America’s Top Five Party Schools: College Hoops Edition

Posted by BHayes on August 13th, 2013

Bennet Hayes is an RTC columnist. Be sure to tweet your disagreements with this column @HoopsTraveler.

You may have already caught it, but last week the Princeton Review released its annual list of the top 10 party schools in the country. This coronation of the most “festive” campuses across the country got us to thinking a little bit, and we wondered which schools best combine college basketball and partying. Unfortunately, it is only in a fantasy alternate reality that I have had the privilege of visiting the campuses of all 351 Division I basketball programs (now we all know how sad my dreams are), but with over 100 of them under my belt, including eight of the Princeton Review’s top 10 (Lehigh, really?), I feel at least somewhat qualified to create a list of the schools that best combine college basketball with extracurricular festivities. I’m only working off what I know here (i.e., the places I’ve personally been), and apologies if I went to the wrong frat party during my one night in town – we all swing and miss sometimes. So with those caveats in place, here are college basketball’s five best party schools – plus a few honorable mentions below those.

A Good Time Was Had By All

A Good Time Was Had By All

5. Missouri – Columbia, Missouri is one of the more underrated college towns in America. Not only the midpoint between Kansas City and St. Louis, the home to the Mizzou campus also lays claim to a lively downtown and massive student body as well as a pretty decent athletic program. The newest members of the SEC have made plenty of recent noise under Mike Anderson and now Frank Haith, and passers-through will not be disappointed by the post-game activities on and off East Broadway. Oh, and Shakespeare’s Pizza is an absolute must for food and libations before heading over to the game at Mizzou Arena.

4. Minnesota – Few college basketball arenas can match the eccentric personality of The Barn in Minneapolis, and it’s those little quirks that make Williams Arena the perfect spot to cozy up on a cold Minnesota night. The good but rarely great Gophers have been a bit of a tease over the last few years, but the program has a solid history, and win or lose, the streets outside the doors to the Barn have plenty of immediate options for eating and drinking. Finding a seat at Campus Pizza before or after a game will be a challenge, but well worth the effort if you can make it happen.

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Atmospheres and Cheers: Examining the Big 12′s Top Five Student Sections

Posted by cwilliams on January 18th, 2012

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.

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