After two seasons full of, well, let’s call them distractions, It looks like the college basketball world is back on track with March Madness in full swing. Stadium Journey is also getting back on track, compiling a rankings list of (almost) every Division One college gymnasium’s gameday atmosphere for the 2021-22 season.
Stadium Journey has reviewed 336 of the 358 Division One basketball arenas on our site. For UConn, St. John’s, and Purdue-Fort Wayne, we’ve reviewed both of your home courts. Our apologies to UC San Diego, Dixie State, East Tennessee State, High Point, Hofstra, Idaho, Idaho State, James Madison, Kansas City, North Alabama, Portland, Rider, Seattle, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Southern Mississippi, Southern Utah, St. Thomas, Tarleton State, UT-Martin, UT-Arlington and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi; we’re going to try our best to get out to your campuses next season.
Arenas are ranked according to our patented FANFARE rating system, which takes into account a facility’s food, atmosphere, neighborhood, fans, access, value, and more. Our current correspondent’s review produces the primary score, with ties broken by crowd reviews (noted in parentheses). Where two or more venues remained tied, an internal discussion of Stadium Journey experts was held to break the tie. It’s a different way of looking at venues that produces some variability in our lists you don’t see elsewhere.
We welcome your input, either by submitting your reviews on our website or by joining the discussion on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We’re sure that your list will differ from ours and we’re fine with that. We feel that’s what makes lists like this great-no two are alike and we can debate endlessly about why we feel the way we do about our favorite gymnasiums.
This is easily the largest rankings list ever undertaken here at Stadium Journey-and we would wager anyplace else. Let’s all settle in and enjoy Stadium Journey’s 2021-22 NCAA College Basketball Arena Rankings!
Marc Viquez – There are college basketball arenas and then there are its cathedrals. The Hinkle Fieldhouse is the latter and entering its eleventh decade the atmosphere gets only better. The Bulldog program continues to rank high on AP Top 25 and provide its fans with winning basketball and an atmosphere that is loud, energetic, and exciting. Hinkle is what college basketball is meant to be and how wonderful is it that near the end of this current decade, the building will be celebrating its 100th anniversary.
Jared Goodman – While a half-empty seating bowl would usually be a detractor at other venues, it is actually a benefit at Madison Square Garden. The more relaxed ambience during St. John’s games, for the most part, provide fans with a chance to enjoy and appreciate the architecture and the history of The World’s Most Famous Arena.
Richard Smith – Finneran Pavilion is one of the most unique looking arenas around. It offers a great place to see some very high-quality basketball in a fun environment. In a world when some basketball arenas are getting larger and more corporate, it is good to know there is a building in Philadelphia that is a true classic hoops hall.
Tyler Huskinson – The Aggie student body is quite frankly what makes the Spectrum a premier venue for college basketball. It is the most ruthless, relentless and organized group of students I have ever seen. Most say it only compares to the Cameron Crazies at Duke University’s Cameron Indoor Stadium. If you haven’t attended an Aggie men’s basketball game, go search it on YouTube and enjoy a small fraction of what goes on at the Spectrum.
Joyce Center Corner View, Photo by Brian O’Sullivan, Stadium Journey.
Brian O’Sullivan – Even though Notre Dame is not located near a major city, heading to campus on a non-football weekend is a great way to catch a basketball or hockey game and see the campus with far fewer people. In short, attending a game at Purcell Pavilion is well worth the cost of admission.
James Hilchen – Many of the Creighton athletes and fans are spoiled, in a good way. CenturyLink Center has great food, a fabulous atmosphere, and the fans are tremendous. It is rarely thought of among the elite arenas in college basketball, but the arena combined with a fabulous downtown Omaha makes any effort to attend a game here well worth the trip.
Joseph Oakes – The Siegel Center is not the largest or best designed college basketball arena, but the atmosphere and sellout streak more than make up for it. A visit to the Siegel Center is definitely a bucket-list item for any college basketball fan. With great basketball and passionate fan support, you will definitely enjoy your visit to the Siegel Center.
Michael Davis – Gallagher-Iba Arena is one of the best basketball facilities in the nation. Every sports fan should make a visit to Stillwater, and visit the arena once known as “The Madison Square Garden of the Plains.” Oklahoma State University does a great job with the venue, as Gallagher-Iba Arena continues to make history, while staying connected to its past. The lower level signage says it all: “Welcome to Historic Gallagher-Iba Arena, Dedicated 1938.”
Chuck Utech – A trip to Cedar Falls to see a Missouri Valley Conference basketball game can be rewarding. With the 2018 trip to the Final Four by Loyola of Chicago, “Hoosiers” images were conjured for folks dreaming of the smaller school defeating large universities. The McLeod Center houses those dreams and passionately puts them on display.
Lloyd Brown – The school made major renovations on the arena in 2014. These changes were all made to improve the fan experience. Seating was replaced and moved much closer to the floor. All seats in the arena are now box seats and are much more comfortable for the fans.
Gregory Koch – Rutgers is a great example of how things can drastically change once your team is actually good. The Scarlet Knights are finally winning and the atmosphere here at the RAC is rocking. Before the game even starts, fans are treated to an interactive light show during player introductions. Using an app on their smartphone, fans can join in and make their flashlights light up and flash in sync in an impressive display. Once the game starts, it can get extremely loud.
Phog Allen Fieldhouse Interior, Photo by Cory Sims, Stadium Journey
Cory Sims – Simply put, nothing matches the atmosphere of the Fieldhouse. In 2017, the arena set a new Guinness World Record for loudest indoor stadium at more than 116 decibels, louder than a jet or chainsaw. And, that’s not with piped in crowd noise or speakers blaring music, that is pure fan jubilation. Every part of game production is practiced and perfected. It is an amazing place to watch ANY game, small non-conference contest or major conference rivalry.
Marc Viquez – The UD Arena is quite the experience for college basketball and goes somewhat underneath the radar to most fans. However, you will never have to tell a Dayton fan, alumni, or student what an experience is like during a home game. UD Arena is as advertised, it gets LOWD.
Steve Ohnsman – This is one of the holy grails for college basketball fans. If you are lucky enough to attend a Big 10 game vs one of MSU’s traditional rivals such as Michigan, Indiana, Purdue or Wisconsin, you will have a memorable experience.
Jason Bartel – The campus area around Don Haskins Center is also a sight to see. All of the athletics facilities are sort of built into a hill, especially the Sun Bowl. Just taking a walk around the area is fantastic, and also to go see Memorial Gymnasium, where the historic season took place.
Paul Donaldson – Kudos to the Ole Miss Athletics Department for dedicating prime area seating to the student body. While they could certainly cash in on sidelines and endline seating, these lower level seats are reserved for students only and wrap from the northeast corner to the west sidelines and back around to the southeast corner. In the first season at The Pavilion, the students have responded to this prime seating by showing up early and being into the game throughout both halves.
Lloyd Brown – The Wofford Terriers have the best home court advantage in the Southern Conference thanks to the opening of the Richardson Indoor Stadium. Its close to the court seating, state of the art electronic graphics package and luxury seating far exceeds what you would expect from a school in one of the smaller conferences.
Daryn Skjefte – The Betty Engelstad Sioux Center is truly a work of art that deserves to be recognized. College basketball is often a tradition for families and friends and this location does not disappoint. The ticket prices are hard to beat, the parking is easy and priced appropriately, and the in-game experience is second to none.
Richard Smith – Whether it’s bringing a newspaper to rustle pre-game, or spying Testudo riling up the fans, you’re bound to have a fun-filled exciting game day experience at Maryland’s Xfinity Center. While it’s not considered a must-visit for college basketball die-hards, the great atmosphere in College Park shouldn’t be missed.
Joseph Oakes – Even though Cameron Indoor Stadium is old, small, and cramped, the experience of attending a Duke game is like one you won’t experience anywhere else. From the sellout crowds to the Cameron Crazies to the product on the floor (which is always good) a trip to Cameron is a must for any college basketball fan.
Andrei Ojeda – The recent face lift to Pauley Pavilion has vastly improved the game day experience beyond expectations. With much wider concourses, improved sight lines, enhancements to the scoreboard, and the various additions that pay tribute to many a great UCLA basketball moment, including the statue of John Wooden, a trip to a UCLA game at Pauley should be on every collegiate hoops fans bucket list (no pun intended).
Marc Viquez – The KFC Yum! Center is not only a magnificent college arena but an ideal home for a professional basketball team for the city. Many multi-purpose arenas might appear similar, but the Yum Center has an identity all its own. Its proximity to numerous eateries, landmarks, and tourist destinations easily propel a Cardinals game for a perfect day, night, or weekend visit for the sports traveler.
Joseph Oakes – The Robins Center is frankly a great venue for college basketball. It is the perfect size for the Spiders, in the middle of campus, and the fan base consistently fills it up. If you are in the Richmond area and are a college basketball fan, it will pay you to make a visit to the Robins Center to catch a game. You will find a great college basketball atmosphere against some great competition.
Lloyd Brown – The University of Georgia has made a serious commitment to its basketball program through upgrades totaling more than $20 million for Stegeman Coliseum. The Bulldogs home since 1964 has been brought into the 21st century with renovated concourses, a state-of-the-art scoreboard, improved lighting and new seating.
Lloyd Brown – The game day experience at Colonial Life Arena rivals the experience you would have at a venue in a much larger city than Columbia. It offers excellent amenities and a quality product both on and off the court. Columbia offers a surprising number of dining opportunities and attractions for fans pre or postgame enjoyment.
Paul Hilchen – As with other sporting events sponsored by the University of Oregon, the buzz in the stands is very impressive. Big game atmosphere is what you can expect when attending a basketball game at Matthew Knight Arena. Of course, the signature feature of Matthew Knight Arena is its unique floor design.
Brandon Gee – An evening at the Cintas Center is everything one would expect from college basketball at this level. A talented team, die-hard fans, improved technology and guest services, and capacity crowds create an experience at a Musketeer basketball game worth the expense.
Chad Minton – With the exception of some minor criticisms, this is about as perfect of an experience as any college basketball fan would want. You will most likely get that same experience if you come to Diddle Arena. The fans are passionate and friendly. There is so much love and loyalty to this basketball program and it is fun to see in person. Other mid-major basketball arenas need to take a page or two from the playbook of Diddle Arena.
Libby Kamrowski – The McCarthey Athletic Center was designed by two brothers, Tom and Phil McCarthey, who graduated in the 1970s from Gonzaga. Nearly five years after the Bulldogs made the Elite Eight for the first time in school history, the McCarthey brothers wanted to give back to Gonzaga in an inspiring, larger-than-life way.
Lloyd Brown – In just a few short years Grand Canyon University has grown to be one of the largest private universities in Arizona. Its athletic programs have grown with the student body, and GCU is now an up and coming power in Division I basketball. Just as important, Grand Canyon is making a difference in the community surrounding its campus.
Lloyd Brown – Chattanooga is a fun place to visit any time of year for a vacation or just a long weekend. McKenzie Arena and UTC basketball should be on your itinerary, as the arena is close to all the main attractions in the downtown area, including the Chattanooga Choo Choo, the Tennessee Aquarium, and the Riverwalk along the Tennessee River.
Jordan Baer – The atmosphere is absolutely phenomenal inside SIU Arena. The Salukis did a good job of renovating SIU Arena so that the vast majority of the facility displayed the team’s color- maroon. The Salukis also did a great job turning an arena that is now almost 50 years old into an arena that is easily one of the best in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Dave Cottenie – The Madhouse on the Mesa is a great spot to see some college basketball. During the winter months, San Diego State basketball is now the biggest game in town and the fans show up in droves. Do not discount the Aztecs since they are not in a Power 5 conference, there is plenty to cheer about and the Aztecs are a force in college basketball.
Dave Cottenie – Crisler Center has seen some significant improvements and fans will not be disappointed in their experience at the House that Cazzie Built. It may not be a basketball bucket list item, but the Michigan Wolverines will provide a pleasant surprise for those attending for the first time.
