I will start this off with a story to help give people an idea of what a game day experience at Assembly Hall can be like.
Saturday, February 2, 2013
At this time I was a Freshman at one of the best universities in the country. I had just been brought on as a tour guide and we had the unfortunate luck of having training on the day College Gameday was in Bloomington. I was unable to make Gameday in the morning, but I had a General Admission ticket for the game. #3 ranked Indiana was hosting #1 ranked Michigan. As soon as my training was finished I raced to Assembly Hall, or rather the huge line of people outside of Assembly Hall, to join my friends to wait in line for the game.
It was about 3 pm when I showed up, game at 9 pm. It was already below freezing at 3 pm so we had five and a half wonderful hours of freezing our tails off before finally making it into Assembly Hall. Once inside the atmosphere was electric. To give you an idea of how loud it was in there, I went hoarse by the first media timeout just over four minutes into the game. That did not stop me from yelling though, nor anyone else who might have experienced the same phenomenon. The roof nearly exploded on a Victor Oladipo MISSED alley oop, no telling what would have happened had he converted that.
Ultimately we won the game which is technically deemed an “upset” because Michigan was ranked #1. The game’s effect lasted more than just that night for me. I had no voice for about four days!
So now that everyone knows what type of atmosphere we are dealing with (if you need further clarification just ask Roy Williams) I can move on to the point of this article. The term “upset” for when a high ranked team loses to a lower ranked team should be thrown out the window when IU is hosting a ranked team. Why? Well in the four years I attended IU basketball games I experienced many games against ranked teams and never was I worried about IU losing them. It was always great to be a part of the crowd that helped provide the true home court advantage in the big games. It was the unranked teams that worried me. You may be laughing at that, but it’s true. I finally decided to do some digging to see if my fears were credible. My findings: they are.
I looked back on the last five IU basketball seasons as well as accounted for this year’s season so far. The results are probably shocking to everyone else, but I guess that’s not the right word for me since I had these thoughts from the beginning. These numbers date back to the 2011-12 season, the year IU was deemed to have found a way out of the hole we had been left in after the whole Kelvin Sampson situation. In that time IU has played 99 games at home (as of Dec. 6th, 2016). IU has an 88-11 record in those games. Out of the 99, 21 games have been against ranked opponents. Their record: 19-2. I repeat, 19-2 (.905 win percentage) including 2-0 against #1 ranked teams and 7-1 against top five ranked opponents! Their last loss to a ranked team at home was in the 2013-14 season!
Games against unranked opponents have not gone as well as IU’s record is only 69-9 (.885 win percentage). How did I know this might be the case? I witnessed first hand, or rather in the first row every game, the up and down roller coaster season in 2013-14. We went 4-1 in Big Ten play against ranked teams at home and 1-3 against unranked teams in Big Ten play at home.
This proves that IU and the students show up when it matters in the big time games. Students need to be sure to bring the ranked team atmosphere to every game, as well as the team make sure not to take anyone lightly. It seems this may already be happening considering IU is 23-0 in their last 23 games at home. Their last loss at home was in the 2014-15 season, and it was the 3rd straight home loss against an unranked team that season.
After North Carolina went into Assembly Hall a week ago and lost, all the headlines were about how Indiana “upset” North Carolina. Call it whatever else you want, but do not call it an upset. Even if we were unranked and North Carolina was ranked #1 I would find it hard to call that an upset based on IU’s win percentage against ranked teams of late. This should be all the proof you need that Assembly Hall is one of the toughest places to play, especially for ranked teams, in all of college basketball. Bad news: The NCAA tournament is not held at Assembly Hall. The good news: IU has already beat two ranked teams this year and one was outside of the great Assembly Hall. Plenty of excitement to go around in Bloomington this season.
A Little Something Extra
IU Women’s Basketball also went undefeated in Assembly Hall last season (14-0, 2-0 against ranked teams) and are off to a 3-0 start at home this season.
All of my fact checking was done via ESPN’s website so my definition of ranked team/AP Top 25 team is based on the rankings of those teams when IU played them as shown on their past schedules on the website.