The Arena Pulse: No. 4-Rupp Arena (Kentucky)

Paul SeaverCorrespondent IOctober 17, 2009

LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY - DECEMBER 27:  Fans of the Kentucky Wildcats show their support for their team during the game against the Louisville Cardinals on December 27, 2003 at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. The Cardinals defeated the Wildcats 65-56. (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: Rupp Arena

School Name: University of Kentucky

Location: Lexington, Ky.

Capacity: 23,500

There never seems to be much of a problem filling up the University of Kentucky’s Rupp Arena. They have exceeded capacity on many occasions and with being recognized as one of college basketball’s most storied programs; there is no doubt Wildcat fans love their basketball.

The Kentucky Wildcats are the holder of the most victories in NCAA Division 1 basketball with 1,988. Although, North Carolina has slowly closed in and now sits at 1,984, only four victories behind Kentucky, the record still belongs to the Wildcats and their fans can only look forward to more victories.

Named after coaching legend, Adolph Rupp, Rupp Arena has been the home to the Wildcats since 1976. At the time, it was the largest arena in the country built specifically for basketball. It has a capacity of 23,500 people; however, it has gone well over 24,000 on many occasions since its opening.

In recent years, the Wildcats have added all blue seats to the lower part of the arena. Also in the lower part is where you can find the Kentucky student section. Known as the “eRUPPtion Zone” the Wildcats student section is known as one of the more intimidating in the country.

With Kentucky native and UK alum Ashley Judd among the fans for many of Kentucky’s home games, the amount of passion in the arena gives the Wildcats one of the best home court advantages in the nation.

Not that Kentucky fans need much more to get fired up about, but this past off-season has been looked at as quite a large success for Big Blue Nation.

With the hiring of head coach John Calipari and the domino effect of the recruits that landed along with him, the expectations at Kentucky grow more each day as the season approaches.

Kentucky will play non-conference games against mid-major Cleveland State and Big East power Connecticut on neutral courts this season.

However, Wildcat fans will be prepared to welcome North Carolina and Louisville to Rupp Arena before SEC play begins.

Annual conference match-ups against rivals Florida and Tennessee are on the home schedule for the Cats, among others, including a visit from an improving Ole Miss team who knocked off Kentucky just a season ago.

With one of the nation’s more dedicated fan bases, Rupp Arena provides one of the more intimidating venues and a tough stop for any team to make.

With all-time NCAA records and national banners that hang over the home court of Big Blue Nation, the Wildcats welcome in some of the biggest crowds each year.

It is safe to say Rupp Arena will be packed yet again, as another season approaches. And, with the expectations rising in Lexington, a young and talented team will be asked to perform right away.

Although, Kentucky offers some of the more passionate fans in the country, they will be quick to show however, that winning is expected. Just ask Billy Gillispie.

Calipari enters his first year with one of the best recruiting classes in recent years and aided by the return of All-American candidate Patrick Patterson, Big Blue Nation is ready to help put Kentucky basketball back into National Championship contention.


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