Lloyd Brown – A trip to Koch Arena in Wichita will reward you with one of the top mid-major basketball experiences in the Midwest. The team’s move to the American Athletic Conference will only heighten the level of competition moving forward.
Patricia Beninato – Pittsburgh as a whole has excellent sports venues and the Petersen Events Center, home of the University of Pittsburgh basketball programs, is no exception to that rule. Its location on Pitt’s campus in the heart of Pittsburgh makes it a great place to see a game, and the lively neighborhood is a draw for locals and visitors alike. Pitt loves the Pete!
Dave Cottenie – The ACC may be a basketball conference known for North Carolina and Duke and Florida State may be known as a football school first, but fans should not sleep on Florida State Seminoles basketball. A great experience at a great price, Florida State will surprise basketball fans who wish to experience a college atmosphere and make fans want to come back for more.
Lloyd Brown – Belmont University and the Curb Event Center play an active role in the Nashville community. The CEC provides a very attractive site for the school’s very successful basketball program, while also serving as a center for outreach to the surrounding community in keeping with the school’s mission. It welcomes the public for concerts, inspirational speakers, special events and has twice housed presidential debates.
Sean MacDonald – The experience of seeing a Syracuse Orange game at the Carrier Dome is one that every college basketball fan should enjoy at least once. Domes are slowly disappearing because they are usually terrible places to watch a sporting event. Here, however, the opposite is true, due mostly to the fantastic fan base, but also to the unique setup where only half the venue is used.
Lloyd Brown – In just a short period of time, USC Upstate has come a long way to having a very competitive athletic program at the Division I level. The student body is growing by leaps and bounds and the Carolinas are rich in athletes, especially in football, baseball and basketball.
Joseph Oakes – Virginia Tech fans are known for the passion for football, but their passion for basketball is no less. For ACC games expect close to a capacity crowd each game. And did we mention the Cassell can get loud? The steepness of the seating bowl and the close confines of the building make it loud when the fans get into the game.
Joe Rogers – Lafayette does a tremendous job of incorporating the “new” with the “old’ as they showcase a completely modernized lobby, bold with the maroon and white school colors and logo and blend it superbly with athletic trophy cases and a Hall of Fame exhibit honoring its past in the vintage hues of its history all under bright lights that make it a great gathering area.
Brian O’Sullivan – While it might not be in the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, Carnesecca Arena is an overlooked gem of college basketball. With its intimate setting and passionate fan base, it is a great place to catch in some quality basketball if you ever find yourself in New York City.
Marc Viquez – One of college sports iconic venues has only gotten better. It will continue to provide Hoosier basketball fans everything it has had in the past-a dominating place for opponents to play in, school traditions, the frenzied student section, and championship caliber basketball. An instantly recognizable facility at any level of sporting competition in the world.
Marc Viquez – It’s a big arena to just host college basketball and hockey. When you are outside the Kohl Center, you probably think it’s the size of an NBA arena. While the capacity isn’t necessarily as high as a professional arena, the Kohl Center still is a large arena for college athletics.
Ashvin Ladd – With a very modern look on the outside, Wintrust Arena is a two-level stadium with a standard bowl seating layout on the inside. The seats are very comfortable with decent legroom and rows high enough to provide good sightlines for even the shortest of fans. The court, which is very close to the seats, displays a nice rendering of the Chicago skyline which faces the east side of the court (opposite of the team benches).
David Mortimer – The family-friendly feeling you get from the concessions is consistent when you make your way to your seat. A very tight circular seating pattern (all chairs, no bleachers) offers closeness to the court while still being a classy facility. In other words, you feel an upgrade from the “high school gym” atmosphere many expect from a low-to-mid-major conference setting.
James Hilchen – Iowa is very much a wrestling and football state. Knowing that going in, I wasn’t expecting much out of Hilton Coliseum. My assumption couldn’t have been more wrong. Hilton Coliseum is a great place to watch a basketball game. The fans are into the game and are especially loud when the situation dictates.
Bill Kintner – Have you ever seen a “white out” where all the fans where white? Well, today it was a “maroon out” with almost all the fans wearing maroon. It was impressive and I do not think that on this Saturday there was a better college atmosphere anywhere in the country. Part of the wonderful experience is due to the staff, from ticket takers to policemen to ushers to concession workers; they treat you like they are glad you are there. You will not find this at every venue.
Lloyd Brown – The colors permeating the arena are also visually appealing. The seating areas are black, which makes the gold and purple of everything else really pop out. There is a huge Golden Eagle at midcourt and the school name on the borders of the baselines.
Paul Baker – The XL Center has its share of critics, particularly those who feel that Hartford deserves another NHL team. Countless studies and plans for a new downtown arena have circulated for decades, making this arena a political hot potato, but the XL Center continues on. With the school holding many of their marquee games downtown, the XL Center gives New England hoops fans a rare taste of big-time college basketball.
Josh Oakes – The UT Dance Team is absolutely phenomenal. At most college basketball games, the dance team is used as more of a filler than anything else. The dance team here is actually good, really good. They are much more than just a filler, so pay attention during the time outs.
Chris Green – The next time you are in Florida and looking for a college basketball experience, one shouldn’t skip Alico Arena. While Florida Gulf Coast University may not be on every fan’s radar for top-of-the-line college basketball, it should be. The facility, while small, is powerful and comfortable, and the fans are among the best in the state.
Lloyd Brown – Though JSU has been known more as a “football school,” you would not know that when you look at an arena filled with the red-clad Gamecock faithful. The student area, known as the Cock Pit, does everything it can to distract the opposition’s free throw attempts and celebrates wildly with every three-pointer made by the home team.
Chuck Utech – A trip to Carver-Hawkeye Arena is an enjoyable experience. Reasonable pricing, fun and passionate fans make this a great spot to see a game. The Iowa City area is excellent with plenty of outside activities available for those looking for a full weekend.
Christian Shimabuku – There is no bad seat in the Stan Sheriff Center. Unlike other venues, no seat obstructs your view of the game. Each seat is comfortable with cup holders on each side. At the same time, the atmosphere brings an intimate feeling, but one that’s never quiet. The arena boasts a state-of-the-art scoreboard that was built in 2011 and has an LED scoreboard.
Nolan Searl – The video board that hangs over the court plays host to a variety of promotions and entertainment activities throughout the game. Dance cams, kiss cams, you name it. Just be sure to stick around for the taco cannon from Voodoo Taco, a restaurant right across the street from the arena.
Lloyd Brown – The College of Charleston has a long and storied history of success in basketball. As a result, it plays in one of the finest arenas you will find at a small school at the Division I level. TD Arena is first class in every way, and it is easy to see why players being recruited by the school are blown away when they see the facilities.
Lloyd Brown – Any trip to Tiger Town can be intimidating. The main sports venue of Tiger Stadium (football), Alex Box Stadium (baseball) or the Maravich Assembly Center (basketball) each create a decibel level that makes it hard for visiting teams to communicate. The purple and gold color schemes that are predominate in these buildings will constantly remind you that you are competing against sports royalty.
Lloyd Brown – As it nears its 70th year of use, Memorial Gym remains one of the most intimidating places to play in the SEC. The elevated floors, the positions of the benches at the ends of the court and the acoustics of the building all work together to the Commodores favor. A visit to Music City is not complete without a visit to this shrine of Southern basketball.
Jared Goodman – The history that Penn has both written and witnessed at The Palestra is what makes it a venue that should be at the top of your bucket list, college hoops fan or not. Whether the Quakers win or lose, you will not regret seeing a game at The Cathedral.
Matt Fiedler – While most people think Boston is the place to go for sports in New England, Providence holds its own. Providence College basketball has had a great impact on the city, state and the college basketball landscape as a whole since it led to the formation of the Big East Conference. The Dunk may not be a legendary venue, but it is definitely a fun environment to take in some high level Division One basketball.
Paul Jones Arena Warmups, Photo by Harrison Huntley, Stadium Journey.
Jared Goodman – At times, it may cost you an arm and a leg to pay John Paul Jones Arena a visit. However, it’s definitely worth it in every respect. The home court of the historic University of Virginia should be heralded as one of the best venues in the ACC, if not all of college basketball. Put this place on your bucket list.
Gregory Koch – GW does a good job at keeping fans entertained during breaks in the action. There is a decently-sized band called the Colonial Brass as well as recorded music played during timeouts. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the costumed mascot is a cartoonish version of George Washington, who roams the crowd throughout the game interacting with fans. There are also cheerleaders and a dance team called the First Ladies.
Jon Hart – Columbia, President Obama’s alma mater, plays their home games at the modest, 2,700 seat Francis S. Levien Gymnasium. Located in Morningside Heights, a twenty-minute subway jaunt from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden, Levien only offers good seats and better seats.
Gregory Koch – Although the legendary Hoyas’ programs of the 80s and 90s are no more, and the Big East isn’t what it used to be, Georgetown is still by far the best college basketball program in the District of Columbia. A visit to Capital One Arena is truly a must for any college basketball fan in the area.
Dave Cottenie – A trip to Exactech Arena at Stephen C. O’Connell Center is not a mecca experience however, fans will be pleasantly surprised at just how good the experience is. Gators basketball offers a great return on investment and a whole lot of fun that the whole family can enjoy.
Richard Smith – Mount St. Mary’s can often be forgotten about because of its seemingly isolated location, but a basketball fan needs to make a visit as high quality Division I basketball is being played in a very comfortable arena, at amazingly cheap prices.
Will Halpern – Appalachian State is known for two main things: a picturesque campus and a nationally prominent football program. The basketball team is looking to capture the success of their neighbors on the gridiron, and while both the Holmes Convocation Center and their NCAA Tournament drought has lasted two decades, the program is trying to reach new heights in the High Country.
Eric Moreno – The renovations have given the Cougars facilities which are on par with anyone in the country. It’s great to see the fans back and passionate about the program, as well. If you’re a college hoops fan, this is definitely a stop you should add to your bucket list, as it has to be seen to be believed.
Dave Cottenie – Kentucky Wildcats basketball is most definitely a bucket list item for any college hoops fan. A trip to Rupp Arena gives fans a taste of what the Bluegrass State is all about. However, fans must be prepared to pay for the experience. If you can get past the price tag, then you will not regret the experience!
Dave Cottenie – Although the most glorious of glory days for the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels are behind them, the Rebels are still very relevant not only in the NCAA, but also in the crowded entertainment market of Las Vegas. Although the saying goes that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, fans who attend a UNLV basketball game will have a difficult time keeping their experience to themselves.
Lloyd Brown – The best way to describe the atmosphere and feel of Williams Arena and a Golden Gophers basketball game is “old school.” This is meant in a very complimentary way, as the University of Minnesota realizes it has a historical treasure on its campus and does not want to detract from that. The arena looks very much like it did back when it was built in 1928.
Marc Viquez – Mackey Arena is one of the many reasons why people love their basketball in Indiana. A classic arena that has served many memories was rebuilt with 21st-century comfort and charm. An evening watching Boilermaker basketball is one of the reasons why basketball is king in this past part of the country.
Joseph Oakes – Upon entering the Constant Convocation Center, one is immediately met with a tremendous sense of ODU pride. In the main lobby area, there is a Hall of Fame area with memorabilia from past teams and championship trophies.
Paul Baker – At Stadium Journey we often talk about teams playing in a “right sized” facility. Cal Baptist has done their basketball team right by building a 5,000-seat venue right on campus. Featuring a simple design with plenty of modern touches, this hidden gem is an outstanding, affordable place to catch some quality college basketball.
Josh Eastern – New York City may have better-known venues to watch basketball games, but a trip to Riverdale to watch the Jaspers is worth your time. It may be out of the way of the bright lights and big city, but it’s a beautiful campus and a special place to see really good basketball.
Chad Minton – It is a very positive experience at CFSB Center that may exceed your expectations. You should certainly plan a visit if your team has an upcoming game here, or if you’re just in the area and enjoy seeing high quality basketball in an intimate college basketball arena like CFSB Center. Just plan accordingly as CFSB Center is nestled away in the rural area of southern Kentucky.
