Holding Court



Pacific 10 arenas that give schools the best home-court advantage:

1. McArthur Court, Oregon. This “Pit” can hold its own with New Mexico’s. “ Anyone who was there for the opener, a 38-10 victory over Willamette in 1927, can attest to its unruliness. McArthur annually leads surveys of “least favorite” Pacific 10 Conference venues in which to play, Sports Illustrated in 1995 calling it one of the toughest environments in collegiate sports.

2. McKale Center, Arizona. UCLA had an eight-point lead at Arizona on Jan. 20 when, in about a five-minute span in the second half, amid a deafening roar, the Wildcats blitzed the Bruins and sent the visitors screaming for the door and their earplugs. Tough place to play? Arizona has won 197 of its last 208 at McKale, although the Wildcats have been shocked twice this year, against Mississippi State and Stanford. Arizona once had a 71-game, home-court winning streak and went unbeaten at McKale in 1998 and 1999.

3. Maples Pavilion, Stanford. This is what happens when you match a rising-star coach with a bouncy floor, all set against a backdrop of a suddenly delirious student body. Maples was not always a den of horrors. Tom Davis posted a modest 42-24 home record before Mike Montgomery arrived in 1986. As Montgomery inched Stanford toward national prominence, the joint has been jumping. Stanford has won more than 80% of its games under Montgomery, although UCLA has consecutive wins at Maples.


4. Haas Pavilion, California. What was old Harmon Gym for more than 60 years--bleacher seats, the Straw Hat Band--has been transformed into a modern sports arena without losing the charm and intimacy of the old gym. The seating capacity has almost doubled to 12,172 seats, but the last row is only 88 feet from the floor. Cal is 11-1 at home this season, but the Haas rowdies will need to have their vocal cords rested for Saturday’s showdown against No. 2 Stanford.

5. Pauley Pavilion, UCLA. It wasn’t the fans that intimidated opponents all those years as much as it was UCLA players, but Pauley still deserves its place among basketball shrines. You have to admire an arena that only hangs its national title banners in the rafters. Of course, most places don’t have enough to go around.