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Ogre: Batman
Some of you might be saying. "Ogre, haven't you already done this article before? What's the deal?" And to you, I have a few things to say. A) Thanks to both of you for reading the article when I originally made it. B) Why did you remember an article about college basketball arenas? C) Yes, yes I did. Allow me to explain.

This article came when I was publishing my articles Informative Sports. So back then I would post a snippet of each here on FN, and then make the rest after a link. Well, Informative Sports merged with Sports Nickel, and lo and behold, the links containing the majority of my articles no longer exist! So, I've decided to re-post them here on FN in their entirety. Starting with this one. If you missed it the first time, please, enjoy. If you've already read it, read it again. And if you're a spammer, get out. Just leave.

Also, the article has changed some from when it was on IS! MacArthur Court, formerly eighth on my list, has been replaced. So I've moved every arena from nine to fifteen down a spot, and there's now a new fifteen.

I based my criteria on the history, atmosphere on game day and overall "coolness" of the arenas. The ones with the best blend of the criteria made my list. All stats and information is current up to some point last season, as I haven't really updated it. Sure me, I'm lazy.

Without further ado, I present my take on the 15 best arenas in college basketball.

15. Williams Arena

Team: Minnesota Golden Gophers
Nickname: The Barn
Opened: 1928
Capacity: 14,625

Starting off my new and improved list of the top arenas is one that just barley missed the cut last time: The Barn. Minnesota's home court is one of the few in the nation that features a raised court, but is one of a handful on this list with such a design. Maybe I'm biased towards raised courts, or maybe they're just sweet arenas.

The Barn is one of the oldest venues still in use across the nation, and is like few others. The raised court is coupled with an arched ceiling similar to that of an airplane hanger or, shockingly, a barn. Williams Arena has actually decreased in capacity after initial increases, but that doesn't stop a game at The Barn being an intimidating and memorable experience for visiting teams.

14. Dean Smith Center

Team: North Carolina Tarheels
Nickname: The Dean Dome
Opened: 1986
Capacity: 21,750

The Dean Dome now comes in at 14 on my list. There's no doubt, UNC has a storied history. The rafters of the Dean Dome are filled with countless banners commemorating ACC regular season titles, ACC tournament championships and National Championships. But the Dean Dome isn't as intimidating as other venues.

Early on in its history, the front rows of the Dean Dome were awarded to alumnus and boosters. The typical age of those receiving the close seats led to visiting teams getting the feeling that the UNC crowd was a "whine and cheese" type crowd. Recently UNC has begun to change this policy, and the intensity by the students is beginning to rival those of other schools. The Dean Smith Center is impressive, but not quite impressive enough. 14 is where it belongs.

13. Bud Walton Arena

Team: Arkansas Razorbacks
Nickname: The Basketball Palace of Mid-America
Opened: 1993
Capacity: 19,368

The Bud Walton Arena checks in at 13. Although Razorback basketball has fallen on some tough times recently, that hasn't stopped the fans from packing into Bud Walton Arena. In fact, in the first season playing in Bud Walton Arena, the Razorbacks went on to be the NCAA Champions, going unbeaten at home. Since its creation in 1993, Bud Walton Arena has been in the top 15 in attendance every season, with an average finish 8th. No matter if the team is good or bad, Razorback fans show up to show their support.

Bud Walton Arena's design is unique in itself. For its type of building, Bud Walton Arena has more seats in less space than any other building in the world. This unique fact contributes to the noise level, as The Basketball Palace of Mid-America is constantly seen as one of the ten loudest arenas in college basketball. While the team inside may not have the history of other schools, Bud Walton Arena's features put it on this list.

12. Pauley Pavilion

Team: UCLA Bruins
Nickname: Nell and John Wooden Court
Opened: 1965
Capacity: 12,892

Pauley Pavilion is an out-dated, run down court. It's scheduled for a massive upgrade, and it desperately needs it. But still, Pauley Pavilion belongs on this list. And it's because of the history of the court alone. A trip to Pauley Pavilion to watch the game begins and ends with the image of legendary coach John Wooden pacing the bench. Because honestly, you can't think of UCLA without thinking of Wooden, and you can't see the court without picturing him there.

