Over a two-week span, we're answering the following question for college basketball's 10 best conferences: Which venue in each conference is the toughest place to play? A number of factors, not just capacity and attendance, could affect a venue's place in the order. Where does your school fall?
15. Boston College Eagles: Conte Forum, opened in 1988
In the pro-sports-centric landscape of Boston, you'd better have a pretty tough team to get folks to pay attention. The problem for the Eagles is they haven't had said team since Al Skinner was fired in 2010. One thing opponents do appreciate at the forum is the spacious locker rooms that are close to the court.
Fun fact: Conte Forum was set to be used as the judo and wrestling arena in Boston's 2024 Olympic pitch until the city withdrew its bid.
14. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: McCamish Pavilion, opened in 2012
When the Yellow Jackets are rolling, McCamish Pavilion can live up to its old nickname, the "Thrillerdome," which was coined in the mid-80s pre-renovation. Back then, it was called Alexander Memorial Coliseum. There's something about those engineers at Tech and the acoustics in the building. No arena in the ACC gets louder, and if new coach Josh Pastner can rebuild them into a contender, the Jackets will reshape the pavilion back into an intimidating place.
Fun fact: After a tornado damaged the Georgia Dome, the SEC played the remaining four games of its 2008 conference tournament at McCamish, including the title game.
13. Wake Forest Demon Deacons: Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, opened in 1989
The arena with the longest name in the ACC is sometimes referred to as "the Joel." Pregame introductions feature the Deacon mascot rolling in on a Harley-Davidson and revving the engine to ear-irritating levels. The Jeff Bzdelik years soured fans from turning out like they once did, and the Deacs did not have any sellouts last season. But third-year coach Danny Manning has endeared himself to the fanbase and appears to have the program headed back in the right direction.
Fun fact: The arena, originally owned by the city of Winston-Salem until Wake Forest purchased it in 2013, was named after the city's only veteran to ever receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.
12. Florida State Seminoles: Donald L. Tucker Center, opened in 1981
When Seminoles fans are engaged, they can turn the center into an intimidating place (some opponents say it's because they serve beer). The problem is consistency. When it's not a top-ranked North Carolina or Duke team venturing into town, the casual fan doesn't seem to care much. That apathy does not extend to the administration, which has invested more than $20 million in upgrades for the arena over the past two years, including a two-floor locker room that will debut this season.
Fun fact: For a time, the Tucker Center had bats nesting in the rafters, and occasionally they would swoop down onto the court. A game between the Seminoles and Maryland on Jan. 12, 2014, even had play suspended because of it.
Clemson has long been regarded as the league's football school in a basketball conference, but the fans also support hoops when the team has potential. The Tigers will be glad to return home after playing home games last season in Greenville, South Carolina, while Littlejohn was being renovated. The nearly $63.5 million project reduced seats in the arena down to 9,000 but added much-needed upgrades to the facility.
Fun fact: The Tigers' biggest comeback at home came when they erased a 13-point deficit against Wake Forest on Feb. 28, 1970. Clemson trailed 56-43 before rallying for a 105-95 win.
10. Miami Hurricanes: BankUnited Center, opened in 2003
Miami's opponents used to have a sizeable cheering section because tickets were readily available. Not anymore. The Canes have taken steps to make basketball games an event on campus, practicing "dormstorming" to get students involved. Their efforts have also paid off in the community; last season marked the first in program history in which they sold out their season ticket allotment. They now have a wait list for the 2016-17 season.
Fun fact: As one might expect in the city of Miami, the BankUnited Center is known throughout the league for having the loudest sound system. The fact that South Beach is only a short drive away is always a cause for celebration.
9. NC State Wolfpack: PNC Arena, opened in 1999
Reynolds Coliseum, the old on-campus home of the Pack, was a much tougher place to play with the noise level and proximity of fans surrounding the floor. When NC State moved to PNC, capacity went up by 7,000 seats and the Wolfpack lost a bit of their edge. It did not stop Wolfpack fans from losing their sharp tongues. State fans have a dubious honor around the league for being the most vulgar.
Fun fact: Stephen Curry held the record for most points scored in the building with 40 against Gonzaga in the 2008 NCAA tournament until State's T.J. Warren went for 42 against Boston College on March 9, 2014.
8. Virginia Tech Hokies: Cassell Coliseum, opened in 1962
Cassell Coliseum is often compared to an old barn. Thing is, with that structure, it doesn't take a lot for the crowd to make it noisy. It's darker than most gyms, and the angle of the seats gives it a sense that the fans are right on top of their opponents. It's quietly one of the more dreaded places to play in the ACC.
