Is Durham the home to the best basketball fans in the country?

With the NCAA Tournament almost here, it’s time to figure out what North Carolina city might be the best for college basketball fans.

Thanks to our good friends at WalletHub.com, we learned that not only do we know which city is tops in the state, but that city happens to be the best in the COUNTRY.

But before we tell you which one that is, it’s important to understand what we’re ranking here.

“To find 2022’s top spots for NCAA hoops, WalletHub crunched the numbers on more than 290 cities using nine key metrics,” WalletHub said in their rankings release. “They range from the number of teams per city and the winning percentage of each to stadium capacity and social-media engagement.”

So not only are we talking about success on the court, but we’re talking about stadium environments, social media, and so much more.

“Passion is what makes a good college basketball fan. Enough passion to follow for the team, whether the team is winning or losing,” said Rhema Fuller, Ph.D., Associated Professor, The University of Memphis. “And the thing about passion is that it does not cost much money. Sure, it costs time and emotion – but not a lot of money. A fan who has never attended a college basketball game can be just as passionate, or more than a season-ticket holder.”

College basketball drives a lot of passion. SO much so that businesses lose an estimated $13.8 BILLION due to unproductive workers during the NCAA Tournament. People also wager almost $10 BILLION on the NCAA Tournament. That’s roughly 30 percent more than bets made on the Super Bowl.

One more thing before we get into the rankings: It’s important to note that most of these cities are on here because of their proximity to college basketball. That’s why you won’t find Fayetteville mentioned.

But here we go: The top North Carolina and United States cities for college basketball fans. We’ll do the national Top 10 first, followed by all the North Carolina cities on the list.

  • National Top 10

  • 1. Durham, NC

    Best College Basketball Fans

    There’s little doubt that Duke has the best college basketball fans in the country.

    Was there much doubt that the home of the Duke Blue Devils would be the top spot in the country? No, not really. Unless you’re a UNC fan, in which case you might not like how far down you’re gonna have to go here to find Chapel Hill.

  • 2. Storrs, Connecticut

    Bryant v Connecticut

    UConn has been wildly successful in women’s and men’s basketball.

    The UConn women’s team have been a power for so long, it’s hard to ever imagine a time where they weren’t the class of the sport.

  • 3. Lexington, Kentucky

    Kansas Jayhawks v Kentucky Wildcats

    Rupp Arena is legendary for college basketball.

    The University of Kentucky Wildcats are about the only thing Lexington is known for.

  • 4. Lawrence, Kansas

    Texas v Kansas

    LAWRENCE, KANSAS – MARCH 05: Jalen Wilson #10 of the Kansas Jayhawks reacts during the overtime period of the game against the Texas Longhorns at Allen Fieldhouse on March 05, 2022 in Lawrence, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

    (So if you saw this list earlier…we may have forgotten to put the Jayhawks on here. Oops.)

  • 5. Los Angeles, California

    USC v UCLA

    The bright lights of Hollywood make L.A. a great basketball town.

    With both UCLA and USC in the mix, it’s hard to argue that L.A. wouldn’t be this high on the rankings. Even with some less than stellar years from them in recent times.

  • 6. East Lansing, Michigan

    Purdue v Michigan State

    The Breslin Center makes Sparty a powerful force.

    Michigan State fans are loud and proud of ol’ Sparty.

  • 7. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Temple v Saint Joseph's

    St. Joseph’s and Temple are great Philadelphia rivals.

    This one kind of sneaks up on you. But when you look at the combined college basketball power of Temple, Drexel, La Salle, Saint Joseph’s and Penn, there’s a lot to be said here.

  • 8. Chapel Hill, NC

    Virginia v North Carolina

    Rameses, mascot of the North Carolina Tar Heels, is passed around the student section at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

    Maybe this is a product of a couple down years for the Tar Heels. But that win over Duke last weekend certainly makes up for the loss in these rankings.

  • 9. Fayette, Mississippi

    We are struggling to understand this one. We’ve reached out to WalletHub for an explanation. Because uhhhhh….

    UPDATE: Our friends at WalletHub gave us a little more info on this decision. Fayette, Mississippi is right down the road from Alcorn State University. The Braves are the proud champions of the SWAC and are well noted for their basketball passion.

  • 10. Kingston, Rhode Island

    Rhode Island v Providence

    Rhode Island is a great state with some legendary basketball.

    We’re stumped on this one too. Rhode Island isn’t exactly a power.

  • Other North Carolina Cities

  • 23. Buies Creek, NC

    Surprise! The Camels coming in with a surprise Top 25 ranking. We love us some Roll Humps. The Camels get a huge boost in the ratings thanks to their large arena size, and some strong fan engagement.

  • 49. Boiling Springs, NC

    Gardner Webb v Virginia

    Never underestimate the Runnin Bulldogs.

    The home of Gardner-Webb, a solid hoops community all around.

  • 80. Cullowhee, NC

    Western Carolina has long been a successful program with great fans.

  • 89. Davidson, NC

    North Carolina State v Davidson

    Steph Curry certainly had a big hand in establishing Davidson.

    Wonder what made those little guys from Davidson so successful…hmmm…

  • 97. Greensboro, NC

    UNCG is forever making lives miserable for opponents on the court.

  • 137. Boone, NC

    Never underestimate the fan base of those crazy kids from up in the mountains.

  • 180. Raleigh, NC

    Duke v North Carolina State

    Mr. Wuf has seen better days on the court in Raleigh.

    Where you at NC State fans? Hopefully, you’re doing better than the Pack is on the court.

  • 184. Elon, NC

    Raleigh can’t be feeling too great about nearly being beat out by Elon.

  • 189. High Point, NC

    The Panthers of High Point haven’t been great recently, but their fans are always vocal.

  • 232. Greenville, NC

    Well, at least East Carolina has football going for it. Oh…wait.

  • 252. Winston-Salem, NC

    We’re actually surprised the home of Wake Forest isn’t MUCH higher on this.

  • 257. Charlotte

    You’d think as the largest city in our state the basketball would be more important. Apparently not.

  • 269. Asheville

    There’s apparently other things going on in this mountain town.

  • 286. Wilmington

    UNCW is better than this ranking is giving it credit for. Maybe the kids are more focused on the beach.

  • National Bottom 10

  • 283. Jersey City, New Jersey

  • 284. St. George, Utah

  • No. 285 - Pocatello, Idaho

  • 286. Wilmington, NC

    As previously mentioned.

  • 287. Daytona Beach, Florida

    There are way more important things going on in Daytona.

  • 288. Berkeley, California

  • 289. Evansville, Indiana

  • 290. Montgomery, Alabama

  • 291. St. Paul, Minnesota

  • 292. New Britain, Connecticut