Pauley Pavilion is also unique in the banners it hangs from the rafters: only National Championships and retired numbers belong. With 11 alone in men's basketball and numerous others from other sports, Pauley Pavilion has as many banners as some of the other arenas across the country. The simple awe of entering Pauley Pavilion erases any blemishes the arena itself has, and puts Pauley Pavilion on this list.

11. Assembly Hall

Team: Indiana Hoosiers
Nickname: Branch McCracken Court
Opened: 1972
Capacity: 17,456

Assembly Hall is another stadium that made it here more so because of the history instead of the court itself. The fans support the team regardless of how they are doing, as almost every home game is sold out and features screaming fans urging their Hoosiers to victory. The stadium is unique, but almost in a bad way: the fact that there are only 10 rows of bleachers behind each basket is a common complaint about Assembly Hall. As such, the majority of the fans watch from the left or right of the court.

The arena also shows off the storied history of one of the greatest programs in college basketball history. Banners show off the dominance Indiana has shown. Visiting teams feel somewhat awed by the knowledge of the history of the building they are entering. Pauley Pavilion may have more of a history, but Assembly Hall is in much better shape. As such, Assembly Hall was included on my list, a single spot ahead of Pauley Pavilion.

10. Carrier Dome

Team: Syracuse Orange
Nickname: The Loud House
Opened: 1980
Capacity: 33,633

The largest on-campus basketball arena in the nation kicks off the top 10 on my list. Despite being a Syracuse fan, I know there are more historic and more deserving arenas than the Dome. Watching basketball at the Loud House has a different feeling to it. There's no air conditioning, the crowds are huge (setting numerous on-campus records), and there's always the threat of a huge snowstorm rolling in and burying you. But all of that adds to the thrill of Syracuse basketball; it's a different breed then anywhere else in the nation.

The Loud House isn't exactly loud each and every game. Instead, the fans build up over time. While games against Rutgers and DePaul may have average attendance, the fans show up en mass to games against the Georgetown's and the Villanova's. Then, the Loud House truly lives up to its name, as 30,000+ unleash on the visiting team as they try to urge their team to a win. The Carrier Dome is a great stadium, and belongs on this list.

9. Breslin Center

Team: Michigan State Spartans
Nickname: None
Opened: 1989
Capacity: 14,759

Coming in at 9 is the Breslin Center. Michigan State has been flat out dominant at the Breslin Center. That fact alone has fueled fans of Michigan State, and has made games at the Breslin Center a must see. The court itself is a piece of history, as Coach Izzo had the court from the RCA Dome, on which Michigan State won a national championship, installed in 2000.

Regardless of which court opponents in the Breslin center have played on, they've struggled. 19 out of a possible 99 opponents have ever won at the Breslin Center, with only one out of conference opponent winning twice. Michigan State plays well in its top-of-the-line arena, an Arena that belongs in the top ten.

8. Hinkle Fieldhouse

Team: Butler Bulldogs
Nickname: None

Opened: 1928
Capacity: 11,043

The 6th oldest arena still in use has been bumped up to 8 on my list. While Butler may be known as one of the premier mid major programs, Hinkle Fieldhouse has a reputation of its own. Hinkle Fieldhouse has played host to more than just basketball games; numerous presidents have given speeches in it, national track meets have been held, and the famous movie Hoosiers has a scene in it. That's a history for you.

Games in Hinkle Fieldhouse are something special as well. When the time is right, sunlight shines in through the famous east windows and adds a special element to the game. The fans are crazy. The arena is loud and rocking. The team is talented. The stadium is a national landmark. A basketball game at Hinkle Fieldhouse is something special.

7. Memorial Gymnasium

Team: Vanderbilt Commodores
Nickname: The Fenway Park of College Basketball
Opened: 1952
Capacity: 14,316

The Memorial is the most unique arena in college basketball. Everything about the court is different than the norm, from the raised court  to the wide sides to the displaced shot clock to the location of the teams' benches along the endlines. No other arena is the same as Vanderbilt's.

