GIA: Toughest Place to Play in Big 12?

Oklahoma State public address announcer Larry Reece introduces Gallagher-Iba Arena as the "rowdiest arena in the country." But is that really true? Do opposing Big 12 players consider GIA the rowdiest and toughest place to play in the conference? This week's Sports Illustrated answers that and other questions in the Big 12 players poll.

Toughest Place to Play
Oklahoma State ... 55%
Players comments: "You can't see the backboards–everything behind them is orange." ... "The student sections are on both ends of the court, and the fans don't sit down the whole game." ... "The way [Gallagher-Iba Arena] is shaped helps them out too: It's just straight up."

  Most Underrated Player
Aaron Bruce, Baylor ... 36% Player comments: "They didn't get to play any nonconference games [because of NCAA sanctions], but he's one of the top guards in the nation, let alone the league." ... "He reminds me of Steve Nash." ... "Put him on a better team, and he'd be destructive."

Dirtiest player
Curtis Stinson, Iowa State ... 36%
Player comment: "He's very handsy. He knows when the refs aren't looking."

  Best Future Pro
LaMarcus Aldridge, Texas ... 45%
Player comment: "His size, his length and his versatility give him a great upside."

Team With the Most Respect for Its Coach
Texas Tech ... 55%
Players comments: "I know if I played for Bob Knight, I'd give him the most respect I could. You can tell by how disciplined his players are that they respect him a lot." ... "He doesn't allow his players to trash-talk."

  Opposing Coach You'd Most Like to Play For
Bob Knight, Texas Tech ... 27%
Players comments: "A lot of people are scared of him. He looks like a mean guy, but people who are well-respected usually respect others." ... "His résumé speaks for itself. He gets the most out of his players."

Opposing Coach You'd least Like to Play For
Bob Knight, Texas Tech ... 27%
Players comments: "He's known for being tough, but he seems to go too far." ... "I've heard too many horror stories about him."

Strongest Player
Joseph Jones, Texas A&M ... 36%
Players comments: "He's one of the most difficult big guys [to guard]." ... "He's a really physical, smart player."

  Best Shooter
Thomas Gardner, Missouri ... 36%
Players comments: "He has great range and the ability to shoot over a defense." ... "He always works hard on both the offensive and defensive ends, and it shows."

Biggest Trash-Talker
Curtis Stinson, Iowa State ... 27%
Players comments: "You don't even have to cheap-shot him to get him to start talking." ... "There's a reason he's known as The Mouth."

Scariest Dunker
Taj Gray, Oklahoma ... 45%
Player comment: "When he gets the ball, I think defenses just want to run away from him. He's fierce-looking too."

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