Once upon a time, Illinois basketball had one of the most intimidating home-court environments in all of college basketball. Fast-forward to 2016, and where does the State Farm Center rank amongst other schools in the conference? According to ESPN, the arena is only offering Illinois with a middle-of-the-pack advantage. Big Ten writer Eamonn Brennan recently ranked every venue in the league, and the Fighting Illini checked in at No. 7 on list.
The Big Ten's toughest venues, ranked: https://t.co/GJ8sf87hCg— Eamonn Brennan (@eamonnbrennan) July 26, 2016
At peak intimidation I think State Farm Center would be right up there with Wisconsin's Kohl Center (No. 3), but fans haven't been able to consistently achieve that level for about a decade because the teams have been so mediocre.
Overall, though, I think this list is pretty accurate; it's hard to argue with the top five spots, in particular. What's your take on ESPN's rankings? Let us know down in the comments.
Illinois Fighting Illini Links
As expected, Fighting Illini basketball is a finalist for their top remaining recruiting target. On Tuesday night, Goodwin narrowed his list to Illinois, Northwestern, Missouri, Butler, Alabama, Creighton, and St. Louis.
Forget Michigan and Ohio State, Illinois --- yes, Illinois --- may have had the best off-season in the Big Ten. Why a surprising hire of Lovie Smith is exactly what this stagnant program needed.
Illini AD Josh Whitman discusses Lovie Smith, possible facilities improvements, DIA staff changes and a big summer for Illini basketball
"There's nothing like student excitement in Memorial Stadium. We need their energy in the stadium wearing orange and blue. University of Illinois bumper stickers. Whatever it is, let people know who you believe in. Don't worry about what's happened in the past. It's about today."