The Quick 10: 10 Famous Student Sections in College Basketball
I went to my first Duke game last week, and I have to say – I was impressed. The fans were pretty amazing. The Cameron Crazies have been repeatedly ranked as the best student section in college sports, but there are definitely some other frenzied fans out there trying to give them a run for their money. Here are nine of them in no particular order (and a bit about the Crazies themselves).
1. The Grateful Red. The Red root for the Badgers, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s men’s basketball team, and they do it in style – many of the 2,100 seats in the student section are filled with people wearing red tie-dyed t-shirts. Before taking their name from a certain band, the Red were known as Mr. Bennett’s Neighborhood for former coach Dick Bennett.
2. The Antlers. I think my favorite part about the Antlers is that their nickname really has nothing to do with Mizzou. They were so-named because a dance they performed at the games resembled one Lily Tomlin did on Saturday Night Live where she stuck fingers up on either side of her head as if she had antlers.
3. The Cameron Crazies. Named after Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke’s Crazies have been called the wittiest fans in college sports. Their well-researched chants are legendary, but they can also claim the generic-but-classic “airball” cheer now used everywhere.
4. The Bench. The members of the California Golden Bears student squad are probably best known for the prank they pulled in 2006. Before the game against USC, members of the Bench IMed USC’s Gabe Pruitt, posing as a gorgeous girl from UCLA named Victoria. Pruitt sent “Victoria” pictures and phone numbers, not realizing his mistake until the Bench began chanting “Victoria, Victoria,” totally ruining his game.
5. eRUPPtion Zone. Ashley Judd is known to hang out in the University of Kentucky’s standing-room-only student section, which is named after Rupp Arena. Fans once made a giant poster of an opponent player’s Playboy Playmate girlfriend, keeping it PG by strategically placing a UK logo.
6. The Orange Krush. The Illini’s fans are tricky – one attack they have up their collective sleeve is to count down the opposing team’s shot clock as if time is running out even if it’s not… and it works like a charm.
7. The Oakland Zoo. Before every game, the student newspaper issues a four-page report on Pitt and their opponents, so fans can come up with proper insults. They also use the newspapers at the game to act like they’re so bored with the other team, they’d rather be checking their horoscopes. They got their name when one opponent noted, “The fans get there early to start heckling you. It’s like a zoo.”
8. Utah State. I don’t think their student section has a cool nickname (do they?), but they’re formidable just the same. In fact, just the other day, USU’s student section sang “I’m a Little Teapot” to distract the foul shooter. And it totally worked:
9. The Paint Crew. Purdue’s supporters are named for the Boilermakers head coach, Matt Painter. Before, when Gene Keady was the top dog, they called themselves the Gene Pool. Not bad, Purdue… not bad. They’re dedicated fans, too – when members of the paint crew showed up in D.C. decked out as if they were ready to apply a few new coats to the White House, they made the Washington Post.
10. The Dawg Pack. Washington students are so hardcore that even unflappable coaches just can’t resist flipping out… or flipping them the bird, as Washington State’s head coach did in 2005 when students started chanting “boring” at his team.
This is by no means an official ranking – just some of the more interesting ones I read about. Feel free to add yours in the comments!