The Cougars built their house upon the ROC

And the house on the ROC stood still.

Baylor's Ja'Kobe Walter shoots a free throw while facing BYU's ROC
Baylor's Ja'Kobe Walter shoots a free throw while facing BYU's ROC / Chris Gardner/GettyImages
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"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a ROC:"

Matthew 7:24

I often hear fans of the NBA rhetorically ask, "Why should anyone watch college basketball when the NBA is so much more talented?" Ignorant statements like those cause me to recall the bewildered wisdom of Avatar: The Last Airbender's Uncle Iroh: "How could a member of my own family say something so horrible?"

To the casual observer, that abhorrent generality may seem merited. Professional basketball must be a superior product to amateur hoops, right? Kids who are just beginning to shave on one end, and James Harden on the other. What makes college hoops so special, and why has Provo, Utah become a premier destination in the NCAA basketball landscape?

The best reasons to watch NCAA basketball are the traditions and passionate fanbases. Student sections with coordinated cheers, deafening screams, and a tangible presence can make even the most boring basketball games become a must-see event. The buzzing energy that fills venues like Cameron Indoor Stadium, Allen Fieldhouse, Rupp Arena, and so many others is envigorating, even galvanizing.

This season, the Marriott Center on the campus of Brigham Young University has garnered national recognition for its rowdy fans, palpable atmosphere, and the obvious home-court advantage provided to the BYU Cougars basketball team. The team is greatly overachieving in BYU's first season as a Big 12 program. Only one year removed from a sub-.500 season in the much weaker West Coast Conference, the Cougars are the current owners of a winning conference record (fingers crossed that continues). Beyond the excellent performance of the team, BYU's student section has made the Marriott Center nationally recognized as one of the most intimidating road venues in all of college basketball.

The BYU student section, the Roar of the Cougars (ROC) have been the dementors of college basketball, seeking out its prey and stealing the soul out of the helpless victims of their suffocating atmosphere. Road foes should abandon all hope of escaping with a win and should be grateful to leave with their souls.

"You can exist without your soul, you know, as long as your brain and heart are still working. But you’ll have no sense of self anymore, no memory, no . . . anything. There’s no chance at all of recovery. You’ll just — exist. As an empty shell. And your soul is gone forever . . . lost."

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter
BYU Student Section, ROC
Gazing into the ROC is like staring death in the face / Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Fuller from ESPN 960 recently said, "College BB talking heads like Seth Greenberg and Jay Bilas have recently said that the Marriott Center is the toughest road environment in the Big12" For BYU to compete in the toughest conference in basketball, they'll need every advantage they can get. In addition to the elevation and additional traveling, road teams are struggling to keep up with BYU in their house, BYU's lone home loss this season was against 4th-ranked Houston (who is now number 2 if that matters).

For all those ignorant NBA fans who thoughtlessly cast college hoops aside, I say to you that while the best athletes in the sport play NBA basketball, the game's greatest venues belong to college basketball. BYU has built their house upon the ROC and the house on the ROC fell not.

"And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a ROC."

Matthew 7:25

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