Being in lesser developed nations definitely explains your point. I agree that it is much "easier" to play with limited resources than other sports.
I think it would be interesting to know if you've been in either Central America or South America. I have always been under the impression that baseball was extremely popular, especially due to the success of MLB players from that region. It is also heralded as a "poor persons game" in that the balls can be made rather easily and broom sticks, branches, etc. can be used as bats.
Kentucky basketball isn't a matter of life and death, it's much more important than that.