We Have To Go There?! The 10 Toughest Places To Play In College Hoops
The raucous crowds. The unbearable taunts. The mystique worthy of Vin Diesel's shiny head.
Simply put, you wish you were facing this foe on your own court. Because playing at their place is about 1000 times more nerve-racking than asking your crush to the homecoming dance.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 places where players are most likely to fake an injury due to the sheer terror that awaits them on the court.
No. 10: The Kohl Center
Maximum Capacity: 17,230
Home of the Wisconsin Badgers, the Kohl Center has emerged as somewhat of a Big 10 bermuda triangle. Simply put, most teams don't make it out of Bo Ryan's lair alive. Figuratively, of course.
Since the arena's inception in 1998, the Badgers boast an astounding home record of 169-17, averaging just under 1.5 home losses per year.
The Kohl Center played host to a rather impressive 38 game winning streak in the early 2000's, which came to an end in 2004 at the hands of the Illinois Fighting Illini, who were ranked number one in the nation at the time.
A student cheering section known as the "Grateful Red" helps to create a frenzied environment game in and game out, and have been essential to the Badgers' formula for success over the past decade.
No. 9: Memorial Gymnasium
Maximum Capacity: 14,168
Vanderbilt's home court makes the list due to its distinctive design. The gym floor is slightly elevated, giving off the impression that the players are playing on a stage. The stands are thus "sunken in," giving front row viewers an extremely unique view of the court.
The benches are located on each end of the court, a setup that was rather common at the time of the construction of the arena in 1952. Today however, Vanderbilt is the only major college basketball school to feature such a configuration. Coaches are thus forced to call the shots from the baseline, which, as demonstrated by an overly sweaty Bruce Pearl, can often prove to be rather frustrating.
The distinctive design of Memorial Gymnasium gives the Commodores a unique home court advantage. The fans, who seem to embrace the strangeness of the arena, only create a bigger headache for the opposition.
No. 8: The Breslin Center
Maximum Capacity: 15,085
A road win at the Breslin Center is just about as uncommon as a home win for the Detroit Lions. The rareness of the event is cause for celebration.
Whether Coach Izzo's devoted student section is decked out in green or white, the "Izzone" is sure to cause problems for opposing teams. According to a 2006 Sports Illustrated study, the Izzone is the third most raucous cheering section in the country.
The Breslin Center has been MSU's home court since 1989. Its current floor, purchased from the NCAA and Horner Flooring, was the same floor used during the 2000 Final Four at the RCA Dome, where Michigan State won its second National Championship. A commemorative plaque was installed along the home tunnel baseline to symbolize the floor's significance in MSU history.
Between 1998-2002, the Breslin Center played host to a rather remarkable 53 game home winning streak.
No. 7: Peterson Events Center
Maximum Capacity: 12,508
Home to the Pittsburgh Panthers, the "Pete" has been consistently ranked as one of the nation's premier home venues. In an anonymous player poll conducted by Sports Illustrated (2006), the Pete was ranked the toughest place to play in the Big East Conference.
The Oakland Zoo, which has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal (2009), has been nationally recognized as one of the most dedicated student sections in the land. The Zoo is recognized as an official campus group, and at over 2,000 members, is the school's largest organization.
The Pete has been home to the Panthers since 2002. During that time, the Panthers boast an exceptional 132-11 home record. Even more impressively, the Panthers are 7-0 against top five teams.
From 2008-2010, Pitt compiled a 31 game home winning streak.
No. 6: Comcast Center
Maximum Capacity: 17,950
The Comcast Center doesn't care about history. It doesn't care about prestige, how many Final Fours you have gone to, or how many All-Americans are on your squad. When you enter the Comcast Center, you are entering a war-zone.
The Comcast Center is home to some of the most ruthless and unforgiving fans in the country. The student section is based upon a loyalty points system, which ensures that the most passionate fans always gain seating.
The students of the "Terp Mountain" are known for their less than affectionate chants to opposing players, who often seem to crumble under the relentless jeers. The most notable case of this phenomenon came at the expense of hated Duke player JJ Redick, when fans created phrases that will not be repeated on this slideshow.