Brandon Gee – For an arena built in 1968, the Ohio University Convocation Center is a rather decent place to watch basketball. Renovations throughout the years have kept “The Convo” on par with Ohio’s competition and helped maintain a strong home atmosphere.
Dave Cottenie – The Kent State Golden Flashes and their home at the Memorial Convocation and Athletic Center offer basketball fans the opportunity to experience a great NCAA basketball environment for a decent cost. Kent State should definitely be considered when sports fans are in the area and looking for something to take in. If catching some Golden Flashes basketball, fans are to be warned that MACC Mania is in the house and High Voltage is to be expected.
Lloyd Brown – The Mercer Bears basketball program has a rich history going back more than 46 years. Although most people had never heard of the school before its stunning upset of Duke in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, it has won six conference championships and played in eight postseason tournaments since 1972. The Hawkins Arena is a fitting home for Bears basketball.
Lloyd Brown – The arena is nearly forty years old and lacks the space for parking, a team store and other services fans have come to expect. The purchase of the former Turner Field and its large adjoining parking area will allow the program to move into a new Convocation Center in the near future. This will benefit both the recruiting of athletes and also provide a fitting new home for Georgia State University’s most successful intercollegiate sport.
Jason Karp – Though perhaps lacking some of the comforts and flexibility of more modern venues, Dahlberg Arena has held up remarkably well in over 60 years of service. Where other arenas are multi-purpose and can host many different sports and events, Dahlberg exists first and foremost for basketball…and for the continued success of the Grizzly basketball, that’s a really good thing.
Brian Wilmer – If you want to see a good game surrounded by loud fans in an intimate atmosphere, the trip to Boiling Springs is absolutely worth your time. Sure, go visit North Carolina and Duke, but plan an extra day to see this hidden gem. You’ll be more than glad you did.
Chris Green – The FAU Arena experience is one that is something for mid and lower-tier Division I programs to aspire to. The beautiful arena offers top quality comfort and value in a location that isn’t far from major roadways. Situated in a beautiful location near the coast in South Florida, FAU basketball is a great addition to any sports fan’s trip list.
Michael Davis – The revival of SMU basketball, in a renovated classic venue like Moody Coliseum, has brought a lot of exposure and excitement to the Hilltop. The remodeled arena continues to be the place to be seen, so invest in a trip to Dallas and witness the revival of Moody Magic. The basketball atmosphere here is as good as anywhere else in the country.
Lloyd Brown – The University of Alabama has some of the finest sports facilities in the country, and the financial resources to keep them the state of the art. As it nears its 50th year of use, Coleman Coliseum needs serious upgrading to compete in the Southeastern Conference.
Michael Davis – Many colleges have fans that stereotype the school with only one sport, such as a football school or a basketball school. Arkansas fans cover all sports, however – they fill Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium during the fall, then Baum Stadium in the spring. So, it comes as no surprise that Razorback Nation makes Bud Walton Arena, The Basketball Palace of Mid-America, one of the most unique venues at which to watch a college basketball game.
Michael Davis – McKale Center is a must-see for any college basketball fan; the well-seasoned venue has hosted many PAC-10 and PAC-12 championship games as well as numerous NCAA tournament games. Arizona basketball and McKale Center create a great stadium journey visit to Tucson.
Richard Smith – Alumni Hall is a well-designed basketball facility that fits well with its team and fans. Although nearly a quarter of a century old, it holds up well compared to newer sports venues. The unique location and the truly amateur athletes who play there make a visit here very special.
Paul Baker – The Ryan Center is an excellent venue that suffers primarily from its location. Place this outstanding arena in a major city, and the rave reviews would roll in. Nonetheless, it is a great place to catch a basketball game, combining intimacy and convenience. It’s a worthy Stadium Journey for any hoops junkie visiting New England.
Chris Green – If you are looking for a way to get a college basketball game under your belt, visit a campus that is as beautiful as everyone says, and has a rising program with tons of action and energy, then a UM basketball game may be your best bet. Checking off “The U” from your college basketball must-see list is easy to do, and it won’t break your bank.
Richard Smith – This venerable old building with the unique UFO shape is a great place to watch some high-quality basketball. It will be the University of Illinois’ arena for some time to come.
Will Halpern – Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum has hosted some great Wake Forest Demon Deacon players and teams for the three decades it’s been open in Winston-Salem. Recently the team has struggled and attendance is suffering as a result. However, if the team can turn the corner and contend in the ACC, then fan interest will increase and make the building an intimidating place for other teams to play in.
Paul Baker – While Conte Forum certainly gives off a vintage 1980’s-era vibe, it offers everything a Boston basketball fan could ask for: history on display all over the arena, great sight lines, affordability and easy access to public transportation. With Boston College a member of the prestigious Atlantic Coast College, quality teams visit Chestnut Hill every year. It’s a taste of big-time college sports that fans don’t get regularly in these parts, and a worthy Stadium Journey.
Marc Viquez – Valpo games are a community effort that is spearheaded by the supporters in the stands and the team plays on the court. The fan support at each game provides the fuel needed for the Crusaders to play at their best. The ARC is not the fanciest of venues in the world of college basketball but it is definitely one of the more welcoming spots for the sport in the nation.
Joseph Oakes – Despite being in the shadow of three ACC schools, Campbell has done a great job building a consistent winner in the Big South Conference. Campbell University may not be on your list for basketball trips in NC; however, Gore Arena has proven to be a great home-court advantage for Campbell and a visit to the beautiful arena will not leave you disappointed.
Will Halpern – Asheville is a beautiful, vibrant town that draws millions of visitors a year. If you are one of those visitors and are craving live hoops or want an affordable night out, it is worth driving the few miles from downtown Asheville to UNC-Asheville and Kimmel Arena to watch a traditionally successful mid-major program like the Bulldogs.
Meg Minard – While football at Arizona State University is still the predominant sport, the basketball team is making a name for itself. Visiting the Desert Financial Arena is quite an entertaining afternoon or evening out so if in the Phoenix area, make an effort to check it out.
Gregory Koch – Although George Mason rose to prominence after their Final Four run in 2006, over a decade later they have failed to regain much of their former glory. The end result is a 10,000-seat arena that is over half empty most games and a whole lot of empty seats. Although Mason has one of the best pep bands in the country, and the fans who do show up are passionate for the most part, they ought to be doing more to encourage fans to come to games so the place isn’t as empty as it is.
Jay Wagner – The Greensboro Coliseum is one of those places that feels different than others as you see the court for the first time. Some arenas have a unique smell or sound attached to them. The Coliseum instead has a unique emotional feeling attached to it. That feeling comes from knowing how many fans of yesteryear have sat where you’re sitting; doing exactly what you’re doing – experiencing an intense game on the hardwood; writing the next chapter of basketball memories for Tournament Town.
Lloyd Brown – Attending an athletic contest at any service-related school is always a memorable experience and attending a basketball game at The Citadel is no different. The cadets who play in this program qualify as sharpshooters both on and off the court. Games at The Citadel also offer a great deal of pageantry and tradition, both before and after each contest.
Greg Archuleta – New Mexico basketball is relevant on a national level because of The Pit. Though the school has never advanced to a Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament, the basketball team plays to capacity or near capacity crowds at the venue on a regular basis. The success of the program needs to catch up with the popularity of The Pit.
Lloyd Brown – The well – designed Auburn Arena really adds to a great game day atmosphere that starts even before you enter the building. There is a large fan plaza outside the main entrance that allows for pregame socializing and entertainment by the Auburn cheerleaders. The newest addition to the fan plaza is a statue of Auburn basketball icon Charles Barkley.
Benjamin Evanson – Around the arena, there is a beautiful campus, city, and so much to do. If you have the budget, making a trip to Seattle with a Husky basketball game as part of the plan will make for a very fun day. It holds a lot of value to the millions of Husky fans in Seattle, and you are not going to have a bad time going.
Lloyd Brown – Though not as legendary as ACC counterparts Cameron Indoor Stadium or the Dean Smith Center, Littlejohn Coliseum is one of the most contemporary and up and coming basketball venues in the ACC. Recent renovations have greatly improved recruiting and made the Tigers much more competitive in the top basketball conference in the country.
Sean MacDonald – Liacouras Center scores well on our Fanfare scale, as it is located in a great area with easy access and good food options inside (not to mention beer). The main problem is the relative calm in the crowd, but I am sure that this is more exciting when the Owls play a big-time school. If you are in the City of Brotherly Love, consider a visit here to help cheer on the Owls.
Lloyd Brown – From 1988-2018 the Marquette basketball program called the Bradley Center in downtown Milwaukee their home court. In 2018 they moved next door to the brand-new Fiserv Forum, which also serves as the home of the Milwaukee Bucks. The Fiserv Forum was built to replace the Bradley Center, as it no longer met NBA standards for an arena and was the oldest non-renovated arena in the league.
Dennis Morrell – Chaifetz Arena is a first-class arena inside and out in a wonderful city that has a lot to offer. The Billikens have a proud, rich history that is on display throughout the building that is a perfect way to spend a night at a sporting event in a major city.
Steven Burke – The Missouri Valley Conference is synonymous with college basketball, and while not one of the more well-known programs in the venerable conference, the Illinois State Redbirds provide a great game experience in central Illinois. Opened in 1989, Redbird Arena is a 10,200-seat facility on the campus of Illinois State University in Normal, IL.
Sean MacDonald – Laramie is not an easy destination to reach, but Arena-Auditorium is definitely worth a visit. The history on display is fantastic and educational, while the building itself is unique in many ways. Just try to go when there isn’t a snowstorm passing through.
Samuel Watkins – Two hours with the Cleveland State basketball team is a great appetizer to a night out in downtown Cleveland, especially if you can pair it with a Cavs or Monsters game. The team is competitive and well-coached, and the arena experience is unique with an above average return on investment.
Conrad Klank – As a comfortable venue to watch college basketball, one that has good sightlines, competitive play on the court and most of the amenities of a very good college arena, Wright State is first class. They just need another 2,000-3,000 fans at each game to make it really come alive.
Photo By Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey
Lloyd Brown – In an era of disposable stadiums and frequent tear downs, the UW – Milwaukee Panthers Arena is a great example of successful historical preservation. It is not only surviving, but thriving, as it is in use nearly every day of the week by a different sports franchise.
Lloyd Brown – Furman University is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the South. Its beautiful campus is primarily defined by nature, but its consistent architectural design also is an attention grabber. The exterior of Timmons Arena is well matched with the surrounding academic campus. Once inside the arena you will be in ‘purple heaven.”
Marc Viquez – A pleasant surprise can be found at a Bradley Braves game at the Carver Arena. The fans make it an enjoyable experience that has all the fixings of a college hoops venue. The prices are low, the neighborhood enjoyable, and the fans are knowledgeable. What more can you ask for?
Connor Comeau – While not a bucket list arena, the Marriott Center is definitely an arena you should visit if you are ever in Provo for a game. With the renovations complete, the interior has more of a modern look, which you will be hard-pressed to miss. With its recent success, don’t expect BYU to fade anytime soon.
Eric Taylor – The game presentation is traditional without being boring. It’s also creative, while at the same time paying homage to small-college basketball. Intimate, yet grand enough to be intimidating if the building is full.
Sean MacDonald – LMU lacks the national profile of other LA-based schools, but their gym is creative and different in many respects. Don’t overlook the Lions next time you are in LA, as they provide an equally entertaining alternative to some of the bigger college programs in the city.
Andy Mantsch – Basically, this is a prototypical great small school atmosphere. The passion, the venue and the setting combine to make a trip to UCSB to see the Gauchos a very worthwhile investment.
Gregory Koch – Burr Gymnasium is a great venue to watch a basketball game. It’s enjoyable, affordable fun for any fan living in or visiting the D.C. area. Throw in the possibility to see two games for the price of one and it can make for a full day of hoops in an intimate setting.
Andrei Ojeda – Given the venue’s small capacity, you will never be far from the action. While the commute to Firestone Fieldhouse can take a toll if done regularly, the scenery surrounding the campus and an enthusiastic atmosphere for the home team will certainly be a more than rewarding experience.
