If you ask Kentucky Wildcat fans what place is the best venue for college fans, they will undoubtedly answer “Rupp Arena”. Almost defiantly. But whenever college writers assemble their list as top venues, Rupp Arena often is lowly ranked or gets left out. You can’t argue that it is a great historical venue as four national title teams have called it home. Kentucky is also always the leader in college basketball attendance. It’s almost insulting that Rupp Arena is consistently left out of college basketball’s top venues.
Yet it is.
And the main factor would appear to be that the place is simply not loud enough.
ESPN has compiled a story on college arenas with personality which they are packaging as “My Home Court”. And it got me to thinking. Yes, Rupp Arena is nostalgic. Rupp Arena is big. Rupp Arena is at times very intimidating, but more often than not, Rupp Arena is solemn and church quiet. Consider that most of the venues on ESPN’s list do not have the history and size of Rupp, but they bring the noise. Here is an excerpt on a couple of the schools on ESPN’s list.
PHOG ALLEN FIELDHOUSE – KANSAS
I can’t prove I’ve lost any hearing at Phog Allen, but I’ve had that hollow feeling in my ears.
And the constant, mesmerizing and hypnotizing refrain of “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk” in my head.
Games at Kansas’ Allen Fieldhouse are an event, which make it the most anticipated and must-see destination in the sport.
The building hasn’t changed much since it was built. The cathedral-like noise cascades down from the top, whether it’s a day game or a night game.
The fans are as committed as any, flocking to Phog Allen like disciples on a religious pilgrimage. The arena is appropriately along Naismith Drive, for it should be deemed the birthplace of a true basketball arena.
Sure, Kentucky’s Rupp Arena has its lure, the masses always showing up, regardless of the opponent. Cameron Indoor Stadium has its own charm and traditions while also pushing the noise meter.
But there is only one Phog.