The state of Indiana and the sport of basketball go together like peanut butter and jelly. While Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of the sport of basketball, created the sport in Springfield, MA, he wrote: “While the game was invented in Massachusetts, basketball really had its origin in Indiana, which remains the center of the sport.” Especially at the high school and collegiate level, the residents of Indiana love their basketball at the point of obsession. Which is why the announcement of the Indiana University women’s team hosting the opening NCAA regional round for the first time in program history got the state riled up.
Sportsbook of the Month: Unibet
The University of Indiana men’s basketball program is the team that is usually in the news, with 5 total NCAA Championships to boast in their historic career. However, this season the women are the ones making the headlines for March Madness. For the first time in their program’s history, the IU women’s basketball team began the NCAA Tournament as a host school. By finishing second in the Big Ten tournament behind Iowa, Indiana ended up with the number three seed in the Bridgeport Regional section of the bracket. Despite the loss in the Big Ten Championship, this actually worked out in Indiana’s favor as the matchup was held at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana, the home of Indiana University basketball. Before the tournament started, Indiana had +2000 odds to win the whole tournament (9th best out of all teams) according to FanDuel’s online sportsbook.
In this historic matchup, Indiana played the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, who had won their conference championship in Conference USA. With home-court advantage, the number three ranked Hoosiers (the nickname for the University of Indiana basketball teams) beat the number 14 ranked Charlotte 85-51. This was led by Mackenzie Holmes’ 19 points and 8 rebounds. The next matchup still gave Indiana home-court advantage in the legendary Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall (also known as just Assembly Hall) against the 11th-ranked Princeton Tigers. The Tigers just completed an upset that no one saw coming against a red hot 6th seeded ranked Kentucky. In the matchup, Indiana and Princeton were neck-and-neck with lead changes going into the final minute of the game. But in the end, led by the season’s leading scorer Grace Berger, Indiana prevailed with a 56-55 win over Princeton.
For their next matchup, Indiana would move on to the Sweet 16 against the number 2 seeded University of Connecticut Huskies, arguably the greatest women’s basketball program in the history of college sports. In this matchup, however, Indiana did not have the luxury of home-court advantage on their side as this game was played at Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut. In fact, this game gave the Huskies the edge of home-court advantage as the Arena is only 80 miles from the UCONN campus. With all these factors in-place, Fanduel Online Sportsbook had Indiana as 8.5-point underdogs for their sports betting lines. While no longer having the home-court advantage and going against a stronger team, Indiana lost by a final score of 75-58 to end their season. While their season ended quicker than the fans of Indiana women’s basketball would have liked, it was still a memorable season for fans of the program. Not many collegiate programs make it to the NCAA March Madness tournament, let alone host one or more games that the team is playing in. Nothing could be better than making the postseason and being able to play in front of your home crowd, especially in a state where basketball is treated as a religion.