Here are the best college basketball stadiums in the NCAA


College basketball is a national phenomenon. There is no other way to put it. In fact, going to an NCAA game this season might even be more exciting than an NBA game. Yes, basketball is basketball, but the camaraderie that follows a college basketball team, especially a