Wow. <-- That's how I'm describing my spring break trip to Europe with my School of Journalism travel course.
Europeans might have good food, good sites and soccer. But they don't have basketball.
Can I just get some basketball, please?!
My class left Bloomington Friday morning, March 9, during the Big Ten tourney and we had a long layover in Charlotte, NC. You know what we did? Some of my classmates and I crammed in front of a restaurant TV (sporting cream and crimson) and watched the IU game against Wisconsin.
And we complained when the network switched to ACC games, even though we knew we were in North Carolina.
Because of the five-hour time difference, most of us didn't hear results of the New Mexico State and VCU games until the following mornings. Talks of brackets began weeks before we even left.
"How am I going to get my bracket back?" a classmate asked. "We'll be in London during Selection Sunday!"
The last time IU was in the Sweet 16, they advanced to the championship game. I was in seventh grade and my parents and I were enjoying spring break in Gatlinburg, TN. We grabbed dinner to take it back to our hotel.
"You're from Indiana, aren't you?" the guy behind the counter asked us.
Yes, we're from Indiana.
It's something the Midwest has that Europe doesn't. And it's something IU has that most other schools don't. A basketball tradition.
It's the candy-striped pants. It's the vintage button-down jackets (which I'm sporting as a toddler in the picture above). It's Assembly Hall.
And it's Hoosier Nation Day, just hours before the UK game and I can't sit still.