Around the Hall: Is Assembly Hall the Big Ten’s toughest venue?

  • 07/26/2016 3:18 pm in

Around the Hall is recommend reading from the Inside the Hall staff.

Eamonn Brennan of ranked all 14 Big Ten venues based on their difficulty for road teams. Assembly Hall claimed the top spot:

1. Indiana Hoosiers: Assembly Hall, opened in 1971
Were this a list of the best basketball venues in Indiana, Hinkle Fieldhouse would win. (Though there would be a few mid-century, 7,000-seat high school arenas in the running.) Toughest, though? That’s Assembly Hall. It’s bonkers-loud, even when the team is just so-so. The sideline stands rise impossibly, and imposingly, into the rafters. And you can forgive the student section’s incongruous split between the baseline, corners and upper deck for two reasons:

– The deep-pocketed who occupy the prime sideline seats are as locked-in and rowdy as most 20-year-olds.
– The 17,472-seat gym typically packs in 7,800 students a night. No setting in college basketball has more. Few are this daunting.

Michael McRobbie is the highest paid Indiana University employee in terms of base salary according to the Bloomington Herald-Times:

Indiana University President Michael McRobbie is finally making more money than head men’s basketball coach Tom Crean. At least in base salary.

According to recently released base salary numbers for IU, the $615,000 that McRobbie will be paid in fiscal year 2016, which began July 1, puts him about $10,000 ahead of Crean for the first time.

Indiana is one of three schools standing out for class of 2017 wing Jermaine Samuels, according to

Schools like Georgetown, Tennessee, Cal, and Marquette have been working hard on the Expressions star, yet it is three others that have stood out with Samuels. “Xavier, Villanova, and Indiana,” he said, pertaining to those that look to have the best shot with him. Samuels spoke further on each of the schools at hand.


“Instant playing time, development, a great education, and a coaching staff that can get me where I want to be.”


“Tom Crean is telling me he sees tons of potential in me if I go there. He stresses development, development, development.”


“Coaching, playing time, the fit, and development again.”

2017 guard Chaundee Brown discusses Indiana with Zagsblog:

With Tom Crean having watched Nike South Beach multiple times, Brown says that the Indiana head man was most impressed by his motor.

“This was the first time that he had ever seen me play,” Brown said. “He sat and watched four or five of my games at Peach Jam. He said he liked my game and that he had heard about my work ethic, heard that I work hard.”

One Big Ten coach told Jon Rothstein of that Robert Johnson could be the league’s most underrated player:

One Big Ten head coach told CBS Sports that Indiana’s Robert Johnson could be the league’s most underrated player. “He’s a two-year starter that can play multiple positions,” the coach said of the 6-3 Johnson, who averaged 8.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists last season. “Don’t be surprised if he winds up playing a lot of point guard next season.”

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  • BL4IU

    RJ is a stud. If he’s healthy, confident we’ll see a very special player this year.

    Love that pic. Thinking we may see OG in that same pose in Phoenix in early April.

  • RealHoosierFanatic

    It’s going to be another fun year next year. I just hope we don’t go 0-4 on the top 40 indiana prospects. Crystal ball doesn’t like our chances with any of them.

  • pdhoosier

    Also hoping we dont go 0-4 on the top 40 teams we play…

  • pdhoosier

    That sounded negative, mostly joking though. CANNOT wait till November!

  • RealHoosierFanatic

    I try to avoid the IU stuff for as long as I can but once I do I’m all in with it. The craving finally kicked in for me.

  • MrNobody

    I really want Scruggs, Wilkes, Williams to stay in state for IU. Having said that with all the times they have been to Assembly Hall and seen the atmosphere they don’t want to come then wish them the best. Want those players who WANT to be Hoosiers.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    you bring up a good point, something i was thinking about the other day. CTC has made progress, and he’s always been good at recognizingrecruiting potential where others don’t (but let’s be honest, it’s also out of necessity. i’m sure cal, k, and self could spot unpolished talent, they just don’t have to). but then i read about KW, for example, hinting that he’s pretty much waiting to see if pUKe offers before making his decision(or at least narrowing down his list). gave me the impression that IU is the consolation prize at best. it may very well have been the same scenario for JBJR. could have been that once cal knew he had booker, he told JBJR he was no longer interested. and of course we all remember the TL decommit.

