No matter where you go, there is a story to be told inside every college basketball arena. It could be one of a legendary team, superstar player, iconic chant, or even a crazy mascot. The best part is no one place is like another, but there are some that are truly better and tougher for opponents to play in.
People call it home court advantage for a reason, mainly because all 351 Division I schools have something unique about their college hoops home. It would be nearly impossible to find a single team with a better winning percentage away from it, too. However, there are a few that stand above the rest.
There is truly nothing better in sports than when a student section gets wild and here are the five toughest places to play in America based on their records at home since 2000:
Note: All records are from the beginning of the 2019-20 college basketball season, according to NCAA.com and last year’s home records.
5. Rupp Arena (Kentucky Wildcats)
Home Record Since 2000: 280-36 (.886)
Named after the legendary Adolph Rupp, the home of the Wildcats is a 23,500-seat arena of pure madness for Big Blue Nation. Head coach John Calipari stacks the roster with blue-chip talent every year, and the fans pack the house each game. There’s obviously a lot of tradition with the Kentucky name on the front of the jerseys, but several superstars have made this a ridiculously hard place to play for not just SEC teams, but any other squad that dares to face the Wildcats in a college basketball game in Lexington. Rupp Arena has even hosted NCAA Tournament games in recent years.
4. Breslin Student Events Center (Michigan State Spartans)
Home Record Since 2000: 275-33 (.893)
Although the “Izzone” — named after legendary head coach Tom Izzo — isn’t the loudest in the nation, the Breslin Center is definitely one of the hardest places to win, even if MSU has a so-called “down year” every once in a while. The 15,000-seat arena in East Lansing, Michigan is flooded with green and white faithful every game to cheer on MSU and the Spartans usually reward them with a win.
3. Cameron Indoor Stadium (Duke Blue Devils)
Home Record Since 2000: 284-22 (.928)
Unlike other traditional blue blood programs, Duke has rather small arena with 9,314 seats. However, the Cameron Crazies make it one of the loudest and most intimidating places to play in college basketball. From camping in Krzyzewskiville to screaming for head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s superstar teams to taunting the opponents, there’s never a dull moment at home games in Durham, North Carolina.
2. McCarthey Athletic Center (Gonzaga Bulldogs)
Home Record Since 2000: 264-20 (.929)
This place is small but very mighty. Sure, it doesn’t hurt this college basketball power hosts weaker West Coast Conference teams every season, but there is something to be said about taking care of business on your home floor. Head coach Mark Few and the Bulldogs are a tough out regardless the venue and it’s almost impossible to leave their 6,000-seat arena in Spokane, Washington with a victory.
1. Allen Fieldhouse (Kansas Jayhawks)
Home Record Since 2000: 293-15 (.951)
With Roy Williams and now Bill Self at the helm, the 16,900-seat arena in Lawrence, Kansas has been a staple in college basketball and a nightmare for opposing teams who plays there, especially in the Big 12. How good are the Jayhawks at home? Not only did the student section help break a world record of 130.4 dB, but Self has more league titles (14) than home losses (13) at KU. That’s insane.
Marriott Center (BYU Cougars)
Kohl Center (Wisconsin Badgers)
Cintas Center (Xavier Musketeers)
McKale Memorial Center (Arizona Wildcats)
Stanley J. Marshall Center (South Dakota State Jackrabbits)
Other Crazy College Basketball Arenas:
The Carrier Dome (Syracuse Orange)
Assembly Hall (Indiana Hoosiers)
Finneran Pavilion (Villanova Wildcats)
“The Pit” Dreamstyle Arena (New Mexico Lobos)
Hilton Coliseum (Iowa State Cyclones)
Dean E. Smith Center (North Carolina Tar Heels)
Bramlage Coliseum (Kansas State Wildcats)
Hinkle Fieldhouse (Butler Bulldogs)
Charles Koch Arena (Wichita State Shockers)
Xfinity Center (Maryland Terrapins)
Peterson Events Center (Pittsburgh Panthers)
Grand Canyon University Arena (Grand Canyon Antelopes)
This post was originally published on January 23, 2019 before updated.