The Most Entertaining Pep Bands in College Basketball
There is something electric about the environment of a college basketball game.
Long before the opening tip-off, the home team’s pep band begins to fill the building with energy and excitement in anticipation for the on-court action to come.
Here are the 10 most entertaining pep bands in college basketball.
Schools of all sizes from all over the nation are represented here.
Make sure to check out the videos on each slide.
Here we go!
10. Kentucky's Pep Band
Kentucky’s home basketball games are exhilarating events.
The 24,000 rabid fans that show up every time the Wildcats play are treated to some of the best hoops action in the nation.
The UK Pep Band plays a legitimate role in making the eRUPPtion Zone one of the rowdiest student sections in college basketball.
9. UCLA's Varsity Band
UCLA basketball games at the newly renovated Pauley Pavilion are a hoops junkie’s treat.
Not only do you take in some of the best hoops action on the west coast, but you also come into contact with the UCLA Varsity Band.
More than just a bunch of good musicians, the band injects fun and exuberance into the on-court action.
8. Michigan's Pep Band
There’s no need to pipe any music into the Crisler Center when the Michigan Wolverines play.
Their rockin’ pep band gets the fans and team ready for intense, Big Ten hoops action.
I was able to experience this group first hand at the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas this past March...Excellent!
7. UConn's Pep Band
Over the years, UConn has had wildly successful men’s and women’s basketball programs.
The Husky’s Pep Band knows how to bring energy, passion and life to the Gampel Pavilion.
When I was watching Connecticut beat Butler for the 2011 National Championship, I remember wishing that they would show more of the pep bands.
They would have to be a better show than the title game.
6. Syracuse's Sour Sitrus Society
Syracuse’s Sour Sitrus Society is one of the most imaginative names for a college basketball pep band.
The Orange’s ensemble should also rank high on anyone’s list of groups that absolutely contribute to their team’s overall game experience.
Even before Boeheim’s bunch takes the court, the Sitrus’ musical attack fills the Carrier Dome with energy and excitement.
5. Memphis's Mighty Sound of the South
The Memphis Tigers get it done on the court, and “The Mighty Sound of the South” brings the fun as the team’s uproarious pep band.
They are musically excellent, but the MSS are just as focused on dispelling any level of dullness or dryness at the FedExForum.
If you like people who don’t take themselves too seriously, you probably would like this group.
4. Indiana's Big Red Basketball Band
Part of the tradition and pageantry of Indiana Hoosiers’ basketball is the 100-member Big Red Basketball Band.
According to the overture’s Wikipedia page:
During the third time-out of every second half at Indiana University basketball games, the Indiana pep band and cheerleading squad performs the overture with cheerleaders racing around the court carrying eighteen flags. Indiana public address announcer Chuck Crabb said the tradition began in about 1979 or 1980.
3. Stanford's Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band
The Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band (LSJUMB) might be one of the most unique musical groups in collegiate athletics.
The portion of the band that plays at the Cardinal basketball games brings the same unconventional approach that they bring to their football performances.
Rather than uniformity and order, LSJUMB performs with a sense of individuality and chaos.
On the band’s web page, Stanford’s assistant athletic director, Bob Carruesco jokingly said:
They’re like rock stars. No, don’t put that in. I don’t want them to read that.
2. VCU Peppas
Going to a VCU home game must be one of the most action-packed events in Richmond.
You have Shaka Smart’s high-energy squad putting full-court pressure on their opponents.
And, you also have the VCU Peppas, who may be one of the most well-known pep bands in the country.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Tim Pearrall noted that the Peppas, "Rolled into Rockefeller Plaza on a double-decker bus wrapped with 'Havoc Lives Here!' and got some air time on The Today Show early this morning."
Not too many schools would spring for something like this for their pep band.
Even the Peppas leader, Ryan Kopacsi, is a show all by himself.
1. George Mason's Green Machine
I love Doc Nix and The Green Machine, George Mason’s full-throttle pep band.
When GMU made their miracle 2006 March Madness run, the Green Machine won the NCAA Final Four Battle of the Bands.
Just like VCU's Ryan Kopacsi, the Green Machine's pep band leader, Dr. Michael Nickens, really gets into it.
The Green Machine incorporates more than just the standard pep band instruments. The Washington Post's Holly Hobbs quotes Nickens saying that they have utilized "singers, rappers, scratch DJs...electric violins and viola."
If you haven’t watched this slide's video already, take the time to do so...and enjoy.