Stadium Journey | College Basketball Arena Rankings




Editor-in-chief at hookemreport
Randy Maltz is a die-hard sports fan, with passion for the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Longhorns. He is Founder & Editor of Silver and Blue Report and Hook 'em Report. He still idolizes Roger Staubach and Tom Landry.


Guest Post from our friends at Stadium Journey
Stadium Journey | College Basketball Arena Rankings
By Paul Swaney – Guest Post Silver and Blue Report & Hook ’em Report

Erwin Center, Texas Longhorns, LonghornsGuest Post:It has taken us four years, and we are very proud to present our rankings of the arena experience for each of the 351 teams that compete in Division I.

Our reviews are based on several categories including: food & beverage in the arena, the overall atmosphere, the neighborhood in which the arena resides, the fans, the access (including traffic, parking, restrooms, and ability to move around in the arena), overall return on investment, and a catchall category for any extras. We use the rating of our correspondent as our primary ranking, with the crowd reviews of our members as the secondary factor. In cases where there is still a tie, we have an internal discussion to determine which arena experience might be slightly better. To read any of the full reviews, just click on the name or picture for each arena.

As with all lists of this nature, there will be debate and disagreement. We welcome your feedback in the comments section, and encourage you to rate the arenas where you have attended a game. Without further ado, we present our rankings for the best overall arena experience in college basketball…

  1. Rupp Arena – Home of the Kentucky Wildcats

    Named for 41-year and 4-time National Champion coach Adolph Rupp, this 23,000 seat venue in downtown Lexington, Kentucky, routinely draws over 24,000 spectators for marquee matchups. The eight NCAA Championship banners hanging from the rafters greet all fans as they enter Rupp Arena and provide a reminder of the history and tradition of the Kentucky basketball program.

  2. Carrier Dome – Home of the Syracuse Orange

    There’s a reason that the Carrier Dome has been called the Loud House. Every game starts the same way. Welcome of the Jungle blares and every fan stands and claps until the first basket by Syracuse is scored. From there, you’ve got the normal ebb and flow of a basketball game, but so much louder than many other venues. The Dome has added brand new HD video boards filled with video highlights and promos while the in game entertainment does not try too hard to take away from the game itself.

  3. FedExForum – Home of the Memphis Tigers

    The City of Memphis has made a concerted (and expensive) effort to improve the quality of the downtown area. The FedExForum has reaped handsome rewards for its choice of location. The arena already had world-famous Beale Street as its North boundary. The Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, the Gibson Guitar Factory tour and the W.C. Handy House Museum are all draws. And now, Beale Street Landing is near completion, right where Beale Street ends and the Mississippi River begins. There is world-famous Gus’s Chicken just 2 streets over from the FEF.

  4. CenturyLink Center – Home of the Creighton Bluejays

    The CenturyLink Center is a wonderful venue for college basketball, but for a great college basketball experience, it takes great fans and Creighton fans fit that description. As an added bonus the venue is located in a fantastic downtown urban setting. Even though Creighton is located in an area of the country known for college football and not basketball, somehow this whole thing works very well and CenturyLink Center should be on the list of any college basketball fan that wants to enjoy a top notch college basketball experience.

  5. Dee Glen Smith Spectrum – Home of the Utah State Aggies

    Attending a game at the Spectrum is something that should be on the bucket list of every sports fan. Although the venue is nestled in a location very much out of the way for non-locals, it is well worth the trip. The student section, which constitutes half of the stadium, fills up fast and all the way to the brim. There is a buzz from the moment the doors open and the famous chants and heckling intended for opposing teams, begins much before tipoff. There is also a great community feel during and after the game. Aggie men’s basketball is something the connects Cache Valley and appeals to all ages.

  6. Phog Allen Fieldhouse – Home of the Kansas Jayhawks

    In these parts, if the University of Kansas men’s basketball serves as a religion to many, then the six-decade-old sports venue is its cathedral where traditions are preserved and history is chronicled. A stroll through the hallway leading to the KU locker room tells the story with banners featuring a series of numbers: 56 conference titles, 16 College Basketball Hall of Fame members, 14 Final Four appearances, five national championships.

    Named after famed coach Dr. Forrest C. “Phog” Allen, the building sits on Naismith Drive, in honor of James Naismith, the founder of the game and the only KU basketball coach to have a losing record. A statue of Allen stands in front of the east side of the building, where the Booth Family Hall of Athletics resides.

