We are less than seven weeks away from the beginning of college basketball. There’s a palpable buzz in the air — that sense of anticipation and excitement knowing that pretty soon college football and college basketball will overlap with the NFL in a big conglomerate mix of wonderment. Arguably the best time of the year for sports is October through December, when football is in full swing and basketball ramps up. We’re just about there.
With the full Big Ten schedule released last week (dates but not times), Connor and Justin argued which home game will be the most challenging for the Buckeyes. Connor went with Michigan State on Feb. 12, while Justin went with Illinois two weeks later on Feb. 26.
71% of people agreed with Connor that the MSU game will be a bigger test over the Illinois game, so he gets the win. Don’t sleep on the Illini though, neither of those games will be a cakewalk.
After 67 weeks:
(There have been three ties)
A few weeks ago, Matt Norlander and Gary Parrish published an article for CBS Sports called “Candid Coaches.” They polled 100 college basketball coaches and asked which three college basketball arenas have the best home-court environment. If you want to read the results, you can check it out here.
After reading it, we started thinking about which arenas we desperately want to visit this year. Here in Ohio, you’re within reasonable driving distance from a ton of great college basketball venues. Which one do you need to visit this season?
Today’s question: Which college basketball venue do you need to visit?
Connor: Mackey Arena
I don’t think you could go wrong with any of the big ones next door in Indiana — Assembly Hall, Hinkle Fieldhouse, or Mackey. I’m hoping to check all three of these arenas off my list this season, but if I had to pick one arena, the winner is definitely Mackey.
Last season on our Bucketheads Podcast, we asked Chris Holtmann, Joey Lane, and Mark Titus which Big Ten arenas are the most intimidating and/or provide the best environment to play/coach in. It was a sweep — all three said Mackey Arena. The students are right over you and most games are sold out. It is hot. It is loud. It is very uncomfortable. Mackey Arena is pretty much everything you’d want in a classic college basketball arena. On top of it, Titus has stated numerous times that Mackey also has the best bathrooms in college basketball.
I'm happy to announce that the Twitter hiatus is officially over, folks. I just can't keep it in my pants when Chris Holtmann and Keita Bates-Diop are taking dumps in the luxurious Mackey bathrooms. It's good to be back. Shout-out to the 7% of you who are real people.— Mark Titus (@clubtrillion) February 8, 2018
Here’s an anonymous quote from a coach on Mackey, courtesy of Norlander’s article on CBS:
“When Mackey Arena is rocking, I think it is the best atmosphere in the country. Freshmen basically piss down their leg in that place when it is rocking.”
Ohio State has gone to Mackey and gotten their clocks cleaned a few times, but if my memory is correct, the last few bouts between the Buckeyes and ‘Boilers at Mackey have been all-time classics. During the 2018 season, Keita Bates-Diop tipped in a Jae’Sean Tate miss with 2 seconds remaining to give Ohio State a huge road upset. That game also saw an undersized Andre Wesson put the clamps on Isaac Haas, Musa Jallow knock down multiple three-pointers, and a bunch of other wacky stuff.
Keita Bates-Diop’s put-back gives Ohio State yet another signature win. pic.twitter.com/N3MEkXguBu— James Grega Jr. (@JGrega11) February 8, 2018
This past season, the Buckeyes fell behind by 18 points during the second half at Mackey before a furious rally tied the game with under 20 seconds remaining, only for Jaden Ivey to knock down a game-winning three-pointer with four seconds remaining to send Mackey into an absolute frenzy.
More often than not, Ohio State vs. Purdue at Mackey gives you a show that’s worth more than the cost of admission. I can’t wait to experience it firsthand some day soon.
Justin: Taylor University for Silent Night
So there are some easy answers here. You could go with the legendary venues like Assembly Hall or Cameron Indoor, or the great programs like UCLA or Kansas, but I decided to go with something that all college basketball super fans know about.
First of all, just a fun fact: Taylor University is the alma mater of our hero Chris Holtmann.
Second of all, this is just one of the coolest things I have ever seen.
On the Friday before final exams in the fall — so right around the beginning of December — Taylor University will play a home basketball game where all the students show up to the game wearing Christmas attire. When the game starts, they are entirely quiet and silent until the 10th point is scored.
And then they go insane.
Towards the end of the game, the entire crowd sings Silent Night, and after the game the students are invited to the president’s campus wide party where they sing Christmas songs, make cookies and build gingerbread houses. That honestly sounds delightful.
As a fellow huge Christmas guy myself, this is a really cool tradition and one that I would love to see in person one day. Unless you are a student at Taylor, you will never get the full experience, but even just attending the game would be incredible. To make it even better, Taylor is 23-1 all time in the Silent Night game. Safe to say the antics help the team get motivated.
There is really not much to say about this except if you have no idea what I am talking about, just google Taylor University Silent Night game and watch the videos. They truly speak for themselves.
Which college basketball arena do you want to visit more?
This poll is closed
Mackey Arena (Connor)
Odle Arena (Justin)