the entire national landscape.

There is a sense of unity around basketball with Indiana residents that is not found in any other state.

Indianapolis has a history of hosting college basketball events. Both the men’s and women’s Big Ten basketball tournaments have been held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse several times in recent history. 

Lucas Oil Stadium hosted arguably the nation’s most notable college basketball event —  the NCAA Final Four — in 2010 and 2015. According to a 2015 Forbes report, the 2010 Final Four had an estimated economic impact of $50 million, while in 2015’s generated an estimated $70.8 million.

A bubble in Indianapolis would be beneficial for Ball State Men’s Basketball and the Mid-American Conference as a whole. The proximity is convenient for most teams in the MAC, including the Cardinals, who would only have to travel roughly 60 miles from Muncie. 

The Cardinals have found recent success in Indianapolis over the last two seasons at Indiana Farmers Coliseum and Bankers Life Fieldhouse — two possible venues within the bubble. On Dec. 1, 2018, Ball State defeated IUPUI 85-75 at the Coliseum, while the Cardinals notched a 69-55 win over Indiana State at Bankers Life Fieldhouse last November. 

Contact Charleston Bowles with comments at clbowles@bsu.edu or on Twitter @cbowles01

 

 



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