Sometimes the crowd at Rupp Arena gets disrespected. In part because of its average age in the lower arena and in part because of its bedazzled sweater-to people ratio, sometimes Rupp gets very little credit for being an intimidating environment. And it is certainly true that for a random weekday game versus Lafayette, the crowd might be half asleep. But for a big game, Rupp rocks and opposing players know that. Former Tennessee guard Dane Bradshaw was asked about what road arena was the toughest in the SEC, and after giving lip service to the Rowdy Reptiles, he came forward with his true feelings:
It’s definitely Rupp. At Florida, they’re going to say anything and everything to you and they’re creative. They might say something about your mom, your sister, whatever, but the students make it personal. Sometimes that gets players distracted. Other times it can get them more ready to play. Teams and players are so friendly with one-another that it’s just not as personal as an old-school rivalry. When the fans bring that out of you, it can be a positive. That’s how it was for us at Florida. But as far as the toughest to overcome, it’s Rupp for sure. You might see a whole section of thousands of people who look like they’ve been retired for 10 years and you’d never think they can get that loud, but they can. It’s unbelievable. You can’t hear each other talking, you can’t hear the coaches calling out the plays, you can’t hear a teammate call out a back pick. He’s mad at you for not hearing him. You’re mad at him for not saying it loud enough. It can become a disaster.
So go get em’ people who have been retired for 10 years! You are loud, you are proud and when faced with players from the other team who don’t respect your vocal volume, you bring the noise. We are elderly UK!