Defending your home court is one of the most important burdens resting on a basketball team’s shoulders in the college world, especially if you want to make a deep run in March.
Many teams, even if in the major conferences, have trouble filling their arenas for all but the biggest games. There can be many reasons for this, but one often overlooked one is that fans like to see their team win.
The ice cream can be great and the game might be exciting, but losses big and small always leave a sour taste in the mouth that they have to wash out.
The NCAA selection committee might give you mercy if you lose a conference game to a mediocre team on the road, but a home loss to a bottom-feeder is inexcusable and can place your bid in jeopardy.
Why is it so hard to win on the road? Because the other team and their crowd is making it so hard for them to lose at home.
One-sided crowds are part of what makes sports fun, and the Kentucky Wildcats thrive off the BBN in Rupp Arena to an amazing extent. Numerous times under Calipari the ‘Cats have completed entire seasons without a loss in Rupp, but the last time was 2015-16.
This year they have a chance to do it again, though. They are 14-0 in Lexington so far and just need four more wins to seal the deal.
This Saturday, they host Florida, a mediocre bubble team, and then after rematching with Alabama and LSU host Ole Miss for Senior Day. The Tide and the Tigers won’t be easy, but a healthy Cats team should win inside the friendly confines of Rupp Arena.
Let’s hope they can, as the Cats have been playing like championship contenders a lot this season.