In honor of the four schools that have advanced to the “final four” of the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Championship, I will be showcasing the home arenas of the four schools. In what may seem like a reverse order, I’ve decided to start off with the most historic of the four programs: the Kentucky Wildcats.
The home of the Kentucky Wildcats is Rupp Arena. Opening its doors in 1976, Rupp arena is named after Kentucky’s legendary head coach Adolph Rupp. Located in downtown Lexington, Kentucky, the arena is the centerpiece of a large shopping and convention center that attracts visitors from all over the region.
The arena itself has an official capacity of 23,500, making it the largest arena constructed specifically for basketball in the United States.With the remarkable success the Kentucky program has enjoyed, Rupp arena is considered one of the most difficult places for opponents to play. In 2002, the vaunted student section was appropriately named the “eRUPPtion Zone”. In addition to the overwhelming crowd, for practically each game, acclaimed actress Ashley Judd proudly supports her alma mater and she can be found in the crowd cheering on the Wildcats.
In 1985, Rupp Arena played host to arguably one of the most celebrated final fours in the history of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament. Ironically enough, it was another “Wildcats” program that stole the show in Rupp Arena as the 8th seeded Villanova Wildcats pulled off one of the most shocking upsets in NCAA history, defeating the Georgetown Hoyas 66-64.