Tag Archive: Mackey Arena



It’s no secret that the Big Ten is one of the most brutal conferences to play in. Whether it be football or basketball there always seems to be that under dog that surprises everyone at home against the top ranked team in the conference.

 

In this post I’m going to lay out the toughest places to play in the Big Ten.  I’ll state that the numbers that I’ve found could be a tad bit off but are none the less accurate and are from the recent past (starting at 2004 or even later). However, the teams overall history and home court advantage/presence was taken into thought when writing this post.  Without further ado here’s my list of the Big Ten toughest places to play!

1.  Wisconsin. 

The Badgers hold a modest 85-35 conference record dating back from 2004 to the present.  The only other team to match that many wins in the same time is Ohio State.  I’ve been to a game inside the Kohl Center and the noise level is crazy! What’s even more impressive about the game I attended in Wisconsin was that there was literally a blizzard going on.  Fans still showed up to support the Badgers in a close win last season (2010-2011) over the Purdue Boilermakers.  The fans make the home court advantage for the Badgers and they show up game in and game out regardless of weather and lay into the opposing team with heated hatred (but respectful) and support for their home team!

2. Indiana

Indiana has a terrible recent record in the Big Ten (32-56). But, that’s during the Tom Crean and Kelvin Sampson eras.  Which, to say the least, have been overwhelmingly disappointing for IU fans for the past 5 seasons.  However, contrary to the recent past of IU’s basketball program it’s hard to argue that Assembly Hall in Bloomington is one of the toughest, and many could argue the toughest, arenas to play in.  IU has possibly the most loyal fans of any college basketball team out there and they show that every game that’s played in Assembly Hall.   Regardless  of IU’s lack of success recently they play their best and even better than their abilities when they play in Assembly Hall.  That’s why I rank IU so high. 

3. Michigan State

The Spartans boast a very respectable 79-41 conference record in the past seven seasons.  During this time they’ve posted six 20+ win seasons and one at 19 wins.  What Tom Izzo has done at Michigan State is remarkable and when visiting the Breslin Student Events Center you can bet your butt it’s going to be a tough battle! Sparty and his fans bring their all every game and let the opposing team know it.  Earning them the 3rd toughest place to play in the Big Ten!

4. Three way tie between Ohio State, Illinois, and Purdue.  I couldn’t decide on which team really deserves the 4th toughest place to play outright.  I’m leaning more towards Purdue and Ohio State but Illinois sneaks in there with it’s crazy student fan section! 

Ohio State ties Wisconsin with the best conference record since 2004-2005 season with a 85-35 record.  Illinois has a 70-50 and Purdue boasts a humble 63-37 conference record (since 2005-2006).  I’ve been to a couple games in Mackey Arena and I have to say the student section is insane! The atmosphere is awesome and makes the game heck for an opposing fan/team and much more enjoyable for home fans and the team.  I’ve never been able to attend a game at Ohio State or Illinois but I can only imagine how the atmosphere would be inside those arenas. 

If I had to choose a team out of this bunch to hold the #4 spot alone I’d go with Purdue.  For those who didn’t know Purdue has the most Big Ten Titles with 22 and is the ONLY team in the Big Ten to hold winning records against ALL other Big Ten teams. Yes, that takes talent, however, you need some advantage, motivation, and help and the Boilermaker fans give them that edge every game inside Mackey Arena. 

7.  Another tie between Michigan and Minnesota

It’s no doubt that these two schools are incredibly difficult to beat at home. With Michigan’s increasing success and young talent obtaining victories in Crisler Arena (please correct if spelling is off there) will become even more difficult.  But, what makes home court advantage home court advantage? The fans.  These two schools’ fans are incredible and give them a slight advantage every home game.  I’ve ranked these two arenas so low due to the lack of rich rich history.  However, that can change and it wouldn’t surpise me if it does.  I also have Minnesota here because they always seem to be upsetting top of the conference teams at home. Last season (2010-2011) they upset Purdue and the year before Robbie Hummel tore his ACL during this game in Williams Arena aka The Barn.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see more upsets happen in these stadiums in the near future. 

9.  Northwestern and Penn State…..yes another tie.

It’s difficult to distinguish who should be where after a certain point with these rankings as I can personally see either team in any of these ties holding the same spot.  However, neither of these teams have boasted incredible conference records. Especially at home.  Though, Northwestern is unarguably improving and have some special upsets in the recent past and have held many, thought to be, power schools close.  Penn State is on the same page as Northwestern to me.  This could all change with Ed Dechellis and Taylor Battle leaving the program.  Dechellis resigned as Head Coach and Taylor Battle graduated. This could effect fan morale and fan support.  However, that’s the future and not history….which this post is focused on. 

