Rabid student sections, steep and seemingly endless rows of seats, and deafening noise. These things are synonymous with a college basketball crowd that is so intense that it can literally change the outcome of the game. We’ve seen the Cameron Crazies, Pitt’s Oakland Zoo, and the Izzone. But, in my mind, I feel the arena atmospheres of the Big 12 schools are heavily underrated. Today, I’ll rank the five toughest Big 12 venues to visit, in descending order.
Kansas's Student Section, Only 9 Hours Before Tip-Off.
5. Iowa State: Hilton Magic, baby. While Hilton Coliseum’s crowd has not been as electric as it was in the past, Fred Hoiberg and Co. are slowly bringing back the magic. The students sit right on top of the court and create an atmosphere that is unique and worth seeing for any college basketball fan. In recent seasons, the students have once again begun to pack the arena.
4. Texas A&M: Known for the fondness of Aggie traditions and priding themselves on school spirit, the Aggie students support their teams until the end. They also have the fastest rushing of the court I’ve ever seen.
Ed. note: if you have some nominees that we missed, send them to us at email@example.com or leave it in the comments and we’ll try to get a photo up…
While we were sitting around watching a closer-than-it-should-have-been game between Memphis and Central Florida a couple of weekends ago, it occurred to us that we were spending more time staring at the appallingly hideous UCF Knight plastered onto the middle of the floor. And when the tv cameras took us to one end of the court, away from the menacing black knight ready to swallow up half of the players, my eyes were forced to contrast their two-tone floor where everything within the three point line was one color (light beige) and everything outside of it, another (beige). It was horrible. But our visual disaster is your gain, as it gave us an idea for a neat post comparing the ugliest home floors in America.
Central Florida – UCF Arena
The first thing we did was contact our loyal RTC correspondents, because who else will know about some abominable court hidden away in the BigMountainSouthUSA whatever Conference than our guys. Here are some of their entries:
Eastern Michigan – Convocation Center
It’s never a good thing when you start painting giant basketballs on the court and coloring in the three-point areas. Never. A. Good. Thing.
Moving to the Big 12, which has not one, but two nominees…
Texas A&M – Reed Arena
We’re uncertain what bugs us about this particular floor, other than the bizarre checkerboard parquet and the enormous outline of the state of Texas in the middle of it. Yeah, Texas is a big state, but come on… And the T-star situation isn’t helping – what is that thing?? We thought the A&M logo always had the letters “A” and “M” in it.
Baylor – Ferrell Center
This one isn’t all that bad except for one minor major annoyance – unless you’re sitting in the first five rows, who thought it was a good idea to paint the new 3-point line in yellow on a hardwood-colored floor? Especially when watching Baylor on tv, it’s nearly impossible to track what is a three and what isn’t a three because of that fact (sorry, we haven’t moved to HD in the RTC West Coast Compound yet).
Georgia Tech – Alexander Memorial Coliseum
This place has always bothered us – something about the deli mustard borders and the gigantic bee in the middle of the floor. Why not go with the black/gold setup like Vandy or Wake instead?
Colorado State – Moby Arena
Oh, Lord, no… this just can’t be allowed to continue. The photo isn’t great but you can clearly make out the outline of a ram’s horns all over this court.
Boise State – Taco Bell Arena
But the school that takes the cake, not once, but twice, has to be our blue-turfed friends in Boise. Both incarnations of their home floor in recent years (the top is their current one) have been downright offensive (the horse heads are bad enough, but we esp. hate the half-basketballs in the corners).
Princeton – Jadwin Gymnasium
Honorable mention goes to Princeton, not so much for its floor (which is solid) but for its multipurpose arena known as Jadwin Gymnasium. The space-age Epcot-style lighting and airport-hangar background there really scares us. For Chrissakes, they have temporary restraining walls on the sidelines so the ball doesn’t roll into the indoor track/field area. What a disaster.