    point being, CTC has to get better. he’s got to make IU attractive to both the raw talent AND the top25. if we’re talking banner #6, i just don’t think it’s enough to hang your hat on player development alone.

    opinions vary with regard to the importance of in-state vs. out-of-state recruiting, in relation to simply overall player ranking. personally, i think if CTC lays a big goose egg with the local boys, it looks bad to recruits across the country (i.e. what’s so wrong with IU that it can’t even attract kids from its own state?).

  • Bill Graham

    Toughest in the BIG. How about toughest in the nation? Seriously, is it harder to play at Rupp? Cameron? Phog? Breslin? Obviously the refs are horrible at all of those places (seemingly more so than at Assembly Hall…but I’m biased)…but in terms of tradition, the student section, noise, and layout. I’d give us the nod. We are one of the few places where the crowd literally feels on top of the court.

  • SilentBob

    Don’t sleep on that Jermiane Samuels kid just cause he ain’t a five star or from Indiana. That kid can seriously ball, and I love that development is at the core of all three pitches.

  • Ole Man

    JBJ has always maintained that he didn’t make his decision until moments before putting on the hat.
    Other than that, I think your last two paragraphs are dead on!!

  • RealHoosierFanatic

    You make good points but let me throw a few things out there for you to consider. Instate recuiting has been a dying breed for a long time and it’s only growing. For top 40 players it’s about does your program offer me a high priority role immediately, have you proven that you send players to the NBA, does your style of play showcase my talents, and how have you been at player development.

    So Paul Scruggs you can pretty much eliminate right off the bat. Newkirk, RJ, and maybe CUJO hinders his options. For some reason we don’t even seem to be pursuing Jaren Jackson.

    Let’s look at the other two. Malik Williams. Can he slot in immediately? Yes if TB leaves. That looks good for us. Now is it stylistic fit? Probably is if we’re after him. Check mark us. Now go battle it out with UL, MSU, UCLA, and others. Not a bad spot for us but not great either.

    Lastly Kris Wilkes. The best of the group. He plays immediately, style is right, does he want to come even come here? Sure maybe if better options don’t come up. Would I hold out for UK, duke, UNC, and also see what else opens up? You’re damn right. Would I pick UK or Duke over Indiana? Most likely you would if you’re logical.

    Not so easy when you look at from that prospective and explains why you can’t just go gung ho after players expecting them to come here because we’re local. Tom leverages his bets. We’re in for a few of the indiana kids but he’s also seeking out kids that he knows is a good fit for both of us. We’re searching nation wide and finding the players that fits both sides and he’s getting better at it. I expect us to get 0 players from Indiana and I won’t even be upset if we do.

  • RealHoosierFanatic

    I’m sure they would love to come to IU but this is their dreams and futures on the line here. They’ve played so much basketball their entire lives and this is the biggest decision they will make. It’s not very hard to see that you have to be extremely selfish here and make the right play to help you achieve your dreams. Spots are open for Wilkes and Williams but I can’t fault wilkes for hoping for UK. I’m a die hard hoosier but I’d have to think long and hard if UK came calling after me. Williams has a very tough decision to make. UL, MSU, and others. I think it’s a great spot for both to develop into NBA talent but they have to make that decision.

    Would you want to battle a SR point guard, RJ who can play PG and maybe even CUJO if you’re a top 30 player? I wouldn’t if I were scruggs. It sucks, I’d be over the moon if we got them but it’s not like the old days anymore.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    then i’ll take him at his word. certainly hope that’s the case

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    i agree that cbb ain’t as regional as it used to be, but don’t tell me it doesn’t have a significant influence. look at the top100 from the ’17 class who’ve committed so far. two are from arkansas. guess where they’re going. one is from iowa, guess where he’s going. one is from illinois, guess where he’s going. two are from washington, guess where, etc…

  • RealHoosierFanatic

    2 and 10 moved across the country. 17 is alabama with pearl and not a good school within three states. The Illinois kid was a shock pick, I’ll concede there.