No. 5: The Carrier Dome
Maximum Capacity: 33,000
Sheer bigness is what makes the Carrier Dome a truly special college basketball arena.
The sea of Orange is endless at Syracuse's home floor, which is the nation's largest on-campus basketball arena. Thus, the Carrier Dome has been the subject of numerous attendance records. This past February, Coach Boeheim's mansion broke the record for the largest on-campus attendance for a basketball game (34,616), as the Orange routed the Villanova Wildcats, 95-77. This is not the first time the arena has exceeded its supposed maximum capacity.
Playing in the Carrier Dome is kind of like sitting front row at a Metallica concert. Hearing the person next to you just isn't going to happen.
The Carrier Dome opened in 1980, and has helped Coach Boeheim lead his team to seven Big East Championships in a 24-year period.
No. 4: Gallagher-Iba Arena
Maximum Capacity: 13,611
Dubbed the "Madison Square Garden of the Plains," Oklahoma State's floor boasts perhaps one of the most underrated home court advantages in the nation. In 2001, CBS Sportsline.com named the Cowboy's the arena the best college gymnasium in the country.
A marketing campaign proclaimed Eddie Sutton Court "the rowdiest arena in the country," and its fans have certainly helped it live up to its name. By simply watching an Oklahoma State game on television, it is easy to discern that the atmosphere at Gallagher-Iba arena is one of absolute pandemonium, with a fierceness worthy of Russell Crowe's character in Gladiator.
Even when the Sooners aren't in town, it is always Bedlam at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
No. 3: Rupp Arena
Maximum Capacity: 23,500
Excluding John Wall's awful dance, playing at Rupp Arena is far from a laugh.
Since its inception in 1976, Rupp has led the NCAA in attendance 22 times, including 14 out of the last 15 seasons. Nicknamed the "Cathedral of Basketball," it is the largest arena in the United States built specifically for hoops.
The Wildcats are 445-60 at Adolph Rupp's holy palace. Considering Kentucky's recent renaissance, the Wildcat's .881 winning percentage should remain among the nation's best.
No. 1.5: Allen Fieldhouse
Maximum Capacity: 16,300
Allen Fieldhouse doesn't deserve to be No. 2, so I bent the rules a little bit....Too bad Callipari isn't coaching the Jayhawks
Since February 20th, 1994, Kansas has only lost 12 games at home, averaging less than one loss over the past 16 years. They currently hold the nations longest home winning streak, undefeated in their past 59 games.
Home to the Kansas Jayhawks, Allen Fieldhouse is loaded with ritual. Every game, the festivities kick off with a resounding chorus of the alma mater, Crimson and Blue, followed by a raucous "Rock Chalk Jayhawk" chant. When the opposing team is introduced, members of the student section traditionally take out a copy of the campus newspaper, the University Daily Kansan, and pretend to read it in attempt to demean the opposition.
When the Jayhawks are introduced, students rip up the papers, throwing them in the air to produce a confetti-like effect all across the stadium.
At Kansas, every home game is truly a celebration.
No. 1: Cameron Indoor Stadium
Maximum Capacity: 9,314
Home to the famous "Cameron Crazies," Duke's home turf is nationally known as the scariest of courts. What Cameron lacks in capacity is certainly made up in noise, as the volume in the arena has been recorded as high as 116 decibels. Ouch.
Duke's overall record at Cameron Indoor is 737-150.
The Cameron Crazies are simply that—crazy. During basketball season, Duke students routinely brave the freezing temperatures to camp out in tents outside the arena. During basketball season, the area turns into a makeshift village, and is affectionately known as "Krzyzewskviile." In 2009, one dedicated Cameron Crazy actually developed meningitis from camping out too long for a game against hated rivals UNC.
During the game, sitting down is not an option. The Crazies are famous for jumping up and down for the entire game, hollering chants of "Let's Go Duke."
Facepaint, bodypaint, and loss of voice is not only commonplace at Cameron indoor; it is expected.