Big 12 Basketball: The Hardest Places in the Conference to Play
The Big 12 is one of the most competitive conferences for basketball in the nation.
Just as with any difficult conference, it is essential for a team to defend its home court. For some teams, this is easy; but others simply struggle to fill the stands or make an impact on the game.
The following is a list of the most difficult places in the Big 12 to play within the past couple of years, with the additions of TCU and West Virginia in mind.
Note: The attendance numbers come from NCAA.org.
No. 10 Daniel-Meyer Coliseum, TCU
Average Attendance: 4,581
Simply put, the TCU Horned Frogs worry more about football than basketball. Therefore, the Daniel-Meyer Coliseum is not going to be very intimidating for opponents.
The Internet is riddled with TCU message boards asking why basketball games are so expensive and how they expect people to attend when the game selection is weak.
This is not a knock on the TCU fanbase, but it just has not been cultured into being a ferocious basketball group.
No. 9 United Spirit Arena, Texas Tech
Average Attendance: 8,665
If you were able to catch one of the few Texas Tech basketball games that were televised, you probably would have noticed that the stands were rather empty.
With an attendance average a little over half capacity, the Red Raiders just could not get the United Spirit Arena to become a winning factor in their games.
It never helps to excite a fanbase when its team is not very good, and with Texas Tech continuing to decline in competitiveness, it does not look as though the stands will be filling soon.
There was a time when the Red Raiders were one of the best teams in their conference, and the home support was big, but that time has passed.
No. 8 Gallagher-Iba Arena, Oklahoma State
Average Attendance: 9,239
The Gallagher-Iba Arena has a rich history of success. It is home to “more national championships than any other facility in America,” according to its website, and has been called both “The Rowdiest Arena in the Country” and “The Madison Square Garden of the Plains.”
That may be true, but it's true mostly for the sport of wrestling, not basketball.
The arena was recently renovated to support basketball after being predominantly home to Oklahoma State wrestling.
Cowboys fans should not be doubted in their ability to cheer on their team, but the Gallagher-Iba Arena of today does not provide the same level of fear that it does for wrestling matches or that it did for older basketball games.
No. 7 Lloyd Noble Center, Oklahoma
Average Attendance: 8,525
The Lloyd Noble Center used to be one of the loudest and most intimidating arenas in the Big 12 for opponents to play in.
However, since the 2009-10 season, attendance has continued to decline, and with it, so too has the X-factor for the Sooners. Now, it is really hit or miss depending on the crowd that decides to show up.
One of the most disappointing teams in the Big 12 last season, the Sooners have a chance to bring basketball success back to Oklahoma next year, as they are one of the Big 12’s sleeper teams.
No. 6 Ferrell Center, Baylor
Average Attendance: 7,914
The gold-topped Ferrell Center is an interesting place.
Baylor basketball has seen its success skyrocket during the last half of the decade, and it is now one of the best teams in the country. However, Baylor fans sometimes have a hard time being scary, intimidating fans.
As such, the atmosphere of the Ferrell Center is very unpredictable.
When the game is close towards the end, the arena will be rocking; but when the team needs the crowd to hinder its opponent, the fans have a hard time.
That said, when the stands are full, the Ferrell Center is one of the loudest arenas in the Big 12.
No. 5 WVU Coliseum, West Virginia
Average Attendance: 9,930
The WVU Coliseum will fit in just fine with the rest of the Big 12 arenas.
It is a loud place that can most certainly change the outcome of a couple games during the season.
One of the largest crowds ever clocked in at 15,032 people back in 2011—a clear sign that the Mountaineers love their basketball and are willing to support their team, even if it means breaking capacity on the Coliseum.
It will be interesting to see the WVU Coliseum first-hand in the Big 12 next season.
No. 4 Hilton Coliseum, Iowa State
Average Attendance: 13,015
Iowa State is not a bad basketball team. That said, it is a much better team at home, and that is probably due to some “Hilton Magic.” The phrase describes the home crowd’s ability to create wins out of should-be losses, and this is why the Cyclones’ arena ranks so high.
It does not matter by how much a team beats Iowa State when the Cyclones come to visit, because a home game is a completely different story.
When next season starts, Iowa State will be on a seven-game win streak and looking to prove the dominance of the Hilton Coliseum.
No. 3 Frank Erwin Center, Texas
Average Attendance: 11,950
The Texas Longhorns have one of the most dedicated fanbases in the nation, and that does not stop at football. With head coach Rick Barnes consistently bringing in some of the nation’s best talent, Longhorns fans pack the Frank Erwin Center expecting to win.
The sea of burnt orange is consistently loud and produces one of the best attendance percentages in the nation.
There is no question that, when the Longhorns basketball team is hot, the fans will be also.
No. 2 Bramlage Coliseum, Kansas State
Average Attendance: 12,783
There is little doubt about why the Bramlage Coliseum is more commonly referred to as “The Octagon of Doom.”
Wildcats fans simply know how to impact a basketball game. They have caused multiple matchups to go down to the wire, usually allowing their team to come out on top.
The coliseum is one of those places that teams really wish that they did not have to play in, as it is truly the determining factor across the board in wins for Kansas State.
No. 1 Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas
Average Attendance: 16,445
The top spot on this countdown has to go to the Kansas Jayhawks.
Allen Fieldhouse was referred to by ESPN The Magazine as the “loudest college basketball arena in the country.” Mark Whicker said of the place that it is “the best place in America to watch college basketball.”
If that was not evidence enough, the Jayhawks have amassed an incredible 683-107 home record.
A night of basketball for Kansas is not just a game, it's an experience. It's also a lesson in how to be a fanbase that can change the game with ease.