Being a fan of mid-major basketball, I have seen many of the great home arenas on television, but I have not personally been to many of them.
So here’s my bucket list. Please feel free to comment, or tweet at me if I missed your school. I’m always open to expanding.
The Palestra (Penn)
The Cathedral of College Basketball. Outside of Madison Square Garden, this is possibly the most historic basketball venue in the nation, yet somehow it is underrated. Hopefully the new Ivy League Tournament will give the gym some much-deserved attention.
McKeon Pavilion (Saint Mary’s)
I love this one. Do not ask me why, I just find it awesome how a team with a gym that can only sit 3,500 people is able to compete with the best teams in the nation, who have arenas holding upwards of 20,000. Mckeon Pavilion gets wild and is sure a fun place to watch a game, but it can be a living nightmare for opponents.
Jadwin Gym (Princeton)
Another beautiful Ivy League venue. Jadwin Gym arguably has one of the most unique setups of any arena in the nation. With the way the dome slants downward on each side behind the basket, depth perception causes nightmares for three-point shooting teams and creates a huge home court advantage for the Tigers.
Siegel Center (VCU)
Shaka Smart brought great excitement to VCU in his tenure, when he led VCU to the Final Four. VCU has the best band in college basketball (the Peppas!) and the Siegel Center is one of the rowdiest arenas in the nation.
Reilly Center (St. Bonaventure)
Another historic venue, this Atlantic 10 arena is often overlooked. The Bonnies play in what Jay Bilas once called, “one of the five most hostile places to play in college basketball.” Look for the Reilly Center to be raucous this year as St. Bonaventure is projected to be a contender in the conference.
McCarthy Athletic Center (Gonzaga)
Mark Few’s squad certainly plays in a nice facility out in Spokane. There really is not much to say here — when you have a Final Four-caliber team, you are going to draw large crowds, creating a fun atmosphere.
The Pit (New Mexico)
Due to the way it was constructed, The Pit is among the loudest arenas in the nation. In fact at one point, crowd noise clocked 125 decibels, a level in which hearing can be damaged. Similar to BYU’s home arena, the Marriott Center, the Lobos play at a high elevation of 5,100 feet above sea level.
The Matadome (Cal State Northridge)
I think the Matadome is an awesome place, from the uniquely gray floor design to the cool signs on the walls around the edges of the arena.
Marriot Center (BYU)
I find the Marriot Center to be unique. The seating seems to rise up into an abyss of darkness. But just because you cannot see all of the fans, does not mean you cannot hear them. BYU fans are known to be loud, and the elevation of Provo, Utah provides another advantage.
Valparaiso has a great basketball tradition, and fan support is always on display in the ARC. Kudos to the Missouri Valley for adding Valpo to the conference.
UD Arena (Dayton)
It’s one of the most historic venues in the country, having hosted well over 100 NCAA Tournament games, including the First Four every year. The arena is now under renovation, ensuring that it will be around for years to come.
GCU Arena (Grand Canyon)
Grand Canyon has only been in Division I for a few years now, but they have a promising future. The student section at GCU Arena creates an absolutely phenomenal atmosphere. The Antelopes had a big win over San Diego State on their home court this season, and played Louisville tough as well. After the Louisville game, Rick Pitino lauded the home court advantage from the Lopes fans.
Don’t Forget About NJIT!
The Highlanders will go from playing in this high school-sized gym.....
To this pretty sweet arena in the upcoming 2017-18 season.......