During the Iowa State - Michigan game on Sunday, I couldn't help but notice how many times the announcers pointed out or made a reference to the ruckus crowd there at Hilton Coliseum. Usually, something like that is just a local reference that announcers lean on, but having seen several Iowa State home games over the last couple years (Oklahoma State and Kansas come to mind), that is a legit great crowd that is loud, engaged, and a total game changer. It affected Michigan, especially the noise level in the last 8:00 of game time.
Looking across the country, there are some great environments to play in. San Deigo State, UNLV, Iowa State, and New Mexico's stadiums have become known has such tough places to come into and play. Looking even at the Big Ten, Michigan State with the Izzone (as we saw against Columbia), Ohio State, Wisconsin in the Khol Center, even Minnesota, and of course; IU and Assembly Hall are all atmospheres that affect the quality of play, and have a psychological affect on their opponents. Even Bradley, a MVC team, had a crazy atmosphere. In all games played at these courts, and others (Duke, Kansas, etc), the announcers always mention several times how crazy the atmosphere is.
I have never once heard anyone say the same about Michigan. It can be described as "loud", but never in the sense that I have ever seen it visibly affect a good opponent (Shot clock games with EMU don’t count). Now, the Maize Rage does a great job (love the Canadian flag for Stauskas), but what steps does Crisler have to take in order for it to be considered a feared environment in College Basketball, or even in the Big Ten? I can think of student section size and location, as well as arena design as possible reasons, but what is stopping Michigan from becoming one of the feared courts of basketball, or, at least to the point where we can affect and visibly rattle an opponent like ISU did to us on Sunday?