Jared Goodman – While Charlotte may be overshadowed by their larger in-state ACC counterparts, the Gold and Green have not only a loyal following, but a great venue for their fans to enjoy. You’ll find a night out at Halton well-spent and thoroughly enjoyed, even if the team doesn’t always take home the W.
Paul Swaney – I have personally attended a game at nearly every basketball arena in the MAC, and Savage Arena is one of my favorites. The renovations really turned out well and have produced an excellent home for the Toledo Rockets and their supporters.
Gregory Koch – Sojka Pavilion is one of the top basketball venues in the Patriot League. Whether it’s the fans packing the building, the fantastic pep band, or all the displays honoring Bucknell athletics, this is an experience not to be missed for basketball fans in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, getting to the arena can be a huge challenge for many reasons, some within the school’s control, some not, but once you’re here, you won’t regret.
Michael Davis – FedExForum is a beautiful structure that provides all the amenities that sports fans crave, and the arena is on the footstep of Memphis’ touristy Beale Street, providing college basketball fans with an experience that other campus arenas can’t provide before or after the game. The Memphis Tigers have a beautiful basketball facility, and any college basketball fan should visit FedExForum for a Tigers game.
Michael Davis – Avron B. Fogelman Arena in Devlin Fieldhouse is a hidden gem to watch basketball. Being in New Orleans is a great reason to make a trip to the arena. Devlin Fieldhouse is the 9th oldest active basketball arena in the country, yet, it doesn’t have the prestige of Kansas’ Phog Allen Fieldhouse or Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Joseph Oakes – Basketball is king on Tobacco Road. While PNC Arena isn’t what immediately comes to mind when thinking of great ACC venues, it is still a fun and exciting place to catch a game.
Andrei Ojeda – From San Jose to San Francisco, the Bay Area is full of entertainment options. Stanford basketball is one of the more affordable options along the way. If you’re a college basketball fan, a trip to Maples should be on your to-do list. You get to be entertained throughout the game by the ever so irreverent Stanford Band along with their famous, or infamous Tree. Really, it’s an experience that needs to be witnessed live at least once along your Stadium Journeys.
Richard Smith – The Bob Carpenter Center is a very nicely designed arena for a mid-major basketball program. If the crowd were to come support the team a bit more the building could be an intimidating place for opponents to play.
Michael Davis – A visit to Chapel Hill, the UNC campus, and the Carolina Museum is a step back into history. The Dean E. Smith Center is home to one of the most prolific college basketball programs in the country. The Dean Dome may disappoint fans with high expectations because of the North Carolina basketball program’s stature. However, the Dean Dome provides a decent place to watch a basketball game with future NBA talent on the court.
Michael Davis – The success of Baylor’s basketball program, coupled with playing in a competitive Big 12 Conference, elevates the atmosphere inside Ferrell Center to a wonderful environment that anyone would enjoy. The atmosphere becomes even louder and more serious when nationally ranked opponents invade Waco.
Matt Colville – From the outside there is nothing special about the building; similar to Texas’ Frank Erwin Center, The Hump is shaped like a steel drum and is typical of most of the venues built in the 1970s. The building was constructed from 450,000 handmade bricks. The only thing that stands out about the venue is the Mize Pavilion located on the south side of the building.
Paul Baker – The Mullins Center is an attractive on-campus facility that serves as home for the UMass Minutemen basketball and hockey teams. Unfortunately, with the lack of crowds present, the atmosphere suffers accordingly. Hopefully a return to the top of the Atlantic-10 standings will bring the fans back to Amherst.
Lloyd Brown – The priorities at Charleston Southern are faith first and service to the community second and academics third. It still has some very nice athletic facilities, including the CSU Field House, the CSU Ballpark and Buccaneer Field. Being small has not kept CSU from having very competitive teams in the Big South Conference, where they have won numerous championships.
Michael Davis – Reed Arena is an incredible venue to see top-level SEC Basketball, with sight lines that are perfect for basketball. College Station is a wonderful college town, but witnessing the Spirit of Aggieland will amaze you. There is a little something here for everyone, but most of all, a simple Howdy from Aggieland makes it worth the trip.
Marc Viquez – Jadwin Gymnasium is a hidden treasure to discover among the basketball venues on the campuses of New Jersey. The second largest on-campus facility has an affection that should be applauded and relished by both students, fans, and alumni living in the area.
Chris Green – Despite UCF having not achieved national prominence as a college basketball powerhouse, the fans at CFE Arena make sure that it feels like they have. They are always on their feet cheering for UCF as much as possible, and they are always welcoming to new fans and visitors alike.
Lloyd Brown – Hanner Fieldhouse is a throwback to the bandbox gymnasiums of the past. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it eliminates some of the artificial hoopla and overproduction found in modern arenas. Georgia Southern University believes in doing things the “old school” way and has seen good results and an energized fan base as a result.
Richie DeVotie – If you love NCAA basketball, then Morehead State offers a good experience. You will receive a good return on your money and the experience would make the perfect date night. I highly recommend checking out Johnson Arena when Morehead State has a home game.
Dave Cottenie – The Bonnies have seen the high of highs and the low of lows over the past two decades. They have leveled out a bit and continue to provide a top-notch product on the floor for a minimal investment. A trip to see the Bonnies will not end in disappointment and the Reilly Center is a great spot for college basketball.
Michael Davis – Lloyd Noble Center isn’t among the better basketball arenas in the Big 12 Conference. However, LNC is an above-average basketball arena that can become a great place to watch college basketball. The venue and the Sooners fans here have the potential to give Sooner basketball games a unique atmosphere, so any college basketball fan will enjoy attending a basketball game here at OU’s Lloyd Noble Center.
Pete Dowell – This is a really nice local venue. If you are a true sports enthusiast who doesn’t need all the fanfare of big-time pro sports or big-time college sports then the Trask Coliseums fans and team won’t fail to entertain you. The locals seem to love it so you might as well.
Lloyd Brown – The Convocation Center at Kennesaw State University is an excellent facility to watch Owls basketball. It offers great sight lines, comfortable seating and an excellent electronic video experience. What is lacking is a competitive team which is finding the transition from Division II to Division I to be a very difficult one.
Richie DeVotie – Named for former Ohio Governor James A. Rhodes, the arena is commonly known as “The JAR” to Akron denizens and students. The arena seats 5,500, but it feels much smaller than that, with almost all of the seating being fold out seats on the lower and upper levels.
Eric Moreno – The changes to Strahan Arena after its 2018 renovation are notable. The atmosphere is vastly changed and that has greatly improved the game experience. For those of you who attend games at Strahan Arena, I think you’ll find yourself in a great environment for college hoops. San Marcos is a great college town and is a highlight to visit in and of itself.
Matt Finnegan – A basketball game at the CU Events Center can be a seamless part of a day spent in Boulder. Plenty of dining, entertainment, and recreational options are a short walk from the Events Center, and the campus itself is well worth exploring. A Buffs’ home game provides a fun experience for even a casual basketball fan.
Matt Fiedler – UConn basketball has a rich heritage of success. That is well represented at Gampel Pavilion. Both the men’s and women’s teams have had a lot of winning in that arena. It is the largest on-campus venue for college basketball in New England and deserves to be included in the discussion of best college basketball venues in the country.
Dave Cottenie – The ingredients are all there for a successful program at Penn State. Catching a game at Penn State will not be the basketball experience of a lifetime, but with a good matchup and a little buzz and you will enjoy your time in Happy Valley.
Michael Davis – Just like any college sport, the atmosphere gets better if the home team is winning, so when the basketball program starts winning on a consistent basis, Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena has the potential to be a tough place to play. Overall, the atmosphere is good and entertaining for a college basketball game.
Andrei Ojeda – It would be very difficult to miss the location of The Walter Pyramid while on campus. One only has to look toward a blue pyramid shaped building and walk toward it. A basketball game inside The Walter Pyramid is one you should experience. It’s not often you can say that you viewed a sporting event under a pyramid-shaped building.
WVU Coliseum Exterior, Photo by Dave Cottenie, Stadium Journey
Jared Goodman – Morgantown is a beautiful mountain locale and the WVU Coliseum is in the perfect mountain setting. Moreover, the architecture of the building is becoming increasingly distinct in the sports world. Unfortunately, it’s only a matter of time before the Mountaineers join the nationwide trend of seeking a new and improved facility. To get there, just let the country roads take you home to West Virginia.
Richard Smith – Hagan Arena is a unique mix of the old and new. The old design of the arena ensures that the sound and intensity will be there for all games, but the newer amenities make sure that the fans will enjoy coming to a game.
Chuck Utech – Counting the success of the teams form 50 years ago, Drake has had more success at the highest level of the NCAA tournament than any of the other schools from Iowa. The Knapp Center is an excellent choice for an outing that will not disappoint. With plenty of nearby local food choices, an afternoon or evening to a game is an enjoyable experience whether it is solo, with family or friends.
Dave Cottenie – Calihan Hall and the Detroit Mercy Titans are most definitely not one of the top programs in the country. However, Calihan Hall is a unique facility and one that true fans really need to take in. It would be amazing to see what a Detroit Mercy Titans game would be like with a full gym. Have Mercy!
Miles Markiewicz – Some people in Columbus say winning the National Championship in football in 2015 was the worst thing that could have happened to the basketball program. There is some truth to this. The environment for basketball games lost a lot of passion, but it is cyclical. If you can catch this program on a good year, it can be one of the best.
Brandon Gee – The Cincinnati campus is a patchwork of iconic architecture, so walking up to Fifth Third Arena is sort of jarring. It is a utilitarian brick box from the exterior, built before the school had begun investing in new structures from a who’s who of designers. News has come out that the university is consulting with the sports architecture firm Populous on a potential $70 million renovation.
Jim Dietrich – While the Yuengling Center is pushing into its mid-30s and has been surpassed by other, more posh facilities, it still shows why it was the home of the region’s largest acts for so many years. The new renovations have extended the life of the facility for decades, and once the Bulls field a high caliber men’s team on the court, this could easily become one of the toughest places to play in all of NCAA Division I basketball. Until then, though, it’s still a very nice facility that should be visited.
Lloyd Brown – The University of Nebraska is making a commitment to improving its basketball program to be more competitive in the Big 10, one of the toughest basketball conferences in the country. The Pinnacle Bank Arena is a major part of that commitment, as it should provide a tremendous boost to recruiting and fan support.
Andrei Ojeda – Opened in 1933, thanks to the renovations made prior to the 1999-2000 season, Haas Pavilion continues to rank favorably among historic and venerable college venues. Also, thanks to the renovations, Haas will continue to Roll On for years to come, preserving a place in college basketball that retains its classic charm, while continuing to serve the needs of the present day fan.
Jared Goodman – The game-day experience at Vines Center reflects this, providing the unique and wild atmosphere that the team deserves. When the Flames’ players make their entrance onto the court, spouts attached to the tunnel entrance shoot fire – flames, if you will. They go off continuously throughout the game and light up after every Flames bucket, appropriately.
Lloyd Brown – UAB has done a wonderful job in weaving its brand into almost every facet of the fan experience at Bartow Arena. Before you even enter the arena, you’ll definitely want to stop and have your picture made with the statue of Blaze the Dragon. You can’t miss it, as it is right in front of the main entrance of the arena. Once inside, the color scheme of the facility is Blazer green.
Paul Hilchen – Beaver athletics are the main attraction in Corvallis, and it shows. With the school’s rich athletic heritage, there are high expectations despite the Beavers lack of success in the past few years. There are banners saluting players and coaches of yesteryear including names like Gary Payton and A.C. Green. A trip to Gill Coliseum leaves no doubt in a fan’s mind that this is a major program working to regain its prominence.
Andrew Maurins – The Lawlor Events Center is excellent in a few areas, mediocre in others, and only lacks that certain magic that consistently excellent programs carry over from year to year and decade to decade. A few more great seasons strung together could potentially vault a game at Lawlor from “above average” to “bucket list” destination.
