10 Best College Basketball Arenas to Visit

BY
Nicol
Degenaar
|
July 15, 2021
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Each college basketball team needs a place they can call home. Whether it is an arena, gym, court, or centre, the game has some spectacular venues. Each of these boast their own unique character that reflects the team that plays there. A peek into the world of basketball shows us the role each arena plays in making basketball an experience for players, fans, and enthusiasts. Here is a list of the 10 best college basketball arenas to visit.

1. Allen Fieldhouse

With this being home to the creator of the “Basket Ball” as we know it today, the court is named after James Naismith.

Not only is this a big arena - with a capacity of 16,300 - but also one full of tradition. It is home to the Kansas Jayhawks, the all-time consecutive conference titles leader with a winning streak of 14 years that only ended in 2018. The crowd size leads to an atmosphere and support that has only seen a little over 100 home losses in its 60 years of basketball. The Allen Fieldhouse is definitely a nightmare for any away team.

Allen Fieldhouse, home of the Kansas Jayhawks

2. Stephen C. O'Connell Center

Recently renamed the Exactech arena after a $64,5 million renovation, including adding new luxury box seats and a large hanging scoreboard, this centre is home to the "Rowdy Reptiles". The notoriously passionate fans of the University of Florida Gators saw back-to-back championships in the mid-2000s, and they've never let anyone forget it. An amazing architectural display as you approach the entrance is enough to blow you away.

Speaking of being blown away: before the renovations were done, the original roof was made of inflatable Teflon and blowers. The blowers were there to keep the air pressure on the inside high enough so the roof didn't cave in. Opening the doors resulted in a gust of air helping you out and led to a loss in pressure.

Imagine going to the car once too many times and seeing the roof cave in? Luckily they fixed this with revolving doors!

The Stephen C. O'Connell Center, home of the University of Florida Gators

3. Memorial Gymnasium

The name says it all. Being built in the early 1950’s, it serves as a memorial to the Vanderbilt University alumni who fell in WWII. Built as a multi-purpose arena in mind, the seating arrangement is done in a concert fashion. This provides seats for 14,326 supporters. The court inside Memorial is raised above floor level - but no, you will not see a player fall off the so-called "stage". The hardwood extends well beyond the required dimensions, which gives players a chance to slide way past the boundaries. It has the added bonus of keeping courtside fans out of danger!

The Memorial Gymnasium has played host to the NCAA tournaments a total of 16 times. In 1984, it hosted the SEC Tournament. This edition saw Charles Barkley's "sitting at midcourt" drama after his Auburn Tigers were beaten by the Kentucky Wildcats.

The Memorial Gymnasium, home to the Vanderbilt Commodores

4. Odle Arena

Although this arena has a capacity of only 1500 seats, it boasts a beautiful maple wood floor finishing this NAIA Court. Why is this part of the top basketball Arenas? The Odle is home to Taylor University and "Silent Night". The week before finals week students gather to watch their home team, in complete silence…

That is, until the 10th point. The crowd erupts and rush on to the court celebrating as if the team has just sunk a buzzer beater for the win!

It all ends with everyone singing "Silent Night" together. This tradition makes this one of the best college arenas to visit - and one of the best stadiums of any kind in the world.

Odle Arena, home to Taylor University and "Silent Night"

5. KFC Yum! Center

Situated in Kentucky and being named after the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain restaurants, it is no surprise that McDonald's is not on their vendors list!

The arena has a whopping attendance record of 22,815 for a home game (Louisville Cardinals vs Notre Dame Irish 2013), placing this 2nd in the list of largest collegiate basketball arenas. Adjacent to the Galt House Hotel, the arena held a tournament for 9 teams in November 2020 - yes, during the pandemic - where teams played 18 games in a 10-day stretch. The mad excitement of the Cardinals fans make watching a college basketball game here an unforgettable experience. For sure one of the best college arenas to visit!

The KFC Yum! Center, home to the Louisville Cardinals

6. Charles Koch Arena

Nicknamed "the Roundhouse" due to its circular shape, allowing spectators from almost everywhere the ideal viewing angle. Contrary to the Memorial Gym, the views are close-up and allows everyone to see the Wichita State Shockers in action. Being unique in shape, it also ranks as having one of the best home court advantages in collegiate basketball.

The arena is not only used by the Shockers, but hosts various high school tournaments giving the younger generations an unforgettable experience - and something to aspire to!

The Charles Koch Arena, home to the Wichita State University Shockers

7. Dean Dome

In building this collosus of a centre, 15,000 cubic metres had to be blown/exploded/dynamited away! The builders did not stop there, as the court itself is covered with maplewood leading to a 7-inch thick floor. This ensures no heel or landing can damage the court accidentally.

Featuring three levels of seating with seats as far as 675 feet away from the court, bringing binoculars to a game should be part of your checklist. Regardless of how far from the action you sit, the University of North Carolina Tarheels always put on a show, and their tradition and history make this one of the best college basketball arenas to visit.

The Dean Dome, home to the University of North Carolina Tarheels

8. Carrier Dome

Although it is not a permanent basketball court, it is definitely worth mentioning. Constructed between April 1979 and September 1980, this arena is home to the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team.

The Carrier has the record for the most on campus spectators during an NCAA basketball game. This number stands at 35,446, when the Orange beat Duke 91-89 to secure the home team's 21st straight win of the 2014 season.

The Carrier Dome, home to the Syracuse Orange

9. The Pit

Playing 11m under floor level, the University of New Mexico Lobos step down into the arena at an elevation of 5,100 feet. This leads to the warning signs for altitude sickness dotted around the stadium. The Pit is known for its atmosphere in more than one way, as being one of the top attendance leaders in the nation, you ought to bring your earmuffs when you watch a game here!

Noise levels up to 125 decibels have been measured in the arena, close to the pain threshold for humans. Ouch!

The Pit, home to the University of New Mexico Lobos

10. Rupp Arena

Home to the Kentucky Wildcats, the Rupp Arena has an official capacity of 20,545, which allows it to host not only basketball games, but also concerts. The UK men are the only SEC basketball team playing off-campus, and who wouldn't want to when the venue is the Rupp Arena?

Changing the majority of the seats from multicoloured to blue was a project completed in August 2002. 

Rupp Arena, home to the University of Kentucky Wildcats

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Softball player

NDABENHLE SIBIYA ON NOVEMBER 21, 2020 AT 2:00 PM (Edit)

You don’t join GPA, it a scoring used by American education. Just like we use APS scoring in south africa

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Softball player

NDABENHLE SIBIYA ON NOVEMBER 21, 2020 AT 2:00 PM (Edit)

You don’t join GPA, it a scoring used by American education. Just like we use APS scoring in south africa

REPLY
Softball player

NDABENHLE SIBIYA ON NOVEMBER 21, 2020 AT 2:00 PM (Edit)

You don’t join GPA, it a scoring used by American education. Just like we use APS scoring in south africa

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