When your journey to Allen Fieldhouse ends on Naismith Drive, you are quickly reminded, this is no ordinary destination.
“Pay heed, all who enter. Beware of the Phog,” you are warned.
When it comes to home court advantages, there are few if any more impressive than what Kansas can claim in Lawrence.
Kansas has won 87.8 percent of their games (835-116) since the building opened in 1955. The iconic arena’s is named after F.C. “Phog” Allen, whose mentor was none other than the inventor of the game and founder of the Kansas program, Dr. James Naismith. The fieldhouse floor is named after Naismith. Allen played for Naismith at Kansas and then succeeded him as the head coach there.
Kansas has had 20 undefeated seasons at home playing at Allen Fieldhouse, they’ve had four home court winning streaks of more than 50 games there, and a non-conference winning streak that reached 68 games.
How good has Kansas been at Allen Fieldhouse under current head coach Bill Self?
Well, Self has won as many Big 12 championships as he has suffered home losses. Now in his 20th season as the head coach, Self is an incredible 297-16 at home, a .948 winning percentage.
Despite all of the ominous numbers, Indiana actually has a winning record at Allen Fieldhouse (2-1). They won there 72-55 on Dec. 5, 1972, and 74-70 on Dec. 4, 1974. Indiana’s only loss came in 1993, when the Jayhawks hit a three at the buzzer in overtime for the win.
IU head coach Mike Woodson knows his team is up against a tall task.
“I mean, they play well at home. If you look at their record over the last 16, 17 years or so, they haven’t lost very many games at home,” Woodson said.
“We’re going to have to go in there and commit to 40 minutes, do it on both ends of the floor and see what happens.”
Indiana does have the experience of going into another challenging venue and pulling out a win. The Hoosiers knocked off Xavier in November in a hostile environment.
And it may not make a significant difference, but Kansas’ students are on winter break — so at least in theory, the 3,500 seat student section will be filled with a bit less enthusiastic fans. We know for a fact that some of those seats will be filled by motivated IU fans who bought the entire Kansas mini-ticket package just to go to this game.
But still, there will be 16,300 mostly Rockin’ Chalkin’ Jayhawk fans who want nothing more than to send IU home with their third loss in four games.
Woodson is trying to convince his players to embrace the opportunity.
“At the end of the day, man, you playing a top-ranked team. You’re ranked. You’re playing on their floor in front of a hostile environment. It’s kind of what you live for when you play basketball in college,” Woodson said. “You can’t run from it.
“I just try to get our players to understand that, hey, you got to seize the moment. This is a big-time game, it really is. Nationally televised. You got a chance to go in and do something that a lot of teams hadn’t done in years there.”
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