Lloyd Brown – The Trojan Arena is impressive externally as well, as it does not project the boxy gymnasium feel of many college sports facilities. The entry way into the building carries out the Trojan theme well through architecture of the rotunda, graphics of Trojan Warriors. Instead of a dusty arrangement of trophies in a display, Troy has gone digital in saluting Trojan greats and their accomplishments through the Troy Sports Hall of Fame located just off the rotunda.
Paul Swaney – The more college basketball I see, the more I appreciate these small arenas that are focused on the basketball and beautiful college atmosphere. This is definitely one for you to see if you are living in the Detroit area, or are in town when the Golden Grizzlies play.
Danica Rhoades – Taco Bell Arena offers a fun atmosphere for taking in a game. The BSU band and students are housed in “The Corral” at one end of the court. An amazing jump rope team, the Summerwind Skippers (as seen on America’s Got Talent) performed at half time. There were performances by the Boise State Cheerleaders and Mane Line Dance Team, fan competitions, and events to honor other team’s athletes.
Brian Wilmer – Though the Corbett Sports Center will never feature groups of students waiting in tents in a camping area named after their coach or anything of the sort, there is much value to be found in a trip to Greensboro. From the interlocking “AT” logo on the floor (known as “The Lock”) to the occasional “Aggie Pride” call-and-response, your location — and level of enjoyment — will never be in doubt.
Jason Karp – It’s hard to think about Bozeman and not imagine the iconic dome of the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse. The building has had so many memorable moments, whether it be a Bobcat basketball game, national championship rodeo, high school state championship, or a four minute indoor mile, in over a half century of existence.
Sean MacDonald – Monmouth is not a school that most people know about and certainly only true college hoopheads would be adding this one to their bucket list. But if you enjoy live sports and are in Northern New Jersey at some point, you should consider a visit to the MAC. This is one place where you can’t judge the book by its cover; the Multipurpose Activity Center offers a lot more than you would expect from a small college program like Monmouth and is worth a look for any stadium traveler.
Lloyd Brown – Georgia Tech has a terrific sports heritage across the span of all their programs. However, it is the football team that has gotten the most attention. However, Tech basketball has two Final Four appearances and multiple ACC championships to claim its share of the attention.
Andrei Ojeda – Though USC basketball’s play has raised the level of excitement, home games are still a tough draw here in Los Angeles, a city with a plethora of entertainment options. L.A. fans can be some of the toughest to entertain when a team doesn’t have a long-standing tradition of winning excellence.
Jared Goodman – The town of Rock Hill may be a bit sleepy, but don’t sleep on Winthrop basketball. As one of the better programs in the Big South Conference, and the Carolinas in general, it’s worth a stop to see the Eagles take flight on the Hill.
Matt Finnegan – Colorado State has succeeded in a challenging feat: to maintain Moby Arena’s design and function while modernizing the building to appeal to present-day basketball fans. With a Rams team on the rise and a beautiful campus (and town), a game at Moby Arena is worth the drive from Denver.
Lloyd Brown – The Chanticleers athletic department has a lot to crow about, as it has some of the nicest athletic facilities in the Sun Belt Conference. The HTC Center offers a modern facility with the latest technology and a striking graphics package that is heavy on the teal team colors for which the school is famous.
Meg Minard – There’s just something about witnessing the allegiance, honor, and team camaraderie of an Air Force game. I was proud watching these young men play knowing they are offering their services and even their life for the freedom and protection of the USA.
Matt Fiedler – A trip to a Yale basketball game is an experience that every Division One basketball fan should seek out. This is one of the most unique arenas there is in the country. The combination of architecture, artifacts, and seating options make for a very cool experience. After the game make sure you take a trip to one of the famous pizza joints to grab a slice of New Haven.
Paul Baker – Despite the fact that Northeastern frequently fields a competitive basketball team, they are overshadowed by the school’s hockey team. The laid-back atmosphere here is typical of mid-major schools in New England, but the setting is far superior. If you do venture over to Matthews Arena, take in the history and architecture of the place.
Greg Venuto – Iona men’s basketball has always been a formidable force in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). But the Gaels and ultimately the campus got a jolt on March 14, 2020, when Rick Pitino signed a 5-year deal to take over as head coach at Iona.
Andrew Kulyk – It’s kind of old school, but it’s been given a much needed facelift. The Koessler Athletic Center, located on the edge of the urban Canisius College campus, is the home of Canisius Golden Griffins basketball. The facility also contains a gymnasium, swimming pool, weight room and other athletic training facilities.
UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse Exterior. Photo by Patricia Beninato, Stadium Journey.
Patricia Beninato – The game experience at UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse is pretty basic. You won’t get the frills of a big Division I school like Pitt, but if you like college basketball in a fun atmosphere, it’s worth your consideration. Duquesne has gone to some expense to create a good space for its students and alumni to cheer on the Dukes, and while I’d hesitate to call it a must-see destination for Pittsburgh visitors, it can be a nice addition to a Steel City sports tour.
Gregory Koch – While American doesn’t get much attention in D.C. compared to fellow local schools Georgetown and Maryland, a visit to Bender Arena can be as enjoyable an experience as a visit to Capital One Arena or the Xfinity Center. Although the value isn’t necessarily as good as other Patriot League arenas around the northeast, Bender Arena is a hidden gem in the District’s college basketball scene.
Paul Baker – People’s United Center is an attractive facility that fits the needs of this mid-major team perfectly. While the basketball team at Quinnipiac has yet to experience the success that the hockey team has enjoyed, the basketball court compliments the neighboring hockey rink well. When the Bobcats start to improve on the court, expect the crowds to grow here in the shadow of the Sleeping Giant.
Marc Viquez – What I enjoy most about the Ford Center is that the modern, sleek, and state of art facility is perfect for the city. It does not try to be something it’s not. It’s a great entertainment option for southwest Indiana and should be home for Purple Aces basketball for many more decades. It’s definitely an eye-catching facility, and being able to take in a game at affordable prices with free parking makes this a great option.
Michael Davis – UNT Coliseum is a link to the past, hearkening to a different era of basketball, yet being well-maintained, and allowing fans to step back in time. The Super Pit is a great old venue, and replica to Dallas’ old Reunion Arena with its design and basketball experience. There isn’t a need to make a special trip to Denton to see it, but if you are already in the area, it would be a treat to spend a couple of hours in the “Ageless Super Pit.”
Jared Goodman – Schar Center opened in 2018, meaning it hasn’t had much time to develop character. The layout of the venue is well thought-out and the 360-degree concourse gives visitors a clear view of the action from most points. Although the general atmosphere of the building itself is quite sterile, the gameday presentation is very professional and high-quality.
Paul Hamaan – Dress in layers, make sure you’re well fed prior to the contest, and then just sit back and enjoy the MEAC basketball. It may not be the highest level of play in Division I basketball, but NCCU has an intimate charm to its arena experience that is difficult to find in this age of modern facilities.
Chris Tokarski – The name Ramblers dates back to 1926 when the football traveled extensively across the United States, “rambling” from place to place for games, thus earning the nickname “Ramblers”. Despite the fact that football was dropped as a varsity sport in 1930, the nickname Ramblers is stuck and is used for all athletic teams.
Paul Bunyan Guards the Cross Insurance Center. Photo by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey.
Paul Baker – Maine will never be thought of as a basketball hotbed, and the campus’ location in the far northeastern corner of the country hardly makes it a popular destination for traveling basketball fans, but the Cross Insurance Center is a solid, modern facility in which to take in Division One basketball. It’s worth a visit by any dedicated basketball fanatic.
Chad Minton – College basketball in the exact geographic center of the state of Tennessee can offer a fun night to get out and enjoy some mid-major basketball. The Murphy Center has a lot going for it in the sense that it’s not your garden variety college basketball arena. It has character, charisma and tradition.
UNF Arena, Osprey Sculpture, Photo by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey
Lloyd Brown – The vibe you get attending games at the UNF Arena is somewhat like a high school basketball game, but not due to the quality of play. The seating at the arena is fold-up bleachers, although on a much larger scale than a high school gymnasium. Add to that the fact that many times players on both college teams are often local products who may have been former teammates or hated rivals in their high school days.
Paul Swaney – The Spartan mascot is one of the least active that I have seen. He stands in the corner for nearly the entirety of the game. The mascot has a face like Ed Asner, and kind of moves like Ed Asner too. Come to think of it, since mascots are anonymous, it just may have been Ed Asner in that suit.
Marc Viquez – I am somewhat perplexed by the Stabler Arena. The building is an example of 1970s architect and aesthetics that have not aged as well as other arenas built before it; then again, the ticket and concession prices are extremely affordable and the vantage points from the seats are top notch. Add to the scenic mountain view and the quaint main street of Hellertown and you have a top destination that offers a lot of bang for your buck.
Binghamton University Events Center Interior, Photo by Paul Swaney, Stadium Journey
Paul Swaney – I understand that not everyone is as big of a college basketball junkie as I am, so Binghamton is not going to be a sought after destination for many travelers. However, if you love the game and are anywhere in central New York, it is well worth your time to check the Bearcats schedule and see if you can’t go see a basketball game at the Events Center.
Ryan Rohde – Reese Court may be situated in a small town, but the intimate feel of the arena is second to none in my opinion. Although food and beverage and the neighborhood may have left a little bit to be desired, this is definitely an arena I would visit again.
Eric Moreno – The atmosphere, as would be expected for a program that has enjoyed as much success a Texas Southern, was electric at the HPE. The P.A. announcer does a tremendous job of getting the crowd fired up from the opening tip. The game starts with the tradition of no one rooting for the home team sitting until the Tigers score a bucket.
Brian Merzbach – When the Red Foxes are good, McCann Arena is a fantastic place to take in a basketball game. Because of the small capacity (only about 3,000), it can fill up quickly as the students and general public come out in great numbers. Even when Marist has not been as good (such as in recent years), the atmosphere is still lively and fun.
Lloyd Brown – Alabama State does a great job of tying the facility in with the team name of the Hornets and in using the black and gold team colors of the school. The interior of the dome roof mimics the honeycomb affect found on the inside of a hive, and the roof shape also carries out this theme. The stands around the playing floor come in alternating rows of gold and black.
Jon Hart – The Blackbirds fly in the heart of downtown Brooklyn, which is growing by the day, and has no shortage of activities, everything from the arts at BAM to axe throwing. Perhaps the best activity is strolling around, checking out the different, adjacent neighborhoods.
Ed Pelle – The Bulldogs do a great job at preserving their past accomplishments with major displays to the left and right of the main entry gate on the main concourse. The women’s basketball National Titles are in a case to the left of the entryway.
Greg Venuto – There is plenty to doat Fordham before or after to add to the experience. The campus, with its Gothic architecture, ivy-covered buildings and expansive lawns, makes Rose Hill one of New York City’s most attractive college campuses. Rose Hill is the oldest gym still being used in Division I.
Eric Moreno – United Supermarkets Arena is a truly fantastic facility – Texas Tech has done a great job of honoring its history and heritage while embracing all of the “new” that caters to fans of all ages. If you’re a fan of college hoops, add this stop to your bucket list; I think you will enjoy it.
Gregory Koch – Willett Hall may be located in the middle of nowhere, which is about what you’d expect from a town called Farmville, but if you’re in town and the Lancers are playing, it is definitely worth a visit. That being said, only the most passionate sports travelers would consider it worthwhile to drive several hours to check out this arena.
Cory Sims – The nickname for Bramlage, the Octagon of Doom, started up in earnest back in the Frank Martin years when the Cats were playing good ball and made a run to the Elite Eight. The arena is built into a hill in an octagon shape, so when the Wildcats are good, I suppose other teams may find their doom in the octagon.
Jared Goodman – John Belk Arena is an intimate building with some impressive history already under its belt. Both college basketball aficionados and casual fans alike will enjoy both the building and the game played beneath its roof. And the game, if the Wildcats’ exciting past is any indication, is destined to be a good one.
Jon Hart – In an area where professional sports are king, Seton Hall is a major player. They’re already New Jersey’s team. With their close proximity, they just could be New York’s team as well… that is if a few more pieces fall into place. Stay tuned. Prudential is an arena befitting a team of this high caliber.
