According to The Athletic’s Seth Davis (subscription), Butler University‘s historic Hinkle Fieldhouse is one of his ‘10 favorite places to see a college basketball game‘–coming in hot at the 3rd top overall spot:
3. Hinkle Fieldhouse, Butler
Whenever I step into Hinkle, the first thing I want to do is measure how high the rims are. Yup, 10 feet, just like back home. That’s what the fictional character Norman Dale did for his Hickory High team near the end of “Hoosiers,”the best basketball movie ever made (non-“Hoop Dreams” division). The climactic game was filmed in Hinkle, which makes sense considering the game the movie was based on, where Milan High upset Muncie Central in the 1954 state championship game, was also played there. Hinkle, which opened as Butler Fieldhouse in 1928 and was renamed to honor the school’s longtime coach and athletic director, harkens to a time when high school basketball was far more important than the college game and the NBA was several decades from being created. In 1987, Hinkle Fieldhouse was designated a National Historic Landmark, and the Butler Bulldogs honor that history.
Now, Davis’ revelation is hardly a surprise among Butler fans, as the campus’s iconic gem on W. 49th Street immediately feels, smells, and breathes basketball as soon as you enter the Fieldhouse’s doors.
Built in 1927, Hinkle is truly a blast from the past–transcending time itself.
It’s just a place that you know where basketball was meant to be played in its purest form–featuring a vaulted ceiling, barnhouse side architecture, glass windows, brick, steel, and industrial beams–with a raised court that makes for an intimate fan experience among the Hinkle faithful and Dawg Pound.
It’s not only a Historic Landmark, but ‘Hoosiers’ was filmed here, and it’s been the inspiration for current modern Indianapolis’ sports venues such as Bankers Life Fieldhouse and Lucas Oil Stadium.
There’s been a lot of great basketball played here through the years–with some legendary players who have both come and gone, and Hinkle’s hosted some all-time classic games.
Hopefully, that’s the case for many more years to come–or forever, for Butler fans.
If the Hinkle hardwood and walls could actually talk, boy, it would be truly something–and there would be some great tales to be told.
As it stands, it’s certainly one of the best places to catch a game in all of college basketball.