The Memorial Gymnasium is loud, and that fact is enhanced by the fact that is was designed as a concert hall as well as a basketball arena. There are balconies for fans to watch the game from, something found in few if any other arenas. The experience of watching a game at the Memorial Gymnasium is something that can be matched in uniqueness by no other arena, and the experience as a whole is great as well because of the talent of Vanderbilt and the fans that support them.

6. Rupp Arena

Team: Kentucky Wildcats
Nickname: None
Opened: 1976
Capacity: 23,500

Kentucky fans are a different breed of college basketball fans. They will pack 20,000 into Rupp Arena just to watch a Midnight Madness practice. The intensity of the games is matched by few other schools. Kentucky fans expect to win each and every year. They show up to every home game, and urge their Wildcats to victory.

The arena itself isn't all too amazing, but it's still a great arena. There are no luxury boxes in Rupp arena, and no plans to add them anytime soon as doing so would decrease the number of seats and in turn the number of fans who can get tickets. The fans are always loud, and the experience is one you can't miss. Rupp Arena can draw 20,00 plus just for a practice, just because it's Kentucky in Rupp Arena. For that, Rupp Arena belongs on this list.

5. University Arena

Team: New Mexico
Nickname: The Pit
Opened: 1966
Capacity: 18,018

The Pit checks in at number 5 on my list, as it's another unique experience. The stadium is located a mile above sea level, which can be tough for visitors, but was built in a hole below the grade level of the surrounding area. As such, most of the arena is underground, and you climb down into the arena. The lighting in The Pit, to put bluntly, sucks, and adds an eerie glow to the stadium.

Games in The Pit are intense as well. Because of the way the arena was built, The Pit is one of the loudest in the nation. It's also often packed, as The Pit has been in the top 25 in average attendance every single season since it was constructed 43 years ago. Visiting The Pit can also bring back memories of NC State's Jimmy V led upset of Houston, as it took place in The Pit. A game in The Pit is a loud and amazing affair, and the stadium itself is something special.

4. Gallagher-Iba Arena

Team: Oklahoma State Cowboys
Nickname: The Madison Square Garden of the Plaines
Opened: 1938
Capacity: 13,611

OK State's home court is one of the most underappreciated arenas in college basketball. Historically, the white maple court of the arena is the oldest court still in use. Not to mention how basketball crazed fans in Stillwater are. When the stadium was renovated, the renovations occurred around the existing stadium so that basketball games could continue on; the fans refused to give up their basketball. And Krzyzewskiville? Please. OK State has Camp Sutton. Who needs Krzyzewskiville?

There is also two empty seats that are preserved in Gallagher-Iba Arena, forever reserved for the two coaches the stadium is named after. The fans and athletic department of OK State love their basketball and wrestling, and appreciate the history of their school. Gallagher-Iba Arena is a top 5 arena by all standards, and is an arena that doesn't get the recognition it deserves.

3. Allen Fieldhouse

Team: Kansas Jayhawks
Nickname: The Phog
Opened: 1955
Capacity: 16,300

The Rock Chalk Chant echoes in ones memory when they picture a Kansas game, and rightfully so: it's one of the best chants in the nation. Allen Fieldhouse is filled with history and tradition other programs can only dream of. There's the legends that have stepped foot onto the court, the Rock Chalk Chant, the reading of newspapers during the announcement of visiting teams roster; all symbols of the experience found at Allen Fieldhouse.

There's a reason they say "Pay heed, all who enter, beware of the Phog." It's because already great Kansas teams seem fueled by the amazing atmosphere Kansas fans create, and are nearly impossible to beat (Kansas averages slightly under 2 homes losses per season in The Phog). Tradition, history, and level of performance: Allen Fieldhouse has it all.

2. The Palestra

Team: Penn Quakers / Philly 5
Nickname: The Cathedral of College Basketball
Opened: 1927
Capacity: 8,722

Arguably the most important building in the history of college basketball, the Palestra changed the entire history of the sport for which it was built. Fans would cram into the bleachers that had no barrier separating them from the court, and would watch talented Penn teams, double-headers between the Philly 5, and numerous other games. In fact, The Palestra has hosted more regular season and post season basketball games, more visiting teams and more NCAA tournaments than any other arena in the history of college basketball. More history and excitement has been played out on this ancient court than any other arena in the nation.

