If you rattle off a list of the toughest places to play in college basketball you might hear names like Cameron Indoor, Phog Allen Fieldhouse, Assembly Hall, and of course Rupp Arena.
Everyone in Big Blue Nation is familiar with perfection, so it comes as no surprise that John Calipari has yet to lose a game inside Rupp in his tenure as head man (knock on wood). Fifty-five games and counting, with Baylor slated to be the next victim.
There are plenty of teams working their own streak behind Kentucky, with Kansas and Syracuse tied at 25 consecutive wins. Then it drops off to smaller schools like South Dakota State, Southern Mississippi and Montana with only a dozen or so.
One venue you may not hear on that list of toughest places to play is the Joyce Center, home of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish; the next opponent on Kentucky’s schedule. The Cats head to South Bend on Thursday to play in front of what is sure to be a packed house.
Kentucky isn’t ranked No. 1 in the country, but the Irish will certainly hope to play like they are. Since the Joyce Center opened in 1968, Notre Dame has hosted a No. 1 team nine times. Impressively, the Irish have won six of those games.
The latest upset over a top-ranked team came last season when Notre Dame halted the perfect 20-0 run of Syracuse in late January.
Notre Dame is currently 40-1 in the Joyce Center going back to February 2010, with the only loss coming to No. 17 Connecticut last season.
In those last two seasons, the Irish have beaten seven ranked teams in the Joyce Center.
Since the 2006 season Notre Dame owns a 104-7 record on its home court. In that span they have run out separate winning streaks of 45 and 29 games.
Notre Dame started this season ranked, but fell out of the top 25 after losing to St. Josephs in the Barclays Center, 79-70 in overtime. The Irish sit at 6-1 on the season, and Kentucky will be their first real test of the season.
This may turn out to be one of the toughest games the Cats play, going up against a massive home court advantage.