Commentary

Top-seed New York escapes Indiana

Updated: February 19, 2009, 11:26 AM ET
By Mark Tennis | ESPNRISE.com

Great State Debate bracket

Even if Indiana had Reggie Miller, it's doubtful the Hoosier State could have beaten New York in this week's Great State Debate.

Miller, the legendary NBA sharpshooter who bedeviled New Yorkers with his play for the Indiana Pacers against the New York Knicks in the 1990s, actually is from a California high school.

Indiana does have a strong love affair with high school boys' basketball and has a tradition of support that includes crowds of as many as 41,000 for state finals. Against the overall greatness of New York, however, Indiana went down in a 56.4 percent to 43.5 percent defeat.

As the top seed, New York now moves on to face either No. 4 Pennsylvania or No. 5 Michigan in a semifinal vote.

Indiana had to place at least second in an earlier vote just to gain entrance to this week's No. 1 versus No. 8 debate. It now joins Georgia, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia on the sidelines.

The state that placed first in that previous vote, Kentucky, is up next as the No. 7 seed in next week's contest. The Blue Grass State has a tall order to fill, as its opponent is Illinois, the No. 2 seed and the state, of course, with Chicago as its hoop dreams anchor.

Best of the Great State Debate

"Indiana overrated? Have you watched the last two NBA drafts? Conley and Oden in the top 10 in 2007. Hill, Lee and Gordon in the first round in 2008. That is just the last two years. Bird and Oscar Robertson would be on almost everyones top 10 all-time list. Robertson may have been the best to ever play, although I think Lebron will eventually have that title. You are a joke!"
-- slipdown2125

"Indiana high school basketball is definitely overrated. It's status is based almost entirely on Hoosiers and Larry Bird. They just don't match up with some of the other top states as far as consistent quality and depth from year to year."
-- lm7t

"If this is really about boys' basketball (not NBA, NCAA, etc.) then Indiana has to be in the top 2-3 (along with NC, IL, etc) Anyone who has played/seen H.S. basketball in these states knows its a different game than in other states. Players and fans actually know the fundamentals, run intricate offensive/defensive schemes, etc. It's not just about getting your star player his shots in or making national rankings/highlight reels (AAU style..) H.S. basketball is a part of the culture in these states (much like football in the southwest..) Watch the movie Hoosiers, very good reflection of the position the sport has in the state.. Just play pickup with 5 guys from Indiana, you'll be running a motion offense and help-side D before you can say Wooden."
-- fdisil

"It is absolutely crazy to not add Indiana to this list. My understanding is that this debate is about the state that produces the best basketball. That is not only the amount of professional athletes, but college, and high school as well. Also you are talking about the importance of the sport to that state. In an effort not to repeat the many others telling great players past and present from the state, the best evidence of Indiana's superior hold on title of "The Basketball State" is the fervor of high school basketball in the state. If you have attended a high school game you know exactly what I am talking about. This state is home to many of the largest high school gyms in the world (New Castle, Kokomo, Anderson, Richmond, etc.), plus you throw in the history of Hinkle Fieldhouse, Assembly Hall, and as much as it pains me to say Mackey Arena. There is no doubt that Indiana deserves to be on this list, not only for their production of quality athletes at all levels, but also because of their unmatched passion for the game. If you don't believe me just take a drive through the state and see how long it takes you to find a goal (whether attached to a barn, a tree, a pole) that is being put to use."
-- tgray1438

Mark Tennis is the deputy sports editor for ESPNRISE.com