A trip to the Cathedral of College Basketball is something special. While the quality of the games may not be as impressive as it once was, the arena is still a sight to behold. The days of the Philly 5 double headers have come to pass, but the Philly 5 itself is still going strong. The history of this arena is something that cannot be ignored, and what The Palestra did for college basketball cannot be forgotten either.

1. Cameron Indoor Stadium

Team: Duke Blue Devils
Nickname: Coach K Court
Opened: 1940
Capacity: 9,314

A blend of tradition, atmosphere, and a high-level of play matched by few, Coach K Court tops my list of the best arenas. When you think of a home game for Duke, it's easy to picture the screaming Cameron Crazies that seem to never stop urging their Blue Devils to victory. The dedication of Duke fans is near impossible to match, as evident by the famous Krzyzewskiville that arises outside Cameron Indoor Stadium weeks (sometimes months) before a big game arrives.

The Cameron Crazies make a trip to Durham near impossible to win. Duke has won 77 straight home games against non conference foes, and has even had such a streak reach 95 games during the history of Cameron Indoor Stadium. 83% of Duke home games have ended in a win at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The talent level of Duke combined with the suffocating atmosphere of Cameron Indoor Stadium easily makes a road game against Duke one of the toughest in the nation, and puts Cameron Indoor Stadium first on my list.

And that concludes my list of the Top 15 Arenas in college basketball. For those of you who were too lazy to read the whole thing, or scrolled to the bottom to see the top few first, here's the short version, as well as some statistics about the list.

1) Cameron Indoor Stadium - Duke
2) The Palestra - Penn/The Big 5
3) Allen Fieldhouse - Kansas
4) Gallagher-Iba Arena - Oklahoma State
5) University Arena - New Mexico
6) Rupp Arena - Kentucky
7) Memorial Gymnasium - Vanderbilt
8) Hinkle Fieldhouse - Butler
9) Breslin Center - Michigan State
10) Carrier Dome - Syracuse
11) Assembly Hall - Indiana
12) Pauley Pavilion - UCLA
13) Bud Walton Arena - Arkansas
14) Dean Smith Center - North Carolina
15) Williams Arena - Minnesota

Stadiums By Capacity

0 - 9,999 = 2 Arenas
10,000 - 14,999 = 6 Arenas
15,000 - 19,999 = 4 Arenas
20,0000 and above = 3 Arenas

Stadiums By Conference

ACC - 2 Arenas
Big Ten - 3 Arenas
Big East - 1 Arenas
Big 12 - 2 Arenas
SEC - 3 Arenas
Pac 10 - 1 Arenas
Horizon - 1 Arenas
Ivy - 1 Arenas
Mountain West - 1 Arenas

For those of you who are interested (is there anyone who reads all of the way down to here for my articles?), here's what I had written down about MacArthur Court.

8. MacArthur Court

Team: Oregon Ducks
Nickname: Mac Court
Opened: 1926
Capacity: 9,087

MacArthur Court is the second oldest on-campus arena still in use. It's ancient, in a good way. The locker rooms are in the basement under the bleachers, and they're tiny. The bleachers are practically on the court, and right behind the benches. The fans are so intense that the floor vibrates, the basket almost sways, and the scoreboard that hangs from a few cables seems to sway. The court screams old, and Oregon fans love that.

A game at MacArthur court is an experience nobody forgets. The visiting team won't forget how small the locker rooms were, and how the arena seems to move beneath them. The fans won't forget being right on top of the action, and willing their team to victory. While UCLA may have dominated the Pac 10 and was a team few wanted to play, just as few teams wanted to travel to ancient MacArthur Court to play the Ducks, regardless of talent.
March 20, 2011  05:47 PM ET

Personally, my list goes

1. Cameron
2. Phog Allen Fieldhouse
3. Assembly Hall
4. Hinkle
5. Rupp
6. Memorial

But great read

March 20, 2011  05:49 PM ET

Personally, my list goes1. Cameron2. Phog Allen Fieldhouse3. Assembly Hall4. Hinkle5. Rupp6. MemorialBut great read

Personally, I think the Palestra has to be in the top 3 at the least. But there's no bias at all for your 3 and 4 picks, right?

