Being the home team always has, and likely always will, serve as a major advantage in any college basketball game.Teams tend to perform at a higher level in the comfort of their own home, and the reasons behind that can vary. Regardless, the numbers don’t lie. Among active venues, the five places listed below have historically been the toughest for road teams to come in and steal a win.
*Note: numbers taken from RPIratings.com; minimum 150 games required
Kohl Center (256-39, .868)
For years, going into the house that Bo Ryan built in Madison and emerging victorious was almost unheard of. The Badgers are just 10-5 at home this season, and for most teams, that would be acceptable. But most teams aren't Wisconsin.
The Badgers play smothering defense to begin with, and opposing shooters are forced to gaze into a perfectly unified sea of white or red upon entering the Kohl Center. Going into 2015-16, Wisconsin had the third-highest home winning percentage of any Division I school. That mark has slipped, but make no mistake: winning in Madison is still no easy task.
Allen Fieldhouse (738-109, .871)
Bill Self has taken Kansas’ home-court advantage to new heights, as he has yet to lose double-digit games at Allen Fieldhouse despite serving as the Jayhawks’ coach since 2003.
Kansas is undefeated at Allen Fieldhouse once again this season, and it’s tough to argue that there is a current place more difficult to win a road game in than Allen Fieldhouse. Jayhawk fans fill the stands on a constant basis and are some of the loudest, most passionate supporters in college basketball. When rocking, there is simply no scene like a Kansas home game.
Allen Fieldhouse has been open since 1955, and it’s easily the oldest venue on this list. Based on Kansas’ recent home success, it’s fair to say Allen has aged like fine wine.
Cintas Center (213-31, .873)
The Cintas Center opened in 2000 and in that (relatively) short period of time, Xavier has played in two conferences and under four coaches. There has been one common denominator: The Musketeers have been remarkable at home.
Skip Prosser, Thad Matta, Sean Miller and Chris Mack all have called the Cintas Center home for at least one season, and between Xavier and Cincinnati, college basketball has shown the ability to thrive in The Queen City. Xavier has asserted its usual home dominance this season, as Mack’s squad has gone 12-1 in its own arena.
Rupp Arena (538-63, .895)
It’s hard to find a more dedicated college basketball fan than a Kentucky fan, and between the team’s extraordinary talent and the fans’ obsession with winning, Rupp Arena is an extremely difficult place for opposing teams to play.
Kentucky has had dozens of great teams over the years, but John Calipari’s success at Rupp is just absurd. UK is 116-4 in Lexington under Calipari and is in the midst of a 33-game home winning streak.
Even in a down year by Calipari’s standards, the Wildcats have still proven to be unbeatable in Rupp Arena.
McCarthey Athletic Center (163-13, .926)
McCarthey Athletic Center, more commonly known as ‘The Kennel,’ opened in 2004. Going into this season, Gonzaga had lost just 10 games there, which is almost Bill Self at Kansas-esque. The Bulldogs have been strangely ordinary this season in Spokane, already losing three home games. But the fact that three losses account for almost a quarter of Gonzaga’s all-time defeats at The Kennel is an amazing accomplishment.
McCarthey only seats 6,000 people, but it makes every last fan count. Bulldog fans are loud and proud of Mark Few’s squad, and the players feed off of their home crowd’s energy as well as any team in the country.