CBS4 Sports Anchor Chris Widlic looks back at how Hoosier and Boilermaker basketball on Channel 4, beginning with Bob Knight’s reign in the 1970s and continuing with Gene Keady’s rise in the ’80s, changed the face of prime-time TV.
Many cable providers began carrying WTTV just so fans could catch their beloved IU and Purdue basketball games.
Quinn Buckner, a four-year starter, three-year captain and Big Ten champion at IU in the ’70s under Coach Knight, recalls that televised Hoosiers games changed how people in Indiana went about their lives.
“When you think about people who changed business meetings to watch the Hoosiers, watch Big Ten basketball, that’s a lot,” Buckner said. “That’s something you’ve got to see because it’s so unique.”
The 1970s spawned some of the greatest IU teams in history, including the unbeaten squad in 1976. Knight’s fanatical following grew throughout the decade, when fans packed Bloomington’s Assembly Hall for every game.
Beginning in the early 1980s, Keady’s Boilermakers began to challenge the Hoosiers for Big Ten supremacy, and the rivalry played out largely on WTTV.