Rushing the Court – Allen Fieldhouse

The following dates are to give you some historical perspective:

  • Kansas’ first year of basketball was 1898-1899.
  • The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was formed in 1906.
  • The NCAA tournament has been held annually since 1939.
  • Allen Fieldhouse opened in 1955.
  • Phog Allen retired after the 1955-1956 season.
  • Wilt Chamberlain played his first varsity season at Kansas in 1956-1957  and averaged 29.6 points and 18.9 rebounds per game.
  • Since Allen Fieldhouse opened, Kansas has had seven losing seasons.
  • Since 1940, Kansas’ worst decade as a basketball school was the 70’s. The 50’s and 70’s are the only decades Kansas State had better teams than Kansas.

For this blog, I will be specifically talking about the early 70’s, quite possibly the worst back-to-back seasons in Kansas basketball history.

In 1970-1971, Kansas went into the Final Four with just one loss (at Louisville). Kansas lost both games in the Final Four (there were consolation games in the Final Four until they were discontinued after the 1981 season). That was Dave Robisch’s senior season and Bud Stallworth’s junior year.

In 1971-1972, Kansas had its worst season under Ted Owens. It was the first time Kansas had double digits in losses for the first time since the 1963-1964 season. The following season was even worse, sporting the most losses in Kansas history (tied with the 1961-1962 team) with 18 losses.

The following year was the freshman season for Roger Morningstar (Brady Morningstar’s father). Kansas went 21-5 in the regular season, including a 13-1 record in the Big Eight conference. Kansas’ lone conference loss came at the hands of Kansas State  on February 13th in Manhattan.

The Wildcats made their return trip to Allen Fieldhouse on March 6th. Kansas won 60-55. If Kansas had lost, the Wildcats would have won the Big Eight, as they finished 11-3 in conference (KU losing would have made both teams 12-2, with KSU holding a 0-2 record over the Jayhawks). It was a big game.

The following game, Kansas played Missouri and beat them 112-76. The Jayhawks were back (they finished the season with two losses in the Final Four, finishing 23-7 on the year).

Kansas fans stormed the court.

The only other Allen Fieldhouse court storm that comes to mind: January 27, 2003 vs. Texas. Only about 50 fans actually got on the floor before it was halted. Roy Williams was not pleased. Neither were the players.

Of course, the last time fans actually stormed the court was after Kansas won the National Championship in 2008.

Kansas fans look to make that happen again this season as the NCAA tournament tips-off for the Jayhawks this Friday.

Side note: I do not like court storming. I think it shows that you did not expect to win. I think most Kansas fans believe that they can win every game in Allen Fieldhouse so I doubt it will ever happen again (especially with Bill Self coaching in Lawrence). The court storming in 1974 was very similar to other bluebloods storming the court this year (Indiana, North Carolina, etc.). I doubt court storming was a regular occurrence in the 70’s like it is now. A blueblood should never storm a court in the current age of basketball. Pat Forde created rules for storming the court back in 2006. These should be the standard rules for it.