  7. Crisler Center – Home of the Michigan Wolverines

    It wasn’t too long ago that Crisler Arena was a functional, but unexciting and dark college basketball venue located next to a Big House. After $100 million in renovations were completed in 2012, the facility was reborn as the Crisler Center. To help celebrate, the 2012-2013 team, led by Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., took the Wolverines to the National Championship game before falling to Louisville, adding another Final Four banner to hang at home. If you have been to Crisler prior to 2012, then it is time to go again, and see what $100M in renovations can do to a sports arena. It is truly something to see.

  8. University Arena (The Pit) – Home of the New Mexico Lobos

    The Pit opened in December, 1966, and has become an integral part of Albuquerque culture. Almost every game is an event. Saint Louis and former Utah coach Rick Majerus has compared the Lobos to the Los Angeles Lakers in terms of importance to their respective cities. The student section is vocal and brings the requisite newspapers to read while the opposing team’s starting five is introduced. Few venues across the country hold a greater home-court advantage than the Pit, thanks to its fans.

  9. Dean E. Smith Center – Home of the North Carolina Tar Heels

    It’s only polished hardwood and Carolina blue, the same as the hallways that were putting your gameday high to sleep a second ago, only now you couldn’t possibly imagine college basketball in any other color. You’ve seen the stills and the videos, decades of archived footage punctuated by legendary names from Phil Ford, James Worthy, and Michael Jordan to Jerry Stackhouse, Antawn Jamison, and Tyler Hansbrough.

    Those first three played in the Carmichael Auditorium, of course, but it looks exactly the same.

    From the museum next door to the promotional movies shown during TV timeouts and down to that Carolina blue, the Dean Dome experience is a baptism in the Tar Heels’ rich basketball tradition.

  10. Frank Erwin Special Events Center – Home of the Texas Longhorns

    Known as “The Drum” to locals, the Frank Erwin Center has been the home of Texas Longhorns basketball for over thirty years now. The arena is located deep in the heart of 50,000 University of Texas students and more than 900,000 residents in the greater Austin area. The convenient location off of IH-35 is within walking distance of downtown Austin and the Capital of Texas complex. With the capacity to seat over 16,000 people the Frank Erwin Center can definitely be quite a rowdy experience during a marquee match up.

  11. Reed Arena – Home of the Texas A&M Aggies

    Aggie fans refer to the school as Texas Aggies, feeling as they are the only true Texas school. The fans have been known to make the banners fall from the ceilings during the Lonestar showdown against Texas at Reed Arena.

    The Pep Band definitely doesn’t disappoint either, playing on par to its reputation. From the custom Yell Leaders instead of cheerleaders to Aggie fans’ passion for the games it is hard to find many schools with more passionate fans. You won’t meet many fans more friendlier and more welcoming to a new visitor.

  12. Marriott Center – Home of the BYU Cougars

    If you were dropped into the Marriott Center blindfolded and asked to guess where you are, you would probably guess a BCS conference school or even a pro arena. Everything from the sheer size of the arena to the volume of the fans (especially the students) gives the feel of a big-time program.

  13. Bud Walton Arena – Home of the Arkansas Razorbacks

    When it came time to replace Barnhill Arena on the University of Arkansas campus, the goal was to create a building that had more seats in less space than the other arena. When the building opened in 1993, the Razorbacks quickly established a strong rapport with their home gym.

    The men’s basketball team rode the momentum of Nolan Richardson’s “40 Minutes of Hell” to a 16-0 home record before claiming the NCAA National Championship in 1994. Heading into the 2013-14 season, the Hogs have enjoyed an overall winning percentage of approximately 80 percent.

    To make a visit to “the Bud” is to take a stroll down Memory Lane and relive all of the highlights that make the building still one of the most feared places to play, while Arkansas fans try to hog call their Razorbacks back to their national powerhouse status once again.

  14. Petersen Events Center – Home of the Pittsburgh Panthers

    Pittsburgh isn’t known as a basketball town, but they love their Panthers. The Pete always has a pretty good crowd, but it is exceptional when they have a big game. The fans provide a consistent noise level that, while not deafening, certainly lets their presence be known. The most impressive part is how few of them leave their seats while the game is being played. Should you need to get refreshments while there, go during a timeout. The concourse is so empty that it’s almost possible to get food and make it back to your seat before the game begins again.

  15. G.B. Hodge Center – Home of the USC Upstate Spartans

    The Hodge Center is…well, let’s just call it “intimate”. The arena seats 818 fans, which means that just about everyone is going to get a great seat to see the action. The only seats with a questionable view are those behind the hilarious Spartan Army, the Upstate student section. The Spartan Army stands throughout the game and certainly makes their presence felt. The students are small in numbers, but quite loud in volume.



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