Michael Davis – Austin is a great travel destination, regardless if traveling to the city for a sporting event or just for a visit. The fact that a sports fan will be able to see NCAA basketball while here is a bonus, however, don’t expect anything extraordinary if you make a trip to the Frank Erwin Center – the University of Texas is focusing on their new arena in improving any game day experience for the fans, spelling the end of Frank Erwin Center.
Jack Winter – This, largely, comes down to a matter of personal taste. Mizzou Arena lacks the charm and old-school feel emanating from some of college basketball’s best arenas. The fans sit far from the court. To put it simply, there’s little magic at Mizzou Arena, and for that its atmosphere can be considered nothing but average.
Andrei Ojeda – In this non-descript venue, don’t expect to be overwhelmed by a huge history of national title banners hanging from the rafters or exhibits honoring famous alumni. The Bren Center does honor the university’s athletic accomplishments, both team and individual wise.
George Dinsmore – St. Francis University is rather isolated in the beautiful Allegheny mountains of central Pennsylvania where its most notable neighbors are Mount Assisi Monastery and a Federal Prison. Despite the beautiful setting, the remainder of the experience is rather average, due to the lack of amenities in the arena and the relatively small attendance.
Marc Viquez – The Hulman Center doesn’t get the attention that other facilities in the state receive, but it still a grand old place to watch a basketball game. Its appearance has been taken care of quite well and the finished product is clean, friendly, and positive. The design of the building harkens back to early 1970’s aesthetics and there is not a marquee entrance to grab patrons’ attention.
Paul Baker – Plans are in place to build a 3,200 seat, state of the art facility next door for the 2020-21 season. While Patrick Gym has seen a lot of great basketball over its 56 seasons, it’s doubtful that there will be an outpouring of nostalgia as the Catamounts wrap up their last season here.
Paul Baker – A visit to the village of Hamilton may feel like a trip back in time, and that’s precisely part of the appeal of a visit to central New York. Classic architecture, an old-school barn and a laid-back gameday presentation combine to make Colgate one of those Stadium Journeys that make traveling the D-1 landscape so worthwhile.
Matt Fiedler – I was very impressed with the Hart Center. It is exactly what I wanted from a small college basketball venue. They put together a sleek game presentation in a cozy and clean arena. I would definitely recommend checking out a game at the Hart Center if you’re in New England.
Jason Bullock – There are many entertainment options in the Williamsburg area. If you enjoy college basketball, head out to Kaplan Arena for a game. You might find a Tribe game a worthy diversion from the other things going on around Williamsburg.
Aaron Terry – The architecture is very unique, and it is nice to see that the administration tries to support the community by letting local groups participate on game day. Also, it is a lot of fun to drive around town and do some train-spotting for the colorful sculptures.
Meg Minard – Watching some basketball at the University of Denver offers an opportunity for fans of any age to enjoy college level play for very affordable prices. Minimal student influence deprives the game of some college atmosphere, but the experience is still a positive one.
Ryan Naprella – Breaks in the action are typically filled with promotional dance-offs, full court dashes to collect pizza boxes, and slinging rubber chickens into shopping carts. The ability to enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two at the off-campus Resch Center is a nice perk and even on “Bud Light Night,” Phoenix fans appear to enjoy themselves responsibly.
Worthen Arena Dance Team, Photo by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey.
Marc Viquez – The Worthen Arena does not stand out like quite a few other college venues in Indiana, but it is rather easily accessible, affordable, and a great canvas for MAC basketball. Muncie is certainly close enough to the state’s major cities of Indianapolis and Ft. Wayne that making a trip is quite easy during the basketball season.
Lloyd Brown – You will know immediately that you are in the right place as you enter the Lawson Center, as it is hard to miss the orange and green seats surrounding the Rattler’s home court. There is also a huge Rattler graphic covering the mid-court area. More than likely, you will also hear the sounds of FAMU’s Band of 100 tuning up prior to the game for their non-stop performance throughout the contest.
Eric Moreno – The student section at William Nicks Building, especially the fraternities and sororities, dance with every song the band – the Marching Storm – plays, and the acoustics of the dome amplify the sound exponentially. If you attend a game I think you’ll be blown away.
Lloyd Brown – A trip to Birmingham for a Samford basketball game is well worth the journey. The beautiful campus, the striking architecture and the exciting brand of basketball played in the Pete Hanna Center add up to a very enjoyable evening.
Chad Minton – If Lipscomb can keep climbing the ladder of respected mid-majors, I could see Allen Arena becoming an iconic place to see a game. They have the facility, they have the surrounding area, and they have the solid foundation of local fan support. It’s widely overlooked, even in Nashville, but that might slowly be changing as more people take in a game here for the first time.
Marc Viquez – The Leavey Center structure is one of the more unique in college basketball and has several positives and negatives associated with it. I certainly would not characterize it as a typical “gym” as it seems that they have created an arena within a larger building.
Richard Smith – There are historical displays around the venue celebrating the history of the men’s and women’s teams at Coppin. Pay special attention to the ones mentioning long-time coach “Fang” Mitchell, who was quite a character around the area.
Ryan Norris – The venue is nice and the amenities good and I’d love to see the building rocking. It seems that the Aggies are still trying to find their way in the NCAA D-I landscape and I’m exciting to see what they do the next few years.
Andy Mantsch – A South Carolina State Bulldogs game won’t blow you away with a shiny new venue, outstanding food selection or massive crowds full of screaming fans. But it will be an experience unlike any other you’re likely to find. It’s an experience that any basketball fan should try at least one time in their travels before returning to the comfortable homes of some of the larger programs.
Justin Sutton – If you are looking to experience basketball off the beaten path, a trip to Alcorn State is well worth your time. You may not see big-time basketball, but you will see players who are playing hard trying to maximize the games left in their careers.
Aaron Terry – The best thing about attending a VMI basketball game is seeing all of the cadets and alums wearing fatigues, which is a pretty impressive sight. The kangaroo mascot is also really cool, and has been known to get in the ref’s face if he or she makes a call against the Keydets.
Lloyd Brown – The WCU pep band plays throughout the game, sings the school fight song on numerous occasions and really get into the game, harassing the opposition on free throws and holding up “3” signs every time a Catamount player hits a three pointer. If there is any energy being generated in the arena is is coming from the pep band area. Both the cheerleaders and the school dance squad also do their part to stir enthusiasm from the fans. They are assisted by Paws, the mountain lion mascot of the Catamounts.
Andrei Ojeda – Plans are currently underway to upgrade the existing lobby as well as adding a VIP Club on the west side of the gym. If you’re looking to catch some quality hoops while in the Bay Area while not burning a deeper hole in your pocket, a game at The Hilltop should be on your agenda. With this year’s team, you just may be previewing some pre-March Madness.
Joe Rogers – These fans, although small in numbers, are genuine, passionate and infectious, and although we realize it or not, they are one of the reasons we root for that MAAC school, or any other small school when matched up with a Goliath. I’d make a return trip to the Gallagher Center any day.
Richard Smith – The atmosphere at a Delaware State basketball game is pretty great. Memorial Hall is basically a large high school gym type of design. There is no concourse as once you get past the box office lobby you enter directly into one corner of the arena. Simple bench type stands surround the court on four sides.
Ryan Norris – The Nest at Colberg Court does not have any great awe aspects or intangibles that separate it from any other venue. I did enjoy perusing the trophy case but that was nullified by the silly banners displaying local and national sponsors.
Ed Pelle – It wasn’t long ago that Stony Brook basketball was known more for its mascot Wolfie’s proclivity to physically attack other mascots, than the on-court product in some basketball circles. The team did have some success at the NCAA Division III level — qualifying for the NCAA Division III Final Four in 1978. Like their arena situation, a lot has changed for the Seawolves in a relatively short period of time.
Andrej Ojeda – On this Saturday night, the red clad locals were ready to raise the roof. The student section, known as the “Red Rally” was mostly involved throughout the game, often times yelling the popular soccer chant “Olé Olé Olé Olé,” finishing it with “C-SUN. C-SUN.” Also after each made free throw, the Red Rally would yell Tag Team’s “Whoomp! There it is!”
Josh Eastern – While the Spiro Sports Complex was expanded in 1999, the gym still looks like it did when it opened in 1951. Wagner could truly stand a facility upgrade. The school deserves a top notch basketball facility, and a new or upgraded facility would benefit the program and the community in the long run.
Jon Hart – St. Francis’ facility isn’t the Carrier Dome, to say the least, but that’s a good thing. You’re close. You can hear the coaches, the bounce of the ball and the rim reverberate. Bottom line: St. Francis offers big basketball in a small place. When St. Francis finally does dance, the serene neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights will absolutely go ballistic.
DeRon Talley – Prather is filled with Demon memorabilia and remnants of teams and players of the past. You can see the banners of the former Demon teams that have been conference champions hanging from the rafters. I was pleasantly surprised for a school this small to have such a great college basketball atmosphere.
Eric Moreno – Though the basketball facilities are small in stature at Houston Baptist University, they are big on excitement, energy, and charm. There is something to be said for watching basketball in a gymnasium the size of the Huskies’ home court – it becomes all about the game at that point, and what HBU puts on out there is a great product.
Andrei Ojeda – If you have an opportunity to visit a West Coast Conference venue in Southern California, if you are a diehard college hoops fan, seize the opportunity to do it. Some of the more underrated and more economical collegiate basketball experiences can be found in such venues like USD. Like with many programs without the deep history, you just never know if you’re witnessing a future “Cinderella” in the making.
Meg Minard – Attending a game here is worth the effort as it is a small, welcoming venue and watching the game provides a friendly, enjoyable sports afternoon or night out.
Richard Smith – The Daskalakis Athletic Center is a nice arena, but being so close to the Palestra makes the facility seem a bit of a letdown. Even though Drexel is not part of the Big 5, fans will still see some great action in this small, loud arena.
Paul Baker – If you haven’t visited Lavietes in a while, you will undoubtedly be impressed by the recent renovations which modernized and brightened the arena, but kept its intimate feel. The new video board which now hangs at center court is put to good use with game stats, replays and crowd shots. The cheerleaders and dance squad lead the cheers during play stoppages.
Richard Smith – SECU Arena is a very nicely designed arena for a mid-major basketball program. If the crowd were to come to support the team a bit more the building could be an intimidating place for opponents to play.
Eric Hasman – The crown jewel of this venue is the court design. Normally I am not a huge fan of overly designed basketball floors but this one works. The entire area inside the three-point arc is plain wood; the rest of the floor however is an intimidating smoky black color with an imposing design at center court that includes the letters “NIU,” and just the eyes and eyebrows of the husky above. This is one of my favorite basketball courts in the country.
Matt Fiedler – If you’re a fan who wants all the glitz and glamour of Division One basketball, this isn’t the venue for you. However, if you want to see quality basketball with no frills and have it be an affordable experience, then I would suggest checking out a Brown basketball game at the Pizzitola Sports Center.
Marc Viquez – The Stroh Center is a beautiful looking building that seats 5,209 people and is perfectly sized for the campus and basketball program. It has a few modern touches that puts it among the elite of buildings in the MAC, and a few more wins could change the atmosphere of the place.
Andy Mantsch – While nice, the Save Mart Center doesn’t offer a lot of frills. It’s your typical high-end venue. The staff seems to do an excellent job with promotions at the game to get fan engagement based on what they have to work with. The potential is here for a spectacular college basketball experience, but with all the empty seats and lack of wins from the team it’s just not happening right now.
Times Union Center Play, Photo Courtesy of Siena College.
Adam Reiter – By far the largest arena in the capital region, The MVP Arena is a great place to watch a basketball game. There is a major college basketball game experience at every game, complete with an enthusiastic student section and multiple tv cameras. The MVP is great entertainment whenever the Saints are in town.
Stephen Burke – Going to see the Northwestern Wildcats is a lot of fun. If you are in the Chicago area and decide to see the Wildcats, step back and think for a moment. This school is competing with schools that are much larger than they are, in arenas that are much larger than theirs. Still, the Wildcats give it that old college try.
Freedom Hall yell, Photo Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey.