    The west coast has two major schools in Arizona and UCLA and the east coast really only has DUKE and UNC. Northeast syracuse had it locked down for top players. I think the reason that the big ten hasn’t won a title in 20 odd years is because we have so many good schools and not any great ones. MSU, IU, UL, OSU, Nova, Xavier, Virginia, Michigan, and Purdue are all battling it out for top 100 kids and schools like duke, uk, and kansas come in and poach the very best when they are in your area. How many times has Indiana lost out top 10 players in our state? Almost all of them. It’ll probably happen with Wilkes and it’ll happen with Romeo Langford as well.

    It’s tough to win a title without top 10 players. What I’m getting at is the midwest is passing the good talent around and rarely brings in top 20 talent. It’s too saturated and isn’t attracting players from across the country to compete with the power houses.

    I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be locking up the best players in Indiana it’s just the situation and our roster made it tough for scruggs and williams has a decision to make. Wilkes might have a bigger school in mind. What can you really do to prevent that?

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    pUKe, jerKS, and duke (still need a clever nickname for this one) are the best of the best, no doubt about it. that’s who we’ve got to catch up to. not sure how feasible that is (until cal,k, and self move on, anyway) but nevertheless that’s who CTC has to set his sights on.

    we came relatively close (and underachieved, imho) with CZ, YF, and a lower ranked JH. you think it’s just coincidence they happened to live in the same state? if they lived in TX, or even IL for that matter, you think they still would have chosen IU? sorry, i find that hard to believe. don’t get me wrong, i respect your insight, and the back and forth has been fun. it appears we’re gonna agree to disagree on this one.

  • BL4IU

    Recently, we’ve had several very talented and highly recruited East Coast kids (Williams, Vonleh, Bryant, Jones), and three highly recruited MAA’s from Indiana (Zeller, Ferrell, Blackmon, Jr.) choose Indiana. Moreover, just recently, we had an unheralded kid become a #2 pick in the NBA draft, and we just won two BIG titles in the last four years. As far as I’m aware, all the above mentioned kids are big supporters of Coach and the program. Frankly, if Indiana kids don’t want to play for IU, I’m happy spreading our wings nationally and being a helluva lot more selective on the home front. If we don’t pull in any of Indiana’s top kids this year, I’d bet money it’s one of three things: (1) concern for immediate playing time; (2) concern for having to participate in the extra intensive developmental program, especially the strength and conditioning workouts; or (3) an advisor that Coach rubbed the wrong way is involved. If’ it’s one or two, we should feel no loss if the kid chooses another school. If it’s three, we should feel sorry for the kid.

  • BL4IU

    Here’s what’s funny – a top 10 Indiana kid’s ultimate draft position will be no better for having gone to Duke, UK or Kansas. In fact, you could argue he’ll get a better opportunity at IU to showcase his skills.

  • RealHoosierFanatic

    We’re on the same page here almost completely actually. We’re in the second tier at the moment. I think we’re beginning to stabilize there. 2 big ten titles in four years, a few sweet 16’s, talent this year to continue that, many highly rated prospects considering us for next year. It’s almost impossible to break into that UK, DUKE, and Kansas tier but if we’re going to do it we have to do it the right way and slowly/methodically. Isn’t that what we’re doing right now? Perpetually landing people in the 20-40 range now, Sending players to the NBA regularly, and the kids like CTC all around. I think we’ll get there but it might take 5 years. We just need to keep trending upwards.

    Cody and YF we’re both fringe 5 star recruits and Jeremy was in the 30’s. That was a unique situation because Cody and Yogi we’re close friends and education was important to both families. Both of those kids came from families that had amazing parents. Not really the norm for most kids of their talent.

  • RealHoosierFanatic

    That isn’t true. How many players have went to kentucky, got drafted and fizzled out the second round. Coach K and arguably cal are better coaches as well. Not to mention it’s better for their brand as they get more national media attention.

    How many top 100 kids have we had under crean and how many are in the NBA? 2. Not counting Yogi and Troy.

