Louisville's gleaming new arena -- the awkwardly named KFC Yum! Center, a year-old facility with every amenity (or so I've heard) -- is apparently one of the best new arenas in the world. Yes, it's true: Pollstar, which bills itself as "the only trade publication covering the worldwide concert industry," named the Yum! Center No. 10 in the country and No. 24 worldwide in its 2011 Mid-Year Rankings.
Now, these rankings have more to do with concert production than with basketball. Is this a big deal? Probably not. But the Bucket, as it is oh-so-affectionately called, is an example of the modern day college hoops facilities arms race, wherein every school must have the brand new arena (or at least a traditional one that simultaneously feels brand new) alongside oversized practice gyms, 24-hour weight rooms, rebounding robots, and the rest of it.
Recruits might not care that Louisville got props from something called Pollstar, but they will care that Louisville's gym -- weird name and all -- is apparently one of the best 25 arenas in the world, even if they never hear about the ranking. It's hard to put a price on that kind of recruiting boost.
Speaking of which, Louisville fans are currently obsessed with recruit Danrad Knowles, one of the top players in the class of 2012. Why the interest? Well, there's the whole being good at basketball thing, of course. But there's also the little fact that Knowles's nickname is "Chicken." Chicken. The Bucket. I admit it: I laughed.
(Hat tip: Card Chronicle)