It took a while for the term March Madness to take off and become associated with what basically sends any hoop-loving American into a bracket-obsessed frenzy every March. Legend has it that the term was first used back in 1939 during an Illinois basketball tournament, but it was actually TV sportscaster Brent Musburger who made the term popular during the early 1980s when describing the NCAA Basketball Tournament as “March Madness.” The single-elimination tournament is also known as the Big Dance, which came from Wisconsin’s Marquette University’s coach, Al McGuire, who likened going to the tournament to going to the Big Dance where you “gotta wear the blue blazer.” Whatever you call it, there are some teams that feel the love year after year, some that don’t really feel the love, and some that are still pining away for their shot at the glory of winning it all! We thought we’d take a look at some of the college towns that are Big on Basketball!
Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Men’s Basketball team, also known as the Badgers, has made 25 appearances in the tournament, made it to the Final Four four times, and won the championship once, in 1941. The town of Madison is definitely one with a great college vibe year-round, whether you love basketball or not. In fact, one of Madison’s main attractions is the Memorial Union, located on the UW’s campus. It could be the view of lovely Lake Mendota or the yummy ice cream from the University’s own Babcock Hall Dairy. Visitors can also tour the Kohl Center, where both men’s and women’s basketball are played as well as men’s hockey. Other Madison highlights include the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum, one of the world’s oldest restored prairies, the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, with 16 different gardens, the State Capitol Building and nearby Taliesin West, the Wisconsin estate of architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Blackhawk RV Campground (opens April 15) is a great place to stay near Madison, whether you’re looking for an RV site or a cabin.
Bloomington, Indiana: If you’re of a certain age, you may recall the coaching tenure of chair-throwing Hoosier’s coach Bobby Knight. Or, if you’re a March Madness follower, you know that the University of Indiana’s Men’s Basketball team has been quite the contender over the years with 39 appearances in the Tournament, 22 Sweet Sixteens, 8 Final Fours and 5 National Championships. Bloomington is all about basketball. Truthfully, Indiana is in general. Fun fact: while basketball was invented in Massachusetts, the man credited with inventing it, James Naismith, said after attending a game in Indiana that “basketball really has its origins in Indiana, which remains the center of the sport.” If you’re visiting this beautiful little town in Southern Indiana, check out Hoosier National Forest for great hiking and of course, Legacy Court in Cock Hall which offers self-guided tours and all the Hoosier basketball history you can imagine.
Both Indian Lakes RV Campground and Horseshoe Lakes RV Campground are under 80 miles from Bloomington. Choose from RV sites and cabin rentals at Indian Lakes and pick the perfect RV site at Horseshoe Lakes.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Quick – who’s the most famous Tar Heel in UNC’s Men’s Basketball history? Most people will answer Michael Jordan, but the University of North Carolina produced several notable players including Bob McAdoo and James Worthy. Stats-wise, the Tar Heels have played 174 games in the NCAA Tournament, been to the championship game 11 times and hold the record at 20 for appearances in the Final Four. Overall, North Carolina has 6 championships. Basketball fans visiting here will enjoy the Carolina Basketball Museum. Outdoor adventures can include the North Carolina Botanical Garden or the Coker Arboretum, or the bike trails at Brumley Forest Nature Preserve.
Plan a stay a Lake Gaston to enjoy Chapel Hill, which is a little over an hour’s drive away, and book an RV site or cabin rental.
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- The time is now to start planning for Spring break!
- Find more campgrounds at ThousandTrails.com.