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ESPN rankings: McKale Center among most hostile arenas

Arizona’s McKale Center provides an atmosphere that’s hard to overcome for any visiting team. According to an Insider piece by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, it is the 10th-most hostile venue in the nation.

10. Arizona’s McKale Center — OK, I’m a little partial since I went to college in Tucson. When the place gets going, it gets extremely loud. The students are under the hoop — and are loud. Even the old(er) folks get into it. It seats 14,500 and underwent renovations this past offseason.

“That’s the toughest place I ever played. It’s so loud, and you can’t even hear anything when the crowd gets into it.” — Former UCLA guard Kyle Anderson

There’s no denying it’s difficult to win at the McKale Center, especially as of late. The Wildcats are perfect in their last 30 contests in Tucson, and with Duke’s loss to Miami at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Tuesday night, the Arizona now has the second-longest active home winning streak in the country, trailing only Gonzaga at 34.

Since it was built in 1973, the Wildcats have won over 83 percent of their games at McKale Center. Besides the 2007-08 season in which they had to vacate wins because of NCAA infractions, they haven’t had a losing record at home since the 1982-1983 season. They have had an unblemished record at the McKale Center 11 times, including a 71-game home winning streak that spanned from 1987-1992. It is also 10th-best home-court winning streak in NCAA history.

With its nearly full capacity every time the team takes the floor, the arena has led its conference in attendance every year since 1985, with an average attendance of more than 14,000 the last two seasons. Renovations were complete before this season, making the current maximum capacity at the McKale Center at over 14,600 people.

Kansas took the top spot in Goodman’s list and he said it was a “no-brainer.” Gonzaga even cracked the top 10, though they only have an arena that holds 6,000 people.