Fun fact: Third-year coach Buzz Williams' recent contract extension put his salary at $2.6 million for 2016. When construction was completed in 1964, Cassell cost a total of $2.7 million.
7. Pittsburgh Panthers: Petersen Events Center, opened in 2002
The Panthers' student section, affectionately referred to as the Oakland Zoo, is arguably the best in the league outside of Cameron Indoor Stadium. They use a lot of the same "tactics" with prepared scouting reports passed out before games to ensure the proper antagonizing of opposing players.
Fun fact: Pitt hasn't enjoyed the same home-court advantage it once had in the Big East. The Panthers have already lost 11 home ACC games in three seasons. From a stretch of the 2007-08 to 2012-13 seasons in the Big East, they lost a total of 12 league games at home.
6. Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Purcell Pavilion, opened in 1968
If you don't believe in home-court advantage before visiting South Bend, Indiana, you might after leaving. The Irish have historically taken down highly ranked teams in big games here -- they snapped UCLA's record 88-game win streak in 1974 -- in what was formerly known as the Joyce Center. The basketball portion of the center was renamed in 2009 after undergoing a $26 million renovation.
Fun fact: The Irish have posted more undefeated seasons at home (five) than they have losing records (three).
5. Syracuse Orange: Carrier Dome, opened in 1980
It's never a good thing for an opponent to know that 30,000-plus fans clad in Orange can pack the Carrier Dome. There's a festive feel at tipoff when the band pounds a drum until Syracuse scores its first basket. For most teams, it is the only domed stadium they will play in during the regular season. The spacious feeling can cause opponents to be disoriented.
Fun fact: The Carrier Dome, the largest on-campus basketball arena in the nation, took the naming rights of an air conditioning company. The dome itself, however, does not have air conditioning.
4. North Carolina Tar Heels: Dean E. Smith Center, opened in 1986
The "wine and cheese crowd" description Sam Cassell gave for UNC fans back in the 90s has always been a bit of a misnomer. When it's the annual game against Duke or a marquee matchup with a top-ranked opponent, the nation's fourth-largest venue can be as loud and electric as any. But when it's a middle-of-the-pack league opponent in a middle-of-the-week game ... it can be as dry as white wine.
Fun fact: In order to win in Chapel Hill, it's best to have the lead before halftime. Carolina is 316-14 when leading at the half in the Smith Center.
3. Louisville Cardinals: KFC Yum! Center, opened in 2010
The Yum! Center is often referred to as a pro arena with a college atmosphere. The youngest arena in the ACC also happens to be the most complete. It has amenities that could turn the game into an afterthought with premium lounges on the east and west stands of the lower tier, a bar overlooking the Ohio River and plenty of monitors to not miss any of the game. Fortunately for the Cardinals, their fans are among the most basketball savvy in the league, so they're generally in their seats and engaged throughout the game.
Fun fact: The eventual national champion has played in the KFC Yum! Center in every season of its existence: Duke (2015) and Connecticut (2011, 2014) played there in the regular season; Villanova (2016) and Kentucky (2012) won NCAA tournament games there; the Cardinals themselves cut down the nets in 2013.
2. Virginia Cavaliers: John Paul Jones Arena, opened in 2006
A decade ago, a trip to Charlottesville, Virginia, was nowhere near the toughest in the league. But things have changed under eighth-year coach Tony Bennett. In the past three seasons, the Cavaliers have lost three games at home and only one in ACC play. Three of last season's Final Four participants (Villanova, North Carolina and Syracuse) all ventured into John Paul Jones Arena and all three left with a loss, by an average margin of eight points.
Fun fact: The grand opening of JPJ included two performances by the Dave Matthews Band, which is comprised of Charlottesville natives.
1. Duke Blue Devils: Cameron Indoor Stadium, opened in 1940
Some of Duke's old-timers -- and by old-timers, I mean players from the 90s -- say the Cameron Crazies aren't what they used to be. And maybe they aren't as creative as the group that once threw Twinkies at Georgia Tech's Dennis Scott for being overweight or even produced Speedo Guy in 2003 -- he stripped down to his briefs and danced his way into North Carolina's Jackie Manuel's head at the free throw line. But the Crazies still set the standard for making one of the league's smallest venues into a house of horrors. Opponents believe Duke gets all the calls and have quietly complained that too many clock issues occur during crucial parts of the game.
Fun fact: Duke's student section is credited for creating the "airball" chant back in 1975.