Marc Viquez – Freedom Hall has seen a lot of sporting events during its tenure, and there was a thought that it would be too big for Bellarmine. That doesn’t appear to be the case, as a substantial crowd provides a wonderful backdrop for the evening. However, the outside concourse could use some improvements to honor the building’s amazing history. Even with that in mind, Freedom Hall is worth a visit for being what it has always been, a historic home for college hoops.
Stephen Schmidt – For those who live in the area or are thinking about following their favorite team to a game in Jonesboro, a trip to The Convo is recommended. For one, it’s a low-priced bargain. For another, the four screen, four quadrant set-up is very unique – whether you love it or hate it.
Marc Viquez – There is something different about attending a basketball game at Millett Hall. It’s not a basketball arena but a multi-purpose venue that serves many purposes, from sports to concerts. The building’s size hinders the experience slightly for fans who enjoy being close to the action of the court. The interior design could be updated and include touches that 21st-century fans marvel at. The place has good bones for such a transformation; perhaps that day will be here sooner than later.
Lloyd Brown – The Gentry Center offers the largest seating capacity of any OVC school. To fill those seats, you need a quality team on the court, frequent promotions involving the fans, and in TSU’s case, one of the best college bands around …. The Aristocrat of Bands.
Marc Viquez – In an area where football dominates the headlines, Cowboy basketball (or any other Louisiana basketball program) struggles to get a share of the spotlight. All McNeese State athletics programs, however, receive strong support from Southwest Louisiana, which is an amazing feat considering the strangle-hold LSU has on all things college athletics in Louisiana.
Ryan Norris – Being almost 40 years old, McKeon Pavilion feels its age. There is no video screen showing replays or advertisements but that furthers the gym-like vibe. There is one small scoreboard at one end of the court and a larger one, complete with stats, at the other.
Dave Cottenie – Not all college basketball schools are Duke, Kansas or North Carolina. With over 350 Division I programs there is a wide variety of experiences for the sports traveler. Although the Jacksonville Dolphins are one of the smallest programs in the country, the experience at the Historic Swisher Gymnasium should not be discounted. Heading on campus will mean a good time at a price that is far lower than any big program.
Andy Mantsch – While not the biggest, baddest or most impressive of venues, Cal Poly basketball at the Mott Athletic Center brings with it an experience all its own. Add in the beauty of the surrounding area, and it’s more than worth a trip into town in your best green and gold attire to cheer on the Mustangs.
Afi Ahmadi – Unquestionably, the amenities at SEFCU Arena need modernization. On the plus side, when the energy level is high, you feel like you’re in a Hoosiers-type setting. For the conference’s premier men’s and women’s basketball programs, a little investment seems justified. It’s unclear whether such changes would garner more student support, but it would certainly approve the overall fan experience.
Marc Viquez – When the Mastodons are winning or attempting a comeback, the fans are loud and frenzied. However, when their team is down, dead silence envelops the building. The crowds on campus are similar in numbers to what they were at the grander coliseum of season’s past, but even with average crowds hovering close to 1,000, the atmosphere is very energetic when the fans are cheering, stomping and shouting. Do not be surprised if this becomes the hottest ticket in town one day.
Steve Ohnsman – The stage is set: great production, good quality of college basketball, reasonable prices, free parking, excellent mascot. All they need is more students and fans to attend, thus creating a boisterous atmosphere.
Matt Ward – Since the arena is a multi-sports complex, they struggle providing the intimate fan experience like some arenas can offer. With the indoor track encompassing the court, the building is much larger than need be for basketball. The staff has gone to great lengths to make the arena not feel as cavernous by shutting off the lights behind the bleachers. The staff also installed large banners that provide a better sense of a closed off feeling, but it is still hard to forget that you are inside an indoor track.
Gordon Shelldall – If you are in the Riverside area and get a hankering to watch some college b-ball action, or if your favorite team is playing the Highlanders, then this venue may just fit your bill. The fans and staff are helpful and friendly. The campus is out-of-the-way from the usual SoCal tourist traps, but this may be the secret to its appeal for many visitors.
Gregory Koch – Fans looking for the same raucous atmosphere as at Army football games at Michie Stadium will be deeply disappointed. It’s clear that this is a one-sport school as far as the fan base is concerned, and basketball isn’t it. However, attending a game at Christl Arena can be an enjoyable and affordable experience for the whole family if you’re just looking to spend an afternoon or evening watching a basketball game.
Meg Minard – Flagstaff is a quintessential college town with plenty of outdoor activities, local entertainment, cultural events, bars, breweries, and restaurants. Visiting an NAU basketball game isn’t high on the list of things to do but, if in town during the winter and spring, perhaps a visit to the Walkup Skydome might be in order just to say you did.
Jason Bartel – The New Mexico State basketball experience is a very basic one, but one that you should check out if you are in the area. However, it pales in comparison to other relatively nearby college basketball arenas. But there are certainly some unique things that hardcore basketball fans will enjoy by spending an evening at Pan American Center.
Aaron Terry – As you probably know, North Carolina is home to a couple of basketball powerhouses, which is a tough act for ECU to follow, so it may not surprise you that Minges Coliseum doesn’t usually draw large crowds. Nevertheless, it is a very nice facility, so feel free to stop by if you are in the area.
Aaron Terry – Alumni Coliseum has some nice features but the crowd, while decent, is on the small side and probably won’t blow you away. That said, if you live nearby, it may be worth a visit to take in a game here, but it may not be a venue to travel very far for.
Andrej Ojeda – Be sure to take some time to walk this beautiful campus, as well as the neighborhood before setting foot in the gym. Once inside, don’t be fooled by the small gymnasium as once the game starts, it has a rather big campus feel.
Brandon Gee – There are tons of schools that would love to have a facility this nice and the Norse fans will hopefully come around and make this a tough place for teams to play. I’m looking forward to seeing what the crowds look like here in a couple seasons when the Norse are fighting for Horizon League tournament position and have a shot at the NCAA’s.
Steven Burke – In the world of Division I college basketball, the venues and geographic location of the institution are keys in recruiting. One of the better combinations of these categories sits on the near west side of Chicago. The University of Illinois at Chicago Flames combine a great location in Chicago with an above average basketball facility that makes the Credit Union 1 Arena one of the most desirable locations in the Horizon League.
Marc Viquez – The relocation from the small gymnasium to the spacious coliseum adds another venerable and enjoyable “fieldhouse” to the city of Indianapolis. It is an arena that has its share of history, the Indiana Pacers called it home in the ABA from their inception in 1967-1974 and hosted the Indiana State High School Championships during World War II. At this point, the coliseum is looking at starting a few more basketball traditions within its walls.
DeRon Talley – The Ragin’ Cajuns fans have to be amongst the best in the Sun Belt Conference. There were fans of all kinds who attended. What really impressed me was this group of five older men who dressed in right and white striped overalls. Usually you see a group of frat boys doing something similar in the student section, but these guys were not quite that exactly. Let’s just say they reminded me of a group of Boss Hogs, from the sitcom The Dukes of Hazzard.
DeRon Talley – Unfortunately there aren’t a whole lot of extras at ULM basketball games. It’s a you-get-what-you-get kind of place, but I have to tip my hat off to the school’s band. The basketball performers call themselves the “Technical Fowls.” I must say that’s a pretty cool name.
Marc Viquez – Although there is much to like about the basketball being played at the Coliseum the overall experience suffers from the size of the building and the small amount of fans in the stands. In a state where capacity crowds are the norm at Butler, Purdue, and Indiana, Purdue Ft. Wayne hopes to include themselves among these prominent programs.
Paul Swaney – It’s a shame that more people don’t see games at Eastern Michigan’s Convocation Center. It is a fine, but empty facility. A winning team usually cures all. Hopefully the Eagles can find their way back to postseason success and fans can enjoy their basketball arena.
Eric Moreno – All in all I had a fun experience at Johnson Coliseum taking in Bearkats basketball. Fan attendance aside, the energy from those who are in the stands makes up for that. The coliseum itself is a good experience; it is a bit of a throwback to the way basketball arenas used to be made and I appreciated its aesthetics.
Patricia Beninato – Robert Morris University’s UPMC Events Center is pretty state-of-the-art for a small commuter school. However, its suburban location puts it off the radar for Pittsburgh visitors, attracting mainly students, alumni, and nearby families. If you really enjoy college basketball, though, there are worse places to watch it than here, with inexpensive tickets and concessions along with comfortable seats.
Andrew Kulyk – The building is hardly an architectural marvel, but a brutalist box shaped structure sitting amidst a campus which does not inspire the senses. UB Athletics has, however, taken great steps to improve the venue, soften the look and feel of public spaces and add amenities to enhance the game day experience. Find a weekend game with something at stake, and you’ll happen upon a game night atmosphere worth checking out.
Daniel Armstrong – There is nothing special about the game night atmosphere. It is typical of the low-major Ohio Valley Conference. During my most recent visit, I was disappointed in the small student section and there were fewer than 25 band members.
Daniel Armstrong – The atmosphere was the high point of the visit. The arena is smaller than many Division I basketball arenas, and that can actually be a good thing. It resembles a large high school gym and one thing about high school basketball is the atmosphere is far more intimate than seeing a game at a bigger venue.
DeRon Talley – One thing about the mini-dome is that despite a small attendance number, the few who show up show out. They know how to have a good time and cheer their team on. There was a DJ and there was an MC who kept things entertaining during media timeouts and at the halftime break. This college basketball game easily could make you feel like it’s a professional venue if you close your eyes and listen.
Lloyd Brown – Alabama A&M has a rich cultural heritage as one of the original HBCU’s. The Bulldog basketball program is a proud component of this history, as it is the original athletic sport adopted by the school.
Justin Sutton – The atmosphere at a Delta Devils game depends largely on the visiting team. For in-state battles, the arena sees more fans pack the Harrison HPER Complex, but for some visiting teams from out of state, the arena may only run at 20% capacity. If you are a fan wanting to get close to the action, a mostly empty arena may give you that opportunity.
Photo By Richard Smith, Stadium Journey
Richard Smith – Basketball came behind a few other sports on campus. But on March 16, 2018, the Retriever team became the first 16th seed to knock off a number 1 seed, Virginia, in the NCAA tournament’s history. Now UMBC and the Retriever name is well known to many sports fans. The UMBC Event Center was opened just a couple months before that historic win and it replaced the Retriever Athletic Center.
Richard Smith – When you put it all together, a day at Hytche Athletic Center has its perks and offers a unique experience, especially for the kids. There’s a lot of room to improve overall, especially in entertainment and atmosphere. If the Hawks start bringing more wins to Hytche, expect to see more fans coming out, creating an improved atmosphere.
Paul Baker – In tiny Rhode Island, Providence College basketball is king and University of Rhode Island basketball is a solid second. Bryant University offers a more intimate, affordable gameday experience than their two Ocean State neighbors. Small gyms like the Chace Athletic Center offer hoops fans an alternative to big-time college basketball and have a charm all their own.
Matt Fiedler – Central Connecticut State is in a tough spot. However, they have carved out a nice niche for themselves in the basketball landscape of Connecticut. They have very nice facilities that they have improved over the years, and they offer an affordable Division One basketball experience. Detrick Gymnasium is a solid spot for some quality basketball if you find yourself in the area.
Paul Swaney – The Horizon League is generally an entertaining basketball conference, and this could be a decent place to see a game. Unfortunately, with no student presence and unappetizing concession choices, there is little to like about the arena experience besides the action on the floor.
Paul Baker – Case Gym has a wonderful, old-school feel to it. Case Gymnasium’s location on the roof of an old hockey rink on the spot where major league baseball was once played makes it a destination for many basketball junkies.
Jay Wagner – Reitz Arena isn’t the biggest or shiniest, but it’s everything the Greyhounds need it to be – cozy, intimate and easily accessible for students. On top of all that, the athletic department clearly cares about the game day experience. Video boards and graphics packages are features that some mid-major schools do not put a lot of effort into. Much attention to detail is payed at Reitz Arena, and it does not go unnoticed.
Costello Athletic Center Mascot-Photo by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey.
