When it comes to college basketball, there is no better and more comfortable a feeling than playing on your home court. When you look at it from the opposite perspective though, there is absolutely nothing tougher than having to travel to a conference rival or an out of conference foe and try your best to tone out the crowd and stick to your principles. Institutions across the nation make it their jobs to make the opposing team feel as uncomfortable as possible from the first foot they step on campus to the time they get back on the bus to go home; and that is what makes college basketball different from any other sport.
There is nothing better than traveling to one of the venues I am about to list, sitting back and taking in some of the most amazing different atmospheres in the realm of college basketball. What surprises me about doing a type of list like this, is the amount of people who are not aware of some of these different arenas and how important they really are to tradition and history of the sport. Some of these home courts are famous for their student sections, while others are more famous for their building structures and the history of success inside it. Without further ado, here is the list of the best college basketball home courts in the nation [in no particular order].
Team: Kansas Jayhawks
Nickname: The Phog
If you are going to show up to see a Kansas basketball game, be sure to be there plenty of time before tip-off to be a part of one of the best traditions in college basketball history.
Cameron Indoor Stadium
Team: Duke Blue Devils
Nickname: Coach K Court
There is no better 40 minutes of basketball in all of college than to attend a game at Cameron Indoor with the Cameron Crazies.
Team: Kentucky Wildcats
When the term "tradition" comes up in college basketball, no other school comes to mind other than the Kentucky Wildcats and the UCLA Bruins, but no arena and atmosphere is as lively as Rupp on a Saturday Night.
The Carrier Dome
Team: Syracuse Orange
Nickname: The Loud House
When the Dome is packed and the Orange Krush are rocking, Syracuse, New York turns into one of the top mecca's of college basketball.
Team: Penn Quakers / Philly 5
Nickname: The Cathedral of College Basketball
If you are to ever attend a college basketball in the Ivy League, I would strongly recommend a trip to The Palestra to see the Quakers.
Team: Oklahoma State Cowboys
Nickname: The Madison Square Garden of the Plaines
Behind the recent success of former head coach Eddie Sutton for sixteen years, the Oklahoma State Cowboys have been an institution in the Big 12 for years.
Team: New Mexico Lobos
Nickname: The Pit
There is no better atmosphere in the Mountain West than to see "The Pit" in action against a conference rival. The uniqueness and structure of the stadium make it an experience unlike any other.
Team: Butler Bulldogs
No state in the U.S. has as much history and love for the sport of college and high school basketball than Indiana. Every home game shows exactly why you do not have to look to any other place to see what true college basketball is like.
Team: Michigan State Spartans
When you have Tom Izzo on your sideline, every season has the potential to end in the Final Four and that is the current life of a Michigan State Spartan.
Team: Indiana Hoosiers
Nickname: Branch McCracken Court
With five National Championships under their belts, the Indiana Hoosiers and Assembly Hall are a tradition unlike any other when it comes to college basketball.
Team: Wisconsin Badgers
When you have coaches in the Big 10 like Tom Izzo, Bruce Weber, Bo Ryan and Tubby Smith, it tends to be the man on the sideline that gets a lot of the attention, but with the impressive home record by the Badgers in Ryan's tenure, it is the University of Wisconsin getting the national attention.
Team: Minnesota Golden Gophers
Nickname: The Barn
It is very hard to describe what it is like to watch a game at Williams Arena, but it can be explained as almost watching a movie at a theater because of the height of the raised court.
Team: Illinois Fighting Illini
The Big 10 has some of the best home courts in college basketball and Illinois is absolutely no different with the excellent job done by Bruce Weber and the former chief himself.
Hec Edmundson Pavilion
Team: Washington Huskies
Nickname: Hec Ed
In the recent years, plenty of west coast based schools [obviously plus UCLA] have built up very positive relationships and atmospheres in college basketball and the Huskies of Washington is no different.
Dee Glen Smith Spectrum
Team: Utah State Aggies
Nickname: Smith Spectrum
A newcomer to the group, Utah State [located in Logan, Utah] has emerged as one of the best new atmospheres to "win" a college basketball game in.
Dean Smith Center
Team: North Carolina Tarheels
Nickname: The Dean Dome
A trip to the Dean Smith Center is a no-brainer for any college basketball fan across the country, especially if you can be lucky enough the travel down Tobacco Road to see the best rivalry in UNC and Duke.
Peterson Events Center
Team: Pittsburgh Panthers
Nickname: The Pete
One of the most underrated coaches in the country, Jamie Dixon, has been the Panthers head coach for over seven years and with a little more tournament success could become a serious staple around college basketball.
Notable Mentions- Florida- Stephen C. O'Connell Center, Clemson- Littlejohn Coliseum, Maryland-Comcast Center, Vanderbilt- Memorial Gymnasium, Dayton- UD Arena, Arizona-McKale Memorial Center, Kansas State-Bramlage Coliseum, UCLA- Pauley Pavilion, Arkansas- Bud Walton Arena and Oregon- MacArthur Court