I literally shouted "Woo!" when this came up on my feed. This was assigned viewing in my house growing up since my Mom is a native of Indiana (and very proud of her home state). Just because, here as some fun(?) facts about the film...
- Jim and Aron (understandably / reasonably) criticized the forced love story. There are almost 45 minutes of deleted scenes, and a decent amount fill in the details of that relationship to make it feel more natural. But, I agree, what's on the screen does seem... weird.
- The parallels between Hickory (and the real life) Milan are pretty thin. The Milan coach was new-ish, but it was in his 2nd year that they won the State Championship, and in his 1st, they made a deep run in the state tournament. The troubled backstory of the coach was completely made up (Milan's coach was actually only 24), as was most of the stuff surrounding the best player (Jimmy Chitwood in the movie, Bobby Plump in real life).
- In the movie, Coach Dale is hired because the previous coach unexpectedly died. In real life, the former Milan coach was fired for ordering new uniforms without authorization.
- A number of college basketball players had roles as either Hickory players or opponents. The NCAA suspended them all 3 games from their respective teams for performing in the movie.
- Jack Nicholson was almost cast at the coach (but he had scheduling conflicts).
- James Dean (who starred with Dennis Hopper in Rebel without a Cause) played high school basketball against Milan.