Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Best Arenas in America...

Allen Fieldhouse (Kansas)
I know I've suffered some hearing loss in this building. The old barn feel of this place is so nostalgic that it's hard to envision Kansas ever losing here.

Cameron Indoor Stadium (Duke)
The press row seats are a fire hazard and having sweaty students literally drip on you isn't pleasant but the atmosphere rocks.

Mac Court (Oregon)
The talk of dumping this relic and building a new spot downtown should stop. The overhang balcony has a theatre-like feel and the noise level, as well as the humidity from the moist air can make for an imposing home court.

Maples Pavilion (Stanford)
I know they've redone the place but I'll never forget interviewing Mike Montgomery amid crazed Stanford students, bouncing up and down on the springboard floor and being forced off my feet after Nick Robinson's 3-pointer beat Arizona last season. Trying to write on press row was a constant circus, as your pen would jump whenever a player passed or the fans continued to stomp.

The Palestra (Penn)
I'm not local to the city but I've been converted to the history of this joint. The love affair this city has with its D-I college hoops comes together at this shrine. The viewing from press row is perfect, although your back will likely be aching sitting on the bench seating. It's hard not to enjoy a game in this venue.

Gallagher-Iba Arena (Oklahoma State)
It's hard to believe I haven't been to this house just yet. I'll be there for Texas-OSU on March 5 to get this off my list.

Memorial Gymnasium (Vanderbilt)
The unique position of the benches and Vandy's usual home-court dominance make this a must see.

Hilton Coliseum (Iowa State)
Every game that is broadcast from this venue is crazed. You wonder how the Cyclones would ever lose a home game.

The RAC (Rutgers)
Big East coaches talk about how tough a road game this is for them so I've got to experience it first hand.

Bud Walton Arena (Arkansas)
If Stan Heath can get the Hogs going like Nolan did, then this will once again be one of the toughest stops in the country and I'll have to go see it to cross it off my list.

Pat Forde
Cameron Indoor Stadium (Duke)
Wonderfully quaint building where the home school buys into the wonderfully quaint notion that the student body deserves the best seats. And the student body responds by creating the best atmosphere in the game.

Bud Walton Arena (Arkansas)
Doesn't rock like it used to, but during the "40 Minutes of Hell" salad days the atmosphere was incredible. Great pep band and adults in Hog hats top it off.

Freedom Hall (Louisville)
The home team puts 19,000 in the stands every game, and the sideline seats offer the best sight lines in America. As the site of six NCAA Tournament finals, it's hard to beat the building's history.

Assembly Hall (Indiana)
In an era of tricked-up sound systems, luxury boxes and excessive audiovisual bling, this is still an old-school gym. You walk in and immediately smell the popcorn. And when the Hoosiers play well, it's really loud.

Rupp Arena (Kentucky)
Worth the trip just to see the banners in the rafters. And you never know when Ashley Judd is going to turn up in the stands.

The Palestra (Penn)
I've heard so much about the history of the place that my basketball life wouldn't be complete without a trip.

Gallagher-Iba Arena (Oklahoma State)
Some people say this is the loudest gym in America.

The Pit (New Mexico)
Other people say this is the loudest gym in America.

Mac Court (Oregon)
Cool throwback gym.

McCarthey Athletic Center (Gonzaga)
Didn't get to see the old Kennel, so this one will have do.

Fran Fraschilla
The Palestra (Penn)
Nothing better than eating a pretzel with mustard and watching a Big 5 game here.

Allen Fieldhouse (Kansas)
It doesn't matter if they are playing UMKC or Oklahoma State, the fans feel like they are breathing down your neck.

St. John Arena (Ohio State)
The home of Lucas, Havlicek, Kellogg and (Jim) Jackson, this place had atmosphere. The balcony seemed to overhang the court.

The Pit (New Mexico)
I had a couple big wins here, but not as many as Bob King and Norm Ellenberger. You had to be in great condition to walk up the ramp from the floor.

Gallagher-Iba Arena (Oklahoma State)
Once a great old building, the renovation and expansion has made this place twice as great (and less old).

Hinkle Fieldhouse (Butler)
The place where Jimmy Chitwood made his clutch shot in Hoosiers and the home of a good mid-major.

Mac Court (Oregon)
I hope my travels take me there some day.

Breslin Center (Michigan State)
The Izzone is a classy and enthusiastic student section.

Kohl Center (Wisconsin)
Any place with 38 wins in a row must be special. Will it continue?

Dahlberg Arena (Montana)
The place where Jud Heathcote and Mike Montgomery made their reputations. I love Montana and Grizz fans love their basketball.

Jay Bilas
All-Time Best: Cameron Indoor Stadium: I played there for four years, and was an assistant coach there for three, and there is no other place like it. Where else can world class athletes be intimidated by an unruly mob of MENSA members? As good as it is now, it used to be better (with the exception of the Speedo guy). It was dark and hot, the crowd would throw tennis balls back and forth during warm-ups, and some of the chants were politically incorrect to say the least. The best places in the country have real character, and Cameron has character. The only place I have been where the players routinely laugh at what the crowd is doing.

The Palestra (Penn)
I played there, and it is one of the true gems of the sports world, right up there with Wrigley Field.

Allen Fieldhouse (Kansas)
The Phog just oozes tradition. It's great for a game, and equally great when it is empty. Awesome.

Assembly Hall (Illinois)
Every game I have ever seen there has been a great atmosphere and rocking. The most underrated venue in college basketball.

The RAC (Rutgers)
The Scarlet Knights play great there, and the crowd is right on top of you and intimidating. A friend said to me at the RAC: "If the Pistons and Pacers had their fight here, they wouldn't have dared to go up into the stands!"

Gallagher-Iba Arena (Oklahoma State)
The Cameron of the midwest. One of the finest collegiate Halls of Fame I have seen. Strong.

Reilly Center (St. Bonaventure)
I played there once, and saw a bunch of games there. Cold outside, hot inside, and a tough place to play when the Bonnies are good. Some similar qualities as the RAC.

Williams Arena (Minnesota)
Elevated floor, overhanging upper deck. Just a great old barn.

Memorial Gymnasium (Vanderbilt)
I played there, and love this place. Clever students, elevated court, and the benches are on the baselines. Odd and character-filled.

Hec Ed (Washington)
Renovated and a great atmosphere. People in purple are making that house jump.

UD Arena (Dayton)
Few places have had as many NCAA Tournament games, and UD Arena houses some of the most passionate and knowledgable fans in the college game. A real gem.


Came across your blog today. Good stuff. Enjoyed your thoughts on the Best Arenas.

Noticed you are a college basketball fan. Hoping you could add a blogroll link to my College Basketball Blog, http://collegeball.blogspot.com. I'd greatly appreciate a link on your site.

And would gladly return the favor, adding a link from my site to yours.


Yoni Cohen, College Basketball Blog
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