All kidding aside, thanks for compliment. And your list is pretty good too.

March 20, 2011  06:20 PM ET

Bryce Jordan.

March 20, 2011  06:32 PM ET

Bryce Jordan.

Just barley missed the cut.

Ahead of the Peterson Event's Center.

March 20, 2011  06:38 PM ET

Was standing in the middle of Cameron the other day, went to visit Duke with my son and we got to go on the court

March 20, 2011  06:47 PM ET

The Palestra is fricken crazy.

March 20, 2011  09:46 PM ET

Top 15 Arenas?

Silly Ogre- the ACC only has 12 teams.

Great list though- how many have you BEEN to?

March 20, 2011  09:58 PM ET

Top 15 Arenas?Silly Ogre- the ACC only has 12 teams.Great list though- how many have you BEEN to?

I've been to three of them actually.

University Arena - don't really remember it, I was like 3 or 4 every time I went when I lived in NM.
Breslin Center - saw about five or so MSU games and a globetrotter game. Hated MSU but liked watching the games.
Carrier Dome - I've actually only been a handful of times as long as I've lived here. It's unfortunate, but I enjoy the atmoshphere.

March 20, 2011  10:28 PM ET

Nice, Ogre. Even nicer that you bumped Oregon outta there. I doubt their new tree lined court will make anyone's list.

March 20, 2011  10:31 PM ET

nice blog, Ogre. Very nicely done. Were you trying to suck up, by including The Barn?


March 21, 2011  09:19 AM ET

Nice, Ogre. Even nicer that you bumped Oregon outta there. I doubt their new tree lined court will make anyone's list.

Thanks. I agree, I'm not too big of a fan of their new court. Their old one wasn't really in that great of shape, but it had a uniqueness to it.

nice blog, Ogre. Very nicely done. Were you trying to suck up, by including The Barn?


Thanks. No comment on the sucking up part though, I'll let you think what you wish.

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March 21, 2011  10:26 AM ET

Im slightly biased but MSG and The Spectrum should be on the list. Utah State fans are crazy and the arena is one of the loudest in the country. MSG is the best arena in the country. Period.

March 21, 2011  11:02 AM ET

Im slightly biased but MSG and The Spectrum should be on the list. Utah State fans are crazy and the arena is one of the loudest in the country. MSG is the best arena in the country. Period.

The Spectrum was on my short list, I almost went with it a 15 over The Barn.

But the MSG choice is a good argument. I don't know if, as a CBB arena, I'd put it in my Top 15, but you really can make a case for it.

Comment #15 has been removed
March 21, 2011  11:38 AM ET


You are just being WAY TOO BIASED!! TheDeanDome @ 14? Come on, take your personal hatred of UNC outta the equation for a second. Ya got NM's 'n Vandy's arena's listed ahead of UNC's? You have dropped the ball, BADLY, on this one my friend. And with Cameron at # 1 your true colors are showing!

March 21, 2011  11:38 AM ET

Although good write up, even if I disagree with you.

March 21, 2011  12:38 PM ET

Matta, you should throwdown with Ogre on the topic. It could be epic

March 21, 2011  01:18 PM ET

Matta, you should throwdown with Ogre on the topic. It could be epic

That's not a bad idea there. The only reason I don't TD more often is I figure that just about every topic has already been done and can just never think of a good TD topic.

March 21, 2011  07:50 PM ET

Nice job, Ogre. Great selections on the photos.

Been to "The Barn" a couple of times, but I preferred going to Mariucci Arena across the street.

March 21, 2011  08:00 PM ET

Nice job, Ogre. Great selections on the photos. Been to "The Barn" a couple of times, but I preferred going to Mariucci Arena across the street.

Thanks. That was actually almost the toughest part. It seems every arena has plenty of 300x300 images, but that never seems big enough to show off the arenas.

The Pit only had ones about 600x400 like I wanted empty which sucked, and The Palestra was from 100x800 down to like 200x200s. Best images I could find for each. Ah well.

Glad to hear you enjoyed the article.


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