As we approach the end of the college basketball season, it is time to rank the six Philadelphia college basketball schools, no, not by the players, but the fans. Drexel, Penn, Villanova, Temple, La Salle and Saint Joseph's have all had very good seasons, but who had the best fans?
Did the Cherry Crusade rank in at No. 1? How about Penn selling out the Palestra? How far did Villanova fall because of its disappointing season?
Here's a look at the 2011-2012 Philadelphia Student Section rankings:
If you cannot find a video of La Salle's student section, you automatically place them last. I'm not calling out La Salle basketball, but Tom Gola Arena has yet to find an official student section.
That being said, the numbers are rising. I've seen more students this year than any year in the past, but it still pales in comparison to the number of students in Temple or Drexel's student sections.
Tom Gola Arena isn't the quietest arena. The crowd gets in the game, and the band, cheerleaders, and alumni all contribute. Still, it'd be nice to see 'Gola be rocking.
First things first: The Red and Blue crew (Penn's official student section) have improved dramatically this season. Maybe that's because of the team's success, but the Palestra was sold out numerous times.
Against Saint Joseph's, the Red and Blue Crew had rollout signs ready (Big-5 Tradition) and were loud as anything. It showed, as the Quakers upset the Hawks.
When nationally-ranked Harvard came to the Palestra, the student section was jam-packed. There was absolutely no breathing room, as the student section were on their feet the whole time.
I give credit to the Red and Blue Crew because of its quality band and because they play in the Ivy League. It's pretty hard to get 8,500 fans to an Ivy League game, but Penn found a way to do it.
Still, the Palestra is rarely half full when the season starts or when Columbia, Cornell or Dartmouth visit Philadelphia. I would place them ahead of Villanova, but that's only because 'Nova is playing atrocious.
You probably can tell that this video was not from this season. Villanova is struggling to be a .500 team, which is taking a toll on fan support. That being said, Villanova still packs the Pavilion! Aside from this season, you can guarantee sell-outs and an obnoxious student section.
I place them below Saint Joe's because of this season, but I know next year will bring back the intensity, passion and pride 'Nova Nation always brings.
This was the only video I could find from this season, but I've been to Hagan Arena numerous times this year and have found it cozy, yet hostile.
The Hawks' student section has numerous traditions and is placed very logically. They place half of the students under one basket and the other half under the other hoop. This provides never-ending hostility towards the opposing team.
I'm a big fan of Hagan Arena, but I can't put them ahead of Drexel or Temple just yet. The team is reeling, but wins over Creighton and Villanova should muster up some fan support. I'm not saying it's quiet on Hawk Hill, but the student support could be better.
Their gym may be small, but their student support is incredible. Yes, the DAC holds only 2,500, but I guarantee half of that is from the "DACPack", Drexel's official student section.
This support group is all over Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Add that the DACPack stands the ENTIRE game—and even supports their women's team—and you have one of the best sections in the country!
In the "I Love College Hoops" contest on Facebook, the Drexel DACPack were named one of the 16 finalists for best student section in the country.
The only thing holding them back from being No. 1 is their gym. It's not their fault, but Temple outnumbers them by a lot. Nonetheless, I love the Drexel DACPack, and I am excited to see them in Richmond for the CAA Tournament.
As shown in the video, their whiteouts are pretty good. The "I Believe" chant is one of college basketball's best, and Temple's interpretation is even better.
I had to choose the whiteout against Xavier because of it's popularity, but Temple had a magnificent showing against archrival and city foe Saint Joe's. The "I Believe That We Have Won" chant turned into "I Believe The Hawk Is Dead." The Cherry Crusade dressed in all black and commemorated the Hawk's funeral and even held up tombstones, held up it's grave, etc.
The Cherry Crusade aren't just creative, but loud. The 9,500 capacity of the Liacouras Center is a big gym compared to other Atlantic-10 schools, but the Owls find a way to fill it. Having a first-place team does help, but the student support is the best in Philadelphia.