College Basketball’s Top 10 Unruly Fanbases
December 19th, 2011| by Lost Lettermen
Illini fans create one of the great game environments in college basketball. The “Orange Crush” engulfs the court, making opposing players feel a bit claustrophobic. They also like to flood the streets after big wins for riots. And one opponent, Eric Gordon, got an even worse treatment with Illinois fans harassing him and his family in 2008 because the talented guard had reneged on playing in Champaign. Gordon’s family was reportedly pegged with beads and ice cubes at the game while he was showered with “F*** you Gordon” chants. Some homecoming.
The Carrier Dome is one of the toughest places to play because of its sheer size. Heck, not many teams fill football stadiums for college basketball games. But the passion of the Orange supporters sometimes boils over. Take a 2009 home game against rival Georgetown, for example, during which Syracuse fans rained plastic bottles down on a section of Hoyas supporters who eventually had to be evacuated by police for their own safety. Stay classy, ‘Cuse.
3. Michigan State
Spartan coaches Jud Heathcote and Tom Izzo have built a strong tradition of winning in East Lansing. That winning breeds really intense fans that riot – win or lose. The most-famous instance came in 1999, when MSU lost to Duke in the Final Four and students caused more than $500,000 in damage, according to this story. If you played word association with Michigan State, “rioting” is probably the second thing to come to mind behind basketball.
2. West Virginia
If there’s a list about rowdy fans, it’s likely that West Virginia fans – in any sport – have a spot on it. Mountaineer supporters are known for their obscene, alcohol-fueled behavior at football games, and it’s not much better in the basketball realm.
Consider that it’s almost an annual rite of winter for WVU’s head coach to plead over the PA system for fans to stop throwing foreign objects onto the court. In fact, Pittsburgh assistant Tom Herrion was hit with what appeared to be a coin during the Panthers’ trip to Morgantown in 2010.
And that’s nothing compared to this scene.
“They might have the worst fans ever,” former Virginia Tech guard Malcolm Delaney told the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 2010.
We’re glad you agree, Malcolm. Maryland fans are known for their intense hate for Duke. No one knows that better than former Duke guard J.J. Redick, whom one fan dedicated her entire life to bothering. No, really, she did. (OK, that’s tongue-in-cheek, people). But it doesn’t stop there. Redick was the focus prank calls, a sign about his sister and one particular chant that says it all about Terps fans: “F**k you, J.J.!”
GQ ranked Maryland basketball fans the fifth-worst in American sports, one spot behind Oakland Raider fans. Yikes. Always up for a riot, pepper spray and tear gas are as much a part of the College Park experience as kegs and late-night pizza.