10 Toughest Places to Play in College Hoops

Kevin TrahanAnalyst IJuly 11, 2011

10 Toughest Places to Play in College Hoops

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    One of the most unique things about college basketball is home-court advantage and the help that fans can give to their teams.

    Since basketball arenas are indoors, they are arguably the loudest stadiums in sports, and the passionate fans inside of them make them even more intimidating.

    Check out the top 10 toughest places to play in college basketball.

No. 10: Peterson Events Center, Pittsburgh

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    The Peterson Events Center is a fairly new stadium, but it is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the toughest in college basketball.

    Pittsburgh fans have helped make the state-of-the-art arena extremely loud, and the Oakland Zoo, which sits across from both benches, makes the stadium intimidating for any opponent.

    Pitt’s recent basketball success has added to the intimidation factor of playing in the arena.

No. 9: Breslin Center, Michigan State

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    Even when Michigan State struggles—as it did last season—it is still very strong at home, thanks to a hostile environment in the Breslin Center.

    Basketball is king at MSU, and the fans are very loud. The student section, especially, has a reputation as one of the best in college sports.

No. 8: Mackey Arena, Purdue

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    Mackey Arena is fairly small compared to many of the arenas on this list, but because of its small size and low roof, it is one of the loudest in the country.

    Purdue basketball has been on the uptick in recent years, making the Boilermaker fans even harsher.

No. 7: Rupp Arena, Kentucky

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    One of the most historic arenas in college basketball, Rupp Arena is home to the Kentucky Wildcats.

    Kentucky has a strong basketball tradition, and the arena is named after one of the top coaches in program history.

    The arena is the loudest in the SEC and routinely oversells its capacity.

No. 6: Smith Center, North Carolina

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    While it isn’t considered as intimidating as its crosstown counterpart, Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Smith Center still provides for one of the top environments in college basketball.

    While it is sometimes considered tame compared to Duke, the North Carolina crowd has a growing reputation as one of the toughest in college basketball. 

    And it’s hard to argue with the results, as the Tar Heels are 285-52 all time at the Smith Center.

No. 5: The Pavilion, Villanova

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    The Pavilion, Villanova’s alternate location, may be the most unique stadium in college basketball.

    It’s very small, seating only 6,500 fans, but creates an extremely hostile environment. Since it’s so small, it is extremely loud and the fans sit extremely close to the floor.

    The student section is especially hostile and makes up nearly one-third of the stadium.

No. 4: Kohl Center, Wisconsin

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    This is a surprise for many college basketball fans, as the Badgers are known more for their crazy football fans than basketball fans. 

    However, while the crowd noise isn’t especially intimidating, the student section is outstanding and one of the best in college sports when the Badgers are playing a top opponent.

    That has helped Wisconsin compile a record of 155-12 at the Kohl Center.

No. 3: Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas

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    Nearly everything about Allen Fieldhouse is intimidating. Like every top college basketball arena, it’s loud, and it’s also decent sized. 

    But the most intimidating thing about Allen Fieldhouse is Kansas’ record. During current coach Bill Self’s tenure, the Jayhawks are 129-7 at home, a ridiculous .948 winning percentage.

    It’s nearly impossible to win in Lawrence, and Big 12 opponents have found out the hard way, as none of them have winning records against the Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse.

No. 2: Carrier Dome, Syracuse

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    The Carrier Dome doubles as a football and basketball stadium, which helps it hold massive crowds. In fact, it holds college basketball’s attendance record of 34,616 in Syracuse’s victory over Villanova in February 2010.

    Despite its size—much of that space is empty during the basketball setup—the Carrier Dome is still very loud and one of the toughest venues in the country.

No. 1: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke

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    Home of the Cameron Crazies, Cameron Indoor Stadium is the most intimidating venue in college basketball. Not only does it help that Duke is typically among the top teams in the country, but the fans are extremely loud.

    Although the stadium seats just over 9,000 fans, it is one of the loudest venues in the country. The fans dress up in all blue, and many students camp out overnight in Krzyzewskiville for tickets.