The Arena Pulse: No.10-Freedom Hall (Louisville)

Paul SeaverCorrespondent IOctober 8, 2009

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 01:  Rick Pitino the Head Coach of the Louisville Cardinals gives instructions to Preston Knowles #2 and Terrence Williams #1 during the Big East Conference game against the Marquette Golden Eagles at Freedom Hall on March 1, 2009 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

It’s never easy to go on the road in college basketball. This is a top 25 breakdown of some of the toughest and most intimidating venues in college basketball.

Venue: Freedom Hall

School Name: University of Louisville

Location: Louisville, Kentucky

Capacity: 18,865

It certainly has not been the best off-seasons for the University of Louisville and its head coach Rick Pitino. However, as another season approaches, the focus is back on basketball and for Cardinal fans, the center of attention resides in Freedom Hall.

Since 1956, the Louisville Cardinals have called Freedom Hall home and the success and tradition that the team has had in the past has brought out the best in their fans. With some of the largest home attendance marks in college basketball over the past few decades, there must be something that keeps bringing Louisville fans back.

Freedom Hall has ranked among the top ten in attendance average for the past 27 years, 21 of which they have been among the top five. With the interest so high for Louisville basketball, the University has pushed capacity over 19,000 during some home games. The excitement and passion in fans to keep returning is something Louisville is very proud of.

The red, white, and black that covers Freedom Hall from non-conference rivalry games to crucial Big East match-ups provides one of the greatest atmospheres in the nation. ESPN’s College GameDay has made two trips to Freedom Hall, one being in 2006 vs. No. 3 Connecticut and then again in 2008 against visiting No.6 Georgetown. Louisville fans showed their support by whiting-out the crowd at Freedom Hall; even Rick Pitino was sporting his all-white suit.

Ask any team visiting Freedom Hall, it is never an easy place to play. Ranked Big East opponents travel to Louisville each year, as well as a visit every other year from the Kentucky Wildcats. Known as the Battle of the Bluegrass, the rivalry always brings out the best in fans at either venue. It was only last year in which a three pointer in the final seconds erupted the crowd at Freedom Hall and gave the Cardinals a 74-71 win over the Wildcats.

This season the Cardinals take the trip down to Lexington to play Kentucky. However, annual Big East match-ups will get Freedom Hall going, as well as a non-conference visit from one of the better mid-major programs, Western Kentucky.

It has been the host to plenty of big games and some of the largest home crowds in the nation each year. Freedom Hall can provide one of nation’s best atmospheres and for the Cardinals and their fans, excitement is always buzzing come basketball season.