Matt Fiedler – Although Costello Athletic Center is small and doesn’t draw too many fans, it is still a fun way to spend a night or a Saturday afternoon. The prices are very reasonable and the basketball is solid to watch. You could definitely do worse than taking in a River Hawks game at Costello Athletic Center.
Eric Moreno – East Texas is unlike any other region of the state – the scenery, topography, and terrain all make it unlike anywhere else in Texas. Nacogdoches also prides itself on being different, yet Texan at the same time. Making a visit to the city alone is well worth the trip; when you add in the chance to see a great basketball program in a special venue, it is one that should not be missed.
Matt Colville – The Mitchell Center is a very nice arena, almost too nice for the team. But having a nice arena can only get you so far – the South Alabama Jaguars have got to figure out how to win more and then maybe more fans will come, because right now the team is a small fish in a big pond.
Paul Baker – Webster Bank Arena is a solid mid-sized facility. However, it feels a bit too big and sterile for the needs of Fairfield University. The program may be better suited by playing more games at Alumni Hall on campus, where they might attract more attention from the student body.
Eric Moreno – While it can appear quite cavernous inside the Convocation Center (which is fitting as it used to be home to the biannual student body graduation ceremonies), the atmosphere is quite honestly better than anyone could expect for a team that is really without a rich tradition of winning basketball.
David Mortimer – As UVU continues to carve out its niche in the Utah sports scene, the UCCU Center has the potential to become a consistently exciting venue. That combination would significantly elevate both the program and its home. In other words, a good experience now is on the brink of becoming great soon.
Dan Donnelly – My favorite feature is the nicely designed ceiling, centered over the middle of the court. Orange and black banners close in the action and the excellent public address announcer work in concert for a great experience. This is a great place to watch college basketball.
Sean MacDonald – H.O. Clemmons Arena is not a place that most sports fans are going to put on their list of must-see venues, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. The crowd is lively and the game is probably the most interesting thing going on in Pine Bluff. If you are in Central Arkansas and the Golden Lions are at home, consider a visit and back the SWAC.
Sean Rowland – Cornell’s Newman Arena may have the feel of a high school gym, however the basketball and competition inside is well above that level. Big Red school spirit is splashed on the walls of the concourse before entering the gym and the intimate setting offers a decent look at the school’s basketball team.
Bradlee Ross – This gym is a very small one, although that is not necessarily a bad thing. The atmosphere in the Farris Center is lively despite its size. While it is not the most fun atmosphere you will find, it is great for families who want an inexpensive college basketball experience.
Chris Green – The best thing here is the unique floor design that FIU’s court features. With waves crashing onto a beach on one side and tropical palm trees on the other, the floor definitely stands out. That, however, is where the uniqueness ends.
Chase Family Arena Fans, Photo by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey.
Paul Baker – Chase Family Arena is typical of the small gymnasiums that dot the college basketball landscape in the northeast. It’s a modest facility without a lot of bells and whistles, but a great, intimate setting at which to take in some quality college hoops at little cost. As the Hawks wind down their time in Division One, Chase Family Arena no longer hosts the big crowds we’re used to seeing here.
Paul Baker – There were many doubters in the Greater Boston area who thought that tiny Merrimack College was making a mistake when it made the move to promote all their teams to Division One. For the men’s basketball team, the move has been a success both on and off the court. The team set a record for most wins by a school in their first year in Division One and fans have packed cozy Hammel Court all year.
Paul Baker – Lundholm Gymnasium is typical of the smaller facilities that dot the northeast. While far removed from big-time college basketball, these gyms have a charm all their own. If visiting Durham, be sure to give yourself some time to explore the Field House and the incredible display of New Hampshire athletic history.
Andy Mantsh – The whole place really does have an odd recreated 1970’s feel, and not in the traditional basketball sense. It feels like you’re in a plastic seated movie theater/basketball gym. The best part of it is that there isn’t much of a crowd, so putting your feet up while being only a few rows from the action isn’t a bad deal for the price.
Paul Hilchen – Taking into account the Stott Center’s diminutive size, it does not feel like you are in a Division I arena, rather more like a high school gym. There is only one entrance to the gym. An 11 member pep band performs at the end of the court opposite to the entrance.
Steven Burke – On each end there are purple plastic bleachers with the pep band on the opponents end and the student section on the end nearest the Leathernecks’ bench. With the low ceiling of Western Hall when the crowd and band get going the building can produce a great environment for college basketball.
Eric Moreno – Tudor Fieldhouse will never be confused with any of the grand palaces of college basketball; but that’s okay, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking to introduce a young one to the sport of college basketball, or if you’re just looking to catch a game on your own, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better way to spend your time or your money.
Chris Patton – Eastern Illinois University’s pride in their athletic accomplishments is evident as you walk into the Lantz Arena Complex. Once you are in the arena, you will find a comfortable venue for college basketball.
Andy Mantsch – Overall, the Dedmon Center won’t (and shouldn’t) be high on anyone’s “must-see” list. Only the most serious of college hoops fans will make the trek to western Virginia to check it out. But under those lowered expectations, it at least qualifies as an easy, comfortable day.
Paul Derrick – One of the things that quickly caught my attention though was the pep band. I am going on record as saying the Cardinals have one of the best pep bands I have ever heard. Playing everything from great classics to new age hits, they kept the few fans there bobbing their heads and tapping their feet all night long. Big props to the music department and Lamar on this one.
Nathaniel Mata – Even though Texas-Rio Grande Valley is known as a commuter campus everything about a UTRGV game is a college experience. The UTRGV pep band is always fun and keeping the attitude light no matter the score. The band is always loud but are sometimes rivalled by that of fraternities or the student section.
Marc Viquez – Daytona Beach is a premier tourist destination and for good reason. It’s a beautiful area with history and picturesque scenery. The Bethune-Cookman campus is a nice addition, but the sports experience doesn’t match the charm of other small schools.
Matt Colville – One thing that SWAC schools are known for is their bands, and at Jackson State it’s no exception. While most college arenas would have a loudspeaker playing music for pregame, the Sonic Boom of the South provides the pregame music by playing hit songs. The band gyrates and dances in unison to the beat of the music, and it really creates a raucous atmosphere.
Marc Viquez – A game at the Rothman Center is definitely accessible if in North Jersey and won’t break your bank when it comes to pricing–even with its unique roof design and other features–might be only for the die-hard fan or alumni.
Brian Wilmer – We must finally mention one of the more amusing mascots in all of college sports, Scotty the Scotsman. Scotty is a huge hit with kids and adults alike, and it’s really tough not to smile and laugh at his antics. When he isn’t dancing along with the music during a break, he’s posing for photos with children or fist-bumping random camera operators, If you get to a Blue Hose game, find Scotty and ask for a picture or a high-five.
Paul Swaney – While far from a must-see venue, McGuirk Arena does manage to provide a comfortable and modern feeling experience, and a chance to see Division I basketball at a good price. If you are in or near Mt Pleasant, Michigan, then stop over at the Mt Pleasant Brewing Company for an IPA, and stop over to McGuirk Arena for a little round ball action.
Eric Moreno – I honestly enjoyed my visit to Alice P. McDermott Convocation Center. While it is not on the level of some other historic and/or larger college basketball programs, it is not without its charms. I feel confident that anyone making a visit to a UIW Cardinals basketball game will also feel the same.
Richard Smith – I understand that the 1998 design of this arena was a compromise in using an existing building. But it still feels that LaSalle made so many poor design decisions that it seriously compromises the quality of the fan experience. You will still see high-quality basketball, but in less than inviting environment.
Richard Smith – Hill Field House is a pleasant enough arena that suffers from being too spacious for its own good, and that means the atmosphere is not as great as it should be. But the low price of admission and a strong caliber of play means it is still a great choice for the local sports fan.
Benjamin Evansen – Overall, Beasley Coliseum is a nice arena, but while the team is doing so poorly the venue is empty and very unenergetic. With team success, it is not a bad arena by any means to see a Pac-12 basketball game.
Paul Derrick – When the Privateers moved to the Southland Conference they unfortunately left their fans and spirit in the Sun Belt. The crowds have been a bit sparse. The pep band is nice and energetic, and gets the crowd on their feet on occasion; however the game is more of a social gathering or get together for most in attendance.
Bradlee Ross – I’ll give one extra point to the Jack Stephens Center for having the pep band there to perform. Having a band at a basketball game seems to infuse the experience with so much more energy, and helps to make college basketball special.
Paul Baker – The William H. Pitt Center is typical of the gymnasiums that are found in New England. With a few exceptions, college basketball just isn’t the huge deal at Sacred Heart that it is at other schools throughout the country. The Pitt Center is a solid, no-frills facility that fits the needs of the program at this small school perfectly.
Paul Baker – Leede Arena is fairly typical of many of the small on campus gymnasiums that dot the college basketball landscape here in New England. It lacks many of the bells and whistles that many bigger venues have, but makes up for it with tradition and a quaint atmosphere. Plus, if you bring your squash or racquetball gear, you can play a quick game at halftime. Where else in Division One basketball can you say that?
DeRon Talley – The atmosphere here is really relaxing. Almost to the point to where you might dose off for a quick nap. However, it wasn’t necessarily dull or boring because the university’s band entertains during media timeouts. The band plays traditional basketball music and you’ll hear the school’s fight song often.
Marc Viquez – The Jones Convention Center – it’s a beautiful building and could be a wonderful place for basketball once the college program develops a fan base and a following throughout the area. Those days are not there yet and attending a game is merely for the true basketball fan. In a city where there are plenty of other sporting event options, including college basketball, the Jones Convention Center may not make the top of your list.
Bradlee Ross – The atmosphere is pretty fun, with a decent amount of sponsored games that award prizes to certain sections. There were also a couple on-the-court games at halftime that allowed individuals to win decent prizes.
Jason Bullock – The Hampton Convocation Center is located on the university campus and is home to the Pirates basketball team. Opening in 1993 and replacing Holland Hall, which the volleyball team still calls home, the Convocation Center seats about 7,200 fans.
Dan Donnelly – The physical attributes of the facility are above par for a mid-major program. If you combine the proximity of the bustling city with all it has to offer with a competitive game at the Event Center, one can have an amazing time.
Bradlee Ross – The atmosphere was family friendly to the highest degree. Oral Roberts is a Christian college so that part of it made sense. Overall, the atmosphere was still pretty fun. They had the normal halftime and time out games.
Andy Mantsch – The presence of an organized student section with the pep band instantly makes this slightly better than a lot of small conference venues around the country. They even sport the Roadrunner logo (who wouldn’t?) pretty regularly. But if there was any organization or traditions from the Division II championship days they’ve long since gone. They’ll cheer for their team at the right times, but anything more than that is non-existent.
Eric Moreno – Again, the operative word to describe Moody Coliseum is quaint. I was really struck by how close I was to the action on the court, and by how loud the home crowd was in comparison to the number in attendance. In many cases, quaint is simply a euphemism for “small.” However, when it comes to Moody Coliseum quaint is used the way it is meant to be used. I had a great time during my visit to ACU – I always do – and I am confident you will enjoy your visit as well.
Paul Derrick – Unfortunately, there was no pep band which was highly disappointing, especially with the high reputation the band has. I did expect a more rowdy atmosphere since SWAC sports are known for great rivalries, and the Tigers were playing Alcorn State but in this game the atmosphere definitely fell short of my expectations.
Sean MacDonald – The WEC is a nice, new building that deserves more fans and some history on display to make it a more compelling destination for sports travelers who want to get off the beaten path in the New York City area.
DeRon Talley – The fans weren’t in abundance for whatever reason – maybe the students go back home on weekends – but the fans that were there made sure you knew they were in the building. There wasn’t much chanting going on and the only noise really was that which came from the band members.
Brian Merzbach – The arena itself consists of large bleacher sections on each side, but no seating on the ends and no chair back seating at all. Basic scoreboards are located on the walls on each end of the court. Because of how small it is, the Peacocks could have a good home court advantage if they ever could get more fans to come out to the games. Could the Peacocks’ run to the Sweet Sixteen accomplish that?
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