Home court advantage can be a big thing in College Basketball, as a lot of the times it can determine who wins a game. While a lot of this ranking has to do with winning and losing, other parts such as the history of the arena are taken into account in this ranking, which is why you might see some home courts higher than you might think. Here are my Top-10 Home Courts in College Basketball in my opinion.
1.Allen Fieldhouse – Kansas
There really is no debate for the number one ranking on this list, as Allen Fieldhouse runs away with the number one ranking on this list. First off the sport of basketball was created by James Naismith, who has roots dating back to Kansas and who has his name on the Jayhawks court. The home court is also incredible too, as the Jayhawks have lost 13 times in Bill Self’s 15 years at Kansas, which is simply ridiculous. Add that to the fact that that the home crowd is arguably the best in College Basketball, owning the world record for the loudest home court in the sport. All these things I’ve listed above make Allen Fieldhouse the runaway favorite for the best home court in College Basketball.
2.Cameron Indoor Stadium – Duke
The building is small but everything else about Cameron Indoor Stadium is great, which is why they come in at number two on this list. The arena seats about 9,000 people, which is by far the smallest of any of the blue blood programs home courts, however, it is just as loud as any other place in the sport. The fans are referred to as the “Cameron Crazies” which is accurate as during the game they are crazy. The fans notably paint their bodies blue for each game and also are some of the most intimidating in the sport. Best of yet fans are perched right up next to the floor making them feel louder than you otherwise might think. These all help make Duke one of the top home-court advantages in the sport and help to make Duke one of the best programs in the sport.
3.Rupp Arena – Kentucky
Rupp Arena is the largest arena in the sport, holding 23,500 people. This is key as fans all across the state can come up to see the Wildcats play a basketball game. The arena gets pretty loud, as it at one point was able to break the record for the loudest arena in College Basketball, before being broken again by Kansas. The Wildcats hold the record for best total win percentage at home since 1976, the year Rupp Arena first held a home game. Kentucky has one of the biggest fan bases in the country, making it fitting that the arena is the biggest and also one of the loudest in the sport. All these reasons help make Rupp Arena one of the top home courts in the sport.
4.Hinkle Fieldhouse – Butler
While Butler isn’t necessarily a powerhouse program, Hinkle Fieldhouse presents some great history and still is one of the best home courts in the sport. The building was built in 1928 and was at the time the biggest basketball arena in the United States. It has evolved throughout time, losing some seats but keeping the tradition. Most know the building from the movie “Hoosiers” which displayed the championship game of the Indiana State tournament, where Milan High School won the state title. The building has seen many great games over the years and still to this day is one of the best home-court advantages in the sport.
5.The Pit – New Mexico
The Pit is one of the weirdest arenas in the sport, as the court sits 37 feet below ground level, forming at Pit (hints the label as the Pit). The arena has seen many great games over the years including the 1983 National Championship, which saw NC State upset the “dream team” Houston Cougars. The arena gets loud and the fans go crazy making it the toughest place for any Mountain West team to play. The history of this arena, mixed with the great home atmosphere is what makes this place a top-5 home court in the sport.
6.The Carrier Dome – Syracuse
The Orange have one of the most unique home court advantages in the sport as they play in the biggest arena in College Basketball. The Carrier Dome can hold over 35,000 people, which is in part due to the fact the building is used for both football and basketball. While this often times create some low percentage attendance games when the Orange are playing a bad team, this is a huge advantage when playing teams like Duke, where having 35,000 fans on your side can lift you to a win. The Dome is very unique in ways and can get loud, making it deserving of a spot on this list.
7.Assembly Hall – Indiana
Indiana and basketball are two things that go together very well and the fans dedication to the sport is what helps make this arena so good. The architecture of the building makes it unique as only a few seats are covered by the basket and most of the people sit along the sideline. Both sides of the building help show off the Hoosiers basketball, showing the National Championship banners. The building can get very loud as well and it has a buzz about it, which makes it unique as well. If Indiana is rolling this building can quickly turn into a nightmare for any team playing the Hoosiers and the building is also always sold out for big games. The heritage, the unique architecture and the home court advantage all make this one of the best buildings in the sport.
8.McCarthey Athletic Center – Gonzaga
While the McCarthey Athletic Center only holds 6,000 people it has turned into one of the best arenas in the sport of College Basketball. The building is nothing special, about what you would expect from a school like Gonzaga, however, inside the fanbase is rabid. The Kennel Club is widely recognized for being a top student section and the building is always sold out. In Gonzaga’s time at the McCarthey Athletic Center, which began in 2004, the Bulldogs have lost only 14 times. The fanbase and homecourt record both make this a top home court in the sport and are some of the reasons that Gonzaga is one of the best programs in the sport.
9.Grand Canyon University Arena – Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon did not become a division 1 school until the 2013-14 season but since then it has become one of the best home courts in the sport. The building hosts 7,000 and is very nice, however, the atmosphere on the inside is what sets Grand Canyon apart from any other. The fans go crazy before every game, making it one of the loudest and toughest places to play. Rick Pitino said in a postgame press conference after playing Grand Canyon that the crowd is tougher than some of the other blue blood schools and that is totally believable. The fan support makes this home court so special and is the main reason they find themselves on this list.
10.The Dean Smith Center – North Carolina
There are mixed reviews about the Dean Smith Center but when the building is at its best, it can compare to any other College Basketball arena. The arena opened in 1986 in honor of longtime basketball coach Dean Smith and since has seen a record of 282-56. The building is one of the biggest in the sport, holding over 21,700 people, which makes it a tough place to play. The building is almost always sold out as well, which speaks to the level of dedication, fans have to North Carolina. The one knock is that the building sometimes isn’t that loud, which is the main criticism. Still any primetime game or game against Duke would likely change that narrative quickly, as the building can get loud. Overall the history and ability to host big games help lead the Dean Smith Center to a spot on this list.
Honorable Mentions: Hilton Coliseum (Iowa State), Smith Spectrum (Utah State), Gallagher Iba Arena (Oklahoma State)