  • RealHoosierFanatic

    Excellent. I’m right there with you. Nice addition to what I was hinting at. I’d even like to take that a step further. Forcing yourself to go after indiana could actually be hindering the program. You can lock up 20, 30, and 50 ranked indiana recruits or you can cherry pick everywhere else that suits better suits your needs. I think Tom knows exactly what he’s doing and has a clear vision. It’s unfortunate that this will look like a stain if we miss on all though.

  • BL4IU

    Coach K is the best. After that it’s a toss up. In fact, I’d say Coach is doing a better job developing players than UK or Kansas. If I’m an NBA exec, when it comes to college ball, all I care about is seeing a kid play against good competition so I can assess his true skill level. Honestly, I’d be shocked if a kid has ever been drafted solely because he played at a particular university.

  • Bill Graham

    Overall great posts BL. I’m not nagging on you when I raise this question but it bothers me. Why is Coach K consider the greatest coach who is still coaching? He consistently recruits top 10 classes. Yes recruiting is a huge part of coaching but heck my wife could win a national title with Tyus, Okafor, and Winslow. What 4 year players has the guy transformed? What underdog rosters has he gone above and beyond with? I just think most of his hype is recruiting…

  • Bill Graham

    I understand everyone’s points but with highly ranked Indiana kids its different…For instance I’ll take someone close to Malik Williams right now rather than waiting and potentially losing out to UL in April…to me he’s not that valuable…contrarily a guy like Romeo Langford (#2 nationally) we need to get that dude…he’s in our backyard and has been a Hoosier baller for 17 years he needs to continue being a Hoosier baller until his NBA contract says differently.

  • Bill Graham

    Agree but conference will have a ton of weight. We could go 0-4 and finish 1st or 2nd in the conf and still end up with 4-6 seed. Heck if we go 3-1 and finish 1st or 2nd we are easily a 2-4 seed (unless of course pUKe is 8 seed in which case they will automatically make us a 9 seed for publicity and financial reasons).

  • pdhoosier

    Haha that last part is so true. But if we go 3-1 and finish first in the conference, that should be a 1 seed in my opinion

  • BL4IU

    No doubt the rich get richer. Notwithstanding, several things I’ve always liked about Coach K:

    1. He plays an uptempo style (one of the first to breakaway from the over controlled offensive philosophy of the seventies) but expects good decision making (he’ll give a kid some leash but only within reason);
    2. He demands good defense at all times; and
    3. He’s a good in-game strategist and exceptional at late-game situations.

    Can’t argue that he always has a lot to work with but he’s also delivers (unlike others we could name). Hey, did RMK ever win big with inferior talent? Finally, I’m sure if we tried we could find a few teams Coach K has excelled with that weren’t loaded with first round talent.

  • RealHoosierFanatic

    Exactly. You ‘get it’. Good post.

  • Bill Graham

    Would love to have him at the 2 with MJ Walker at the 1. We would be gigantic and dang good! Love Samuel’s game he reminds me a ton of Malcolm Hill for Illinois. I checked his EBYL stats about 14 ppg, 1.0 stl pg, about 2 asts pg, but here’s the kicker he’s averaging 7 rebounds per game as a guard! To put that into perspective TB averaged 7 rebounds per game in EBYL play. Him and Walker would make for a gigantic physical backcourt…….. (btw -not that I’m digging on Devonte Green but this kind of proves a point I’ve made to a couple folks…say supposedly we get Walker and Samuels —with Cujo and Rob staying…how is Devonte ever going to expect to get mins? I just think we will always recruit better guards and he’ll never earn a spot).

  • weitrhino

    Nickname for Duke? Not clever but I simply refer to it as Vital’s Alter of Worship

  • SilentBob

    Now that’s a duo to dream about! And excellent player comp, though I’ll add he is springier and maybe a few hairs longer in the limbs than Malcolm. All the better! I truly think this kid has a lottery pick package if he can find the right coach to put it all together. Hopefully it’s Crean!

    And I’m not entirely with you on Devontee. He may be our best guard defender already, and he can play off the ball really well. his handles are anything impressive, but they look solid and dependable. And it’s all about who you can guard to me. We could theoretically have Walker player the point on offense, have Devontee off the ball, and then have him pick up the opposing teams ball handler on defense.