Hoosier Hysteria offers insight into what Indiana basketball can do with a local audience — inside the hall

Fireworks, half-pitch shots, dancing and Cadillac pull-downs. While the events at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall were certainly out of the ordinary, most of which don’t offer anything to draw upon for correct season predictions, one thing was clear Friday night.

Indiana has fans. The fans have Indiana. And together, the energy is almost unparalleled.

The ideal position for any sports fan is sitting at a sports event, unable to hear your thoughts. To lose your cheering voice and lose the feeling of your hands from clapping.

Hoosier fans who filled the lower bowl of the Assembly Hall one October night demonstrated the potential for this ideal situation to become a reality. Indiana fans had no problem showing up in men’s basketball, even when the team wasn’t performing at its best.

But this season, with Indiana expected to win the Big Ten by nearly every major outlet, Trayce Jackson-Davis naming the All-American and Mike Woodson bringing the inductee class number five in the country, the hype around the Hoosiers is palpable.

Friday night saw the arrival of DJ Gno, the official DJ of Indiana men’s basketball this season. It gave an insight into what a home game could be, with popular songs being redistributed to entertain the audience before the festivities began and continued all night.

At the first event of the night, fans got a taste of the energy in every member of the team. While it’s clear they won’t bring the games onto the stage and crowd the students on the floor, the Hoosiers ramped up the fans, feeding everyone in the building each other’s energy.

All the while, cheers erupted with activities and speeches by coaches and players. When Miller Cobb drained three-pointers and Mike Woodson used an expletive without apology while describing Indiana basketball, the noise was deafening.

“This arena has always shook,” Woodson said on Friday. “It doesn’t matter who we play with. I think we have the greatest fans in college basketball. I always thought that.”

The fact that a crowd that didn’t even come close to reaching the assembly hall’s seating limit was able to make that much noise bode well for the Hoosiers. With so many important home games dropping this weekend, the Assembly Hall is set to get crowded with fans.

Last season, Indiana had eight home games that were held on weekends — including Fridays. Indiana won six of them.

If you expand that to Thursdays, since many college students don’t have (or just don’t attend) Friday classes, the number only increases.

Indiana beat Purdue Thursday night in front of one of the loudest crowds to appear at the Assembly Hall. One of the best games of the season came in Indiana Thursday night against highly-rated Ohio State.

can be accomplished. But the crowd presence at the weekend games should not be underestimated.

This season, nine Indiana home games are on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. All of these matches come after November 24, and seven of them are against Big Ten opponents – including prestigious teams such as Purdue and Michigan.

With the pressure and expectations on the Hoosiers this season, they are only going to benefit from the big crowds. And by the look of the table, they should. A big game on a Tuesday night is bound to look like a big game on a Friday or Saturday, and most importantly, it looks different.

That doesn’t mean the crowds won’t be large and lively during the week – it’s still Indiana basketball.

On a very basic level, though, weekend games often mean more seating, usually with non-college students or people who aren’t big fans. But occupied seats are occupied seats, and even the average fan will cheer when Mike Woodson comes out or dunks Trace Jackson Davis.

why? They are fed by the spectators around them. So are the players. Banning, stealing, or even cutting out a game isn’t refreshing without fans. Show art is part of the sport and the product of fan feedback.

At the end of the day, fans won’t make or break a team – especially not a team like Indiana. With Jalen Hood-Schifino and Jordan Geronimo dancing as they introduce and each player walking in with a bit of a splurge, it’s clear the Hoosiers can support themselves.

But when the Assembly Hall is full, the music explodes and the fans scream, the Hoosiers will have an added advantage over their opponents. There is nothing wrong with that.

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