If things don’t go well for Kansas in Bloomington next year, Bill Self can’t say he didn’t know what he was getting himself into.
The head coach of the defending national champion Jayhawks was asked earlier this month the toughest place he’s ever had to coach.
Although he’s been a head coach for 29 years, Self didn’t hesitate.
“The best home court that I’ve ever been to was Indiana,” Self said at a coaching clinic in Houston. “When we were at Illinois, they had, I don’t know if you guys remember, they had a kid named Jared Jeffries. They went to the national championship game with Mike (Davis), you guys all know Mike. And Mike and I, we had a good relationship, we had great games when we were at Illinois and Indiana.
“And we went over there and literally, their starting guards went 16-of-21 from 3, and I told our guys about eight minutes in, I said, ‘Hey, just sit back and relax and just take it all in because we ain’t changing it today.’ And to me, that’s the loudest. I mean you couldn’t talk. Indiana was the best.”
Self didn’t remember IU’s shooting numbers with precision, but he had the gist of it.
It was a 3-point barrage that electrified the Hoosier faithful at Assembly Hall on Jan. 26, 2002.
Dane Fife scored 20 points, and the Hoosiers set a school record with 17 3-pointers on 27 attempts in an 88-57 victory over the Illini, their worst loss in 11 years. Guards Fife, Tom Coverdale and Kyle Hornsby combined to go 15-of-22 from long range.
Jeffries added a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, to go with five assists, three steals and a block.
“This is what Indiana basketball is all about, playing good defense, getting open shots and having the fans behind you like this,” coach Mike Davis said after the game. “The crowd was so great today, I was excited.”
Many Indiana fans believe a dunk by Jeff Newton with 3:29 left in the first half that gave IU a nine-point lead was the loudest moment in Assembly Hall’s history.
For his part, television commentator Bill Raftery agreed.
“As good as I’ve heard this building,” he said after Newton’s authoritative left-handed and-one finish. “They are wired!”
Self will be back in the building next year for the first time since 2003. He was 1-2 there in his three seasons at Illinois.
He brings Kansas to Bloomington in December 2023 for the back-end of a home-and-home series between the Jayhawks and Hoosiers.
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