DREW SANDIFER | SPORTS EDITOR | email@example.com
The 2021 NCAA Tournament, held entirely in Indianapolis, is nearing the end of its stay, but that hasn’t stopped the conversation behind Indy’s diamond in the rough — Hinkle Fieldhouse. The 93-year-old arena hosted tourney games for the first time since 1940, and coaches, media and fans alike showered historic Hinkle with praises.
Here’s a look at what some of the social media highlights from Hinkle’s national spotlight.
The court got a sleek, new look for the first round and Sweet 16.
— David Woods (@DavidWoods007) March 14, 2021
New look for the 𝕊𝕨𝕖𝕖𝕥 𝟙𝟞 👀 pic.twitter.com/vAi7XQfGbd
— Hinkle Fieldhouse (@HinkleFH) March 24, 2021
And it even got featured in the New York Times.
America’s Basketball Cathedral™️ Hinkle Fieldhouse Is Still Ready for Its Closeup – The New York Times https://t.co/Vw8Ni5sHpU
— Butler Basketball HQ (@ButlerBBHQ) March 27, 2021
Hinkle hosted the opening game of the Round of 64 on March 19, which attracted CBS’ A-crew of Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery and Tracy Wolfson.
— Tracy Wolfson (@tracywolfson) March 18, 2021
For the first time since 1940, it’s NCAA Tournament games at Hinkle Fieldhouse. pic.twitter.com/4PiUDpjWVN
— John Dedman (@JohnDedman) March 19, 2021
The game itself was a thriller, too, as Virginia Tech’s Naheim Alleyne nailed a game-tying 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds left to send the Hokies to overtime, where they would eventually lose to 7-seed Florida.
NAHEIM ALLEYNE. THIS IS MARCH. pic.twitter.com/r31T1uQoL5
— CBB Talk (@CBBSuperFan) March 19, 2021
It was the first trip for many to Hinkle Fieldhouse, but some were returning from a brief stay away. Michael Lewis, current UCLA assistant and former Butler assistant, couldn’t wait to get back in the hallowed halls.
See you tomorrow old friend. pic.twitter.com/45vGICKcku
— Michael Lewis (@CoachMikeLewis) March 19, 2021
Those not familiar with the windows of Hinkle got a good look during those mid-afternoon games, too.
— Jenna Watson (@JennaRWatson) March 19, 2021
Even Butler’s biggest rockstar, Butler Blue IV, got to meet March Madness royalty.
After meeting Sister Jean, I just have to jump in for my Deputy Mayor, @butlerblue3, and make the day’s first #TripsPicks for the Ramblers. How could I not? #MayorofMarch | #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/ygvb5PbSpq
— Butler Blue IV (@TheButlerBlue) March 21, 2021
Although there were many visitors to the fieldhouse, Butler’s own staff was visible throughout the March Madness action.
— Dave Peach (@DavePeach101) March 28, 2021
And Butler students got involved with real-life experiences, like producing content for the Final Four’s Twitter page.
8️⃣1️⃣ years in the making.
— NCAA Final Four (@FinalFour) March 29, 2021
The action that took place over the 16 games was too good not to indulge in some movie theater-sized popcorn.
Come on, man. That’s movie-sized. pic.twitter.com/XSbQ1opYGh
— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) March 27, 2021
In the 16th and final game at Hinkle, Alabama’s Alex Reese buried a game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the 2-seed Crimson Tide into overtime with UCLA.
ALEX REESE KEEPS BAMA ALIVE AND SENDS IT TO OT ‼️
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 29, 2021
Hinkle Magic was certainly in the air.
— Butler Blue IV (@TheButlerBlue) March 29, 2021
Overall, the action at Hinkle was about on-par with the play of its host, the Butler Bulldogs.
Here’s Hinkle’s final #MarchMadness stats:
5 upsets, 2 OT games
Sounds about right.
— Kyle Beery (@BeeryK) March 29, 2021
And players, coaches, media and fans are not ready to say goodbye for another 70 years.
This can’t be the last NCAA Tournament game in Hinkle for another 70-plus years. (Last time was early 1940s.)
Get it into the rotation going forward, NCAA. This barn would be the best place on earth in a one-possession game with a minute to go in the middle of March.
— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) March 29, 2021