March Madness 2011: Ranking the Fanbases of the 16 Teams Left in the Tourney
Even though all of the NCAA tournament games are played on neutral courts, as they should be, it is still interesting to think of the rabid fanbases that support the teams in the tournament, especially the 16 still left standing.
Among the schools with a chance to win this year's national championship are some of the country's most loyal basketball fanbases: Duke, Kentucky, Marquette and Butler, to name several.
As the tournament continues, it will be intriguing to see which fanbases are most loyal and willing to make the long trek to see their teams compete for a spot in the Final Four.
No. 16: Richmond
Home Arena: The Robins Center
The Richmond Spiders, the lowest-seeded team remaining in the tournament, are the only school in NCAA tournament history to win a game as a No. 12, No. 13, No. 14 and No. 15 seed.
In the past two seasons, as the Spiders have gotten significantly better, their home court has been instrumental in their success. They are a combined 26-4 at home during the last two years, as they've qualified for the NCAA tourney both times.
No. 15: San Diego State
Home Arena: Viejas Arena
In the past three seasons, San Diego State has gone 84-21 and advanced to the NCAA tournament twice and the NIT semifinals once. Home court has been very helpful in their success, as they've gone 44-3 during this time, losing just one game at home in each season.
No. 14: Virginia Commonwealth
Home Arena: Stuart C. Siegel Center
Playing in the Colonial Athletic Association may not sound like much of a daunting task. But facing the likes of George Mason and Old Dominion requires a solid home-court advantage if a team wants to compete in the CAA. Over the past five seasons, the Rams have been tough to beat at home, going 66-9.
No. 13: Florida State
Home Arena: Donald L. Tucker Center
After Charlie Ward and Sam Cassell led the team to the Elite Eight in 1993, the Seminoles qualified for the NCAA tournament just once from 1993-94 thru 2007-08. Since then, however, Florida State has made it to the NCAA tournament in each of the past three seasons. Much of their revival is due to their stellar play at home during this period, where they've gone 25-6.
No. 12: Brigham Young
Home Arena: Marriott Center
Since head coach Dave Rose took over before the 2005-06 season, the Cougars have been tough to beat at home. The team has performed brilliantly at the Marriott Center over the last four seasons, going a remarkable 57-4.
No. 11: Butler
Home Arena: Hinkle Fieldhouse
It's where parts of the movie Hoosiers were filmed, and it is currently the home to one of today's best college basketball programs—the Butler Bulldogs (Yes, I said one of today's best).
Hinkle Fieldhouse is not a particularly big stadium, but the passionate Indiana basketball fans who inhabit the arena help to create a distinct advantage for the Bulldogs. The team has dominated the Horizon League, going 62-8 in the last four seasons, all while qualifying for the NCAA tournament in each those seasons.
No. 10: Connecticut
Home Arena: Harry A. Gampel Pavilion; XL Center
Capacity: 10,167; 16,294
The Huskies split their home games between two arenas, the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion in Storrs and the XL Center in Hartford.
Regardless of where they play, the Huskies are a tough team to beat in their building(s). Since the 1998-99 season, UConn has made it to three Final Fours and won two national championships.
No. 9: Arizona
Home Arena: McKale Center
One of the most successful college basketball programs over the past 25 years, fans at the McKale Center have seen the Wildcats qualify for the NCAA tournament in all but one season since 1984-85. During their incredible run, the Wildcats, under the guidance of former head coach Lute Olson, made it to four Final Fours and won a national championship in 1997.
No. 8: Ohio State
Home Arena: Value City Arena at the Schottenstein Center
From having watched Ohio State football over the years, we know how passionate Buckeye fans are. And, while the same passion is not quite there for the basketball team, the student section is rabid at Value City Arena. The Buckeyes have been tough to beat at home in recent years, having lost just one game there in the past two seasons.
No. 7: Marquette
Home Arena: Bradley Center
The Marquette Golden Eagles have a very loyal, energetic fanbase, and because they play in the Big East, they most certainly need it. They've won important games at the Bradley Center in recent years, helping them to become a tournament team for each of the past six seasons.
No. 6: Florida
Home Arena: Stephen C. O'Connell Center
The Florida Gators men's basketball team is known for having a very passionate student section, referred to as the Rowdy Reptiles.
In 2006 and '07, these fans oversaw back-to-back national championship teams that were competing in the O'Dome, as the stadium is known.
ESPN The Magazine dubbed the O'Connell Center the "House of Horrors" in 1999.
No. 5: Wisconsin
Home Arena: Kohl Center
The student section at the Kohl Center, known as the Grateful Red, has helped to create an incredible home-court advantage for the Wisconsin Badgers over the past decade.
Since head coach Bo Ryan took over in 2001, the Badgers have gone 152-11 at the Kohl Center, which included a dramatic comeback victory over No. 1 Ohio State on March 6.
No. 4: North Carolina
Home Arena: Dean Smith Center
One of the toughest places to play in college basketball, the Dean Smith Center is home to one of the greatest basketball programs in the nation.
Overall, the Tar Heels are 297-56 at the Smith Center, including 15-0 this season, the fourth time they've gone undefeated at home for an entire season.
No. 3: Kansas
Home Arena: Allen Fieldhouse
Allen Fieldhouse, known as "The Phog," has seen the Jayhawks go 253-13 (.951) since February 20, 1994.
To put it bluntly, road teams have about a five-percent success rate when playing the Jayhawks in Allen Fieldhouse.
No. 2: Kentucky
Home Arena: Rupp Arena
The largest arena ever built for basketball in the United States, Rupp Arena is home to one of college basketball's most elite programs. The Kentucky Wildcats have been perennial national title contenders year in and year out, and the student section, known as the "eRUPPtion Zone," is home to some of the most rambunctious fans in the sport.
No. 1: Duke
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Home Arena: Cameron Indoor Stadium
The ideal setting for a college basketball game, Cameron Indoor Stadium has seen the Blue Devils dominate on their home floor for nearly the past three decades. In fact, from February 2, 1983 through December 2, 1995, the Blue Devils won 95 consecutive non-conference games at home.
The Blue Devils are currently in the midst of another winning streak, having won 86 consecutive non-conference games at home. It is currently the longest non-conference home winning streak in college basketball.
Sports Illustrated ranked Cameron No. 4 on its list of the top 20 sporting venues of the 20th century.