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TO DO LIST: BUTLER BASKETBALL: All together now: 'Let's go Bulldogs, let's go!'

February 5, 2007

TO DO LIST BUTLER BASKETBALL All together now: 'Let's go Bulldogs, let's go!' Looking for a way to satisfy your sports jones now that football season's over? Check out Indianapolis' other team-the Butler Bulldogs-at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse.

The nationally ranked basketball squad is at its prime, and taking in a home game is an entertaining reminder of the good old days when college athletes played their hearts out for four years and communities came out in force to rally 'round their teams.

With seating for 11,043, the 78-year-old arena has plenty of room for hoops fans young and old. Heck, you don't even need ties to Butler University to enjoy watching its boys in blue storm the court.

Go for the game, bound to be a barnburner. Go for Hinkle's history, immortalized in the movie "Hoosiers." Go because it's basketball, and this is Indiana. But go.

When: A handful of regular-season home games remain-Feb. 3, Feb. 13, Feb. 17, Feb. 22 and Feb. 24. Check out the schedule at butlersports.cstv.com.

Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse, 510 W. 49th St.

How much: Tickets range from $8 for general admission seats ($4 for children) in the upper deck-including the skybox-like "Crow's Nest"-to $50 for courtside chairs on what used to be press row.

Lower-level seats are $20 for chairs and $16 for benches with backs. Seats in a few rows of reserved upper-level bleachers are available for $12 each. Groups can get discounts on most tickets.

And don't forget about snacks. The concession fare is standard-hotdogs, pretzels, popcorn and candy-and at $2-$3 per item hasn't become expensive yet. In fact, there's a genuine bargain to be had in between the restrooms in the west hallway-vending machines dispensing 20-ounce soft drinks for a mere $1.25. Half-time lines there rivaled those at most concession stands.

Whatever your menu choice, bring cash. There aren't any ATMs in Hinkle Fieldhouse, and the concession stands don't take plastic.

The vibe: This is Indiana basketball at its finest. Go early to watch the teams-and pep band-warm up and let the kids wear themselves out on the ramps leading from one level to the next.

Once play begins, expect cheers and jeers from a crowd that is absorbed in what's happening on the court. It remains familyfriendly in the heat of battle, even in the "Dawg Pound," the standing-room-only student section along the baselines.

What to wear: Standard campus attire. Jeans and T-shirts are as common as khakis and sweaters. Only a few fans sport blue paint in the place of clothing. And while blue is a predominate color, it's by no means required. Still, if you catch Bulldog fever while you're there, look for the apparel outlets on each level-they do accept credit cards.

Other essentials: Parking can be a pain for first-timers, since the lot is reserved for media and fans who buy a season pass. Look for spots along 47th Street, as well as Rockwood, Hinesley and Cornelius avenues.

Don't spend all your money at the concession stand-venders walk the aisles hawking cotton candy and snow cones during the game.
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