ESPN’s College Gameday is in town as No. 5 Kansas and No. 12 Kentucky — the two winningest programs in college basketball history — collide for an indoor marquee game. of Allen Fieldhouse, which will contribute to what should be a special atmosphere in Lawrence.
“First road [College] Gameday in two years,” ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg said Friday. “I would say that’s a really good place to start.”
KU are 10-0 at home this season. Under Head Coach bill yourself era, KU boasts a 297-18 record inside Allen Fieldhouse. This equates to a winning percentage of 94.3%.
“Hopefully it will be a big advantage on the pitch,” Self said. “It usually is, but that doesn’t guarantee success. It’s special, but Monday night was also special, and it’s going to be special. What makes Allen Fieldhouse more special than most, it’s not it doesn’t have to be Kentucky to make it special.
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“For me, that’s the difference. Everyone can have special places, but it might take the right opponent to make it special. Here, you don’t need to have this so-called “good opponent”. But when you do, it’s taken it up another notch.”
KU is 10-23 against Kentucky since both schools were ranked as majors. However, Self has won four of the last five games against Kentucky and is even 5-5 against John Calipari for his career. This game will give one of the Hall of Fame coaches an edge.
“It’s a game that’s been circled on our calendars, and I’ll be on theirs for a long time as well,” Self said. “I’m excited and I think the players are excited.”
Self joked that there was no way the atmosphere inside Allen Fieldhouse could be any worse than the last time he played in Kentucky. In that match, KU won a 65-62 in front of an empty Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
David McCormack says Allen Fieldhouse will be the complete opposite this Saturday night.
“Playing in this place even though we know it’s going to be crazy,” McCormack said. “It’s going to be hectic. The fans will make us want to play even harder. I think everyone is going to be completely fired up and ready to go from minute one.
When KU set the decibel record (130.4 dB) for an indoor arena against West Virginia in 2017, it broke Kentucky’s previous record of 126.4. Interestingly, KU was at Rupp Arena when Kentucky set the record. The Jayhawks won that game 79-73. Kentucky also lost its last meeting at Allen Fieldhouse, losing 90-84 in overtime on January 30, 2016.
The College Gameday atmosphere might add a little extra emphasis to this game. ESPN’s LaPhonso Ellis, one of the crew, recalled his first of three appearances at Allen Fieldhouse during an interview with the media on Friday.
Ellis said he was announcing his first-ever game for ESPN when KU played Radford on December 9, 2009. He noted that it was around -10 degrees outside that day. About 60 minutes before the game, Ellis said he was wearing his helmet and when he took it off he really heard the roar of Allen Fieldhouse for the first time.
“That place was packed and of course that singing is legendary,” Ellis said. “I love the fans here. I think it’s a huge game-changer for the teams coming in. It will definitely help the Jayhawks [against Kentucky].”