11. Believe it or not another tie!

Iowa and Nebraska.  Iowa is no doubt rebuilding it’s basketball program and has a decent fan base. But, I’m not sold that they have much, if any, home court advantage behind their backs. As for Nebraska this will be their first season in the Big Ten.  They don’t have much experience against Big Ten schools and I’m not convinced that they’ll have much of an advantage at home against many schools in the Big Ten.

That’s all I have for this post. I hope you enjoyed it and I’m more than open to hearing any comments or thoughts!

Thanks for reading everyone


I recently read an article where the writer announced the top 10 toughest places he thought there was to play. You may or may not have heard of him but he writes for Yahoo Sports, his name is Jason King.  Here’s his rankings, and I’ll spoil it now Wisconsin was his 4th toughest and Purdue was his overall 9th toughest place.  But, like promised, here you go:

  1. Allen Fieldhouse = Kansas
  2. Cameron Indoor Stadium = Duke
  3. Carrier Dome = Syracuse
  4. Kohl Center = Wisconsin
  5. The Pit = New Mexico
  6. Rupp Arena = Kentucky
  7. Comcast Center = Maryland
  8. Petersen Events Center = Pittsburgh
  9. Mackey Arena = Purdue
  10. Bramlage Coliseum = Kansas State

Also mentioned were: North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Villanova, Arizona, Michigan State, Illinois, Vanderbilt, Texas, BYU, and Memphis. 

I agree with most of his rankings. However, I don’t see how The Pit for New Mexico made the list at all and I disagree with the Comcast Center’s placement.  What in the heck has New Mexico done in the last 20 years basketball wise? Nothing is what I can think of.  And Maryland hasn’t been good in years. To me when considering what arena’s should be thought of as “tough to play in” I think of the program’s recent success.  How well do they thrive off their crowd? How dominant is this team? Especially at home? When I think about the toughest places to play I don’t think about how the arena was constructed, how many people can fit inside, nor how loud it could get if everybody in the stadium was screaming.  Personally, New Mexico and Maryland just don’t cut it.  If you ask me North Carolina and Michigan State (or even Texas) should be moved onto the list in place of New Mexico and Maryland.  Oh well I suppose. Everybody has the right to their opinions and has the right to express them.  Shortly I will post my rankings of the toughest places to play in the Big Ten.  And, if you’re a Nebraska fan I apologize now, I have them 12th out of 12. So, stay tuned for my opinions on the toughest Big Ten arenas to play in!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Ohio State Makes the Cut


If you’ve been following my blog the past few days you’ll know that I’m on a streak of writing about an episode of College Basketball Final.  They ran through the 5 teams that have met the criteria of a championship caliber team.  These 5 teams are the Duke Blue Devils, Pittsburgh Panthers, Kansas Jayhawks, Ohio State Buckeyes, and the Purdue Boilermakers.  In this post you’ve probably already guessed that I’ll be writing about Ohio State given the title.  First I’ll review the criteria that has been met the past 10 Mens College Basketball National Champions.

  1. Teams have had win streaks of at least 10 games during the season
  2. Teams average MoV(margin of victory) is at least 10 points per game
  3. Teams must have been ranked in the preseason top 10

As you may also have guessed Ohio State met all three of these criteria making them 1 of 5 that have the best shot of winning the National Championship.

Ohio St.’s preseason ranking: 5 (As I mentioned before from the numbers I have Pittsburgh was also ranked 5th in the preseason)

Ohio St.’s MoV: 19.7

Ohio St.’s Record: 28-2 (15-2 Big Ten)

Ohio St.’s RPI: 2

I would be an idiot to say Ohio State isn’t a good team (although I did say that before they got into conference play. I was obviously wrong).  In fact I think they’ll get to the Championship Game.  One reason is the simple and undeniable fact that Jared Sullinger gets away with tons of fouls on the offensive end of the floor.  I haven’t watched a guy get away so many hooks (hooking your elbow around your defender giving you leverage as you push the defender clear of your desired path).  If for some reason the referees decide to start making that call I think Ohio State will face some bumps in the road.  Do I still think they’ll make it to the Championship game? Yes, I do.  That’s just my knock against the NCAA/Big Ten referees not making the right calls.  Sullinger is a very talented athlete and plays with an extremely gifted supporting cast.

The Buckeyes high five after a foul and a bucket

Thad Matta is also a very intelligent coach.  Ohio State only has 2 losses this season, #14 Wisconsin and #11 Purdue (All three of these teams are currently ranked in the top 10; OSU=1, Purdue=6, Wisconsin=10).  I do not blame either loss on Ohio State, both games were on the road.  Not many teams can go into the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin and pull off a win.  Playing Purdue in Mackey Arena is one of the toughest things to do as well, Purdue and Wisconsin both went undefeated at home this year too.

Ohio State currently ranks 20th in the nation in scoring (77.4ppg), 19th in assists/game (16.2), 3rd in Field Goal % (.495), and 216th in rebounds/game (34.1).  Some might look at the 216th in rebounds but look at how many they average.  34 boards a game isn’t too bad, it’s actually pretty good.  As of right now I have Ohio State losing to Kansas in the Title Game.

Michigan State vs. Ohio State


I would be lying if I said I expected Tom Izzo and the Michigan St. Spartans to walk into Columbus and win against Ohio St.  However, after a very strong first half against the Buckeyes I thought I was watching the Spartan team everybody expected to see this season.  While watching the game on my lagging laptop in the middle of my night class I was able to notice a few things, mainly during the second half.

One thing I noticed very early was the calling of the refs.  I’m not going to blame the Spartans loss on the referee’s but when a team shoots 6 free throws compared to the home teams 29 free throw attempts one has reason to question the calls made during this game.  Michigan State made 5 of their 6 attempts (83.3%) while Ohio State made 23 of their 29 attempts (79.3%).  For all you non-math majors out there that’s 18 more points basically given to the Buckeyes.  Like I said I don’t think the refs cost the Spartans this game but personally I thought there were some pretty one sided calls all night.  When one team shoots 23 more free throws than another team, especially the home team, my “homered” meter sky rockets! However, I will speak my pleasure of the referee who FINALLY called Sullinger for a hooking call with his elbow.  Touche sir, somebody finally got it.

Another thing I noticed was Michigan State turning the ball over in crucial moments.  Not only were the Spartans turning the ball over when they really needed a bucket they were turning the ball over constantly.  The Spartans had 19 turnovers! Compare that to OSU’s 7 and you have yourself a recipe for disaster.  When you have close to 20 turnovers in a game your chances of winning are cut dramatically.  Michigan State averages 14 turnovers per game, this problem could be given credit to MSU’s sub par season thus far.

The last thing I noticed about MSU’s performance tonight was their inability to make shots when they needed to.  This was due in part to turning the ball over and Ohio State’s defense forcing the Spartans offense out of rhythm.  The Spartans simply choked the last 8-10 minutes of the game when making shots really counted.  Granted, Ohio State played really good defense and didn’t let the Spartans get very many good looks.

As mentioned above I didn’t expect to watch MSU beat Ohio State at home tonight.  After Ohio State’s loss in Madison this weekend I had the feeling they would be playing with a bit of a chip on their shoulder.  Coming home after a loss is always a good thing too.  I admit that my predictions on Ohio State earlier this season were far from right.  Even after Ohio State lost to Wisconsin I think they deserve the #1 ranking.  Yeah, many people want to argue for a 3 loss team in Texas but even with Texas’s RPI and Strength of Schedule Ohio State still is the best team in college basketball as of right now.  There was no argument for either Kansas or Texas before Ohio State’s loss and after losing in the Kohl Center, where Wisconsin and Bo Ryan are basically unbeatable, and there still shouldn’t be.  Make no mistake, I am not jumping on the OSU bandwagon. I hate Ohio State just as much as any non-Ohio State fan.  I was born to despise Ohio State and I always will.  But, being a college basketball fan you have to be unbiased and realistic (which some may argue I was not earlier and rightfully so).

Just a side note: I can’t wait until the Badgers at Purdue rematch tomorrow night! I was in Madison when Purdue visited the Kohl Center (I was in the student section decked out in all my Purdue gear) and it was awesome.  I was very surprised by the Boilers early second half surge to take a 9 point lead halfway through the second half.  Even though I knew a win at the Kohl Center was damn near impossible I was a little upset that my Boilers lost.  After the game I realized I snowed in for the Night and had to call up one of my buddies who knows Jordan Taylor, who I actually got to meet and had a brief conversation with.  It was awesome.  But, I look forward to my Boilermakers to reclaim some pride by defeating the Badgers in Mackey Arena tomorrow night! I look for the Boilermakers to reclaim sole position of 2nd place in the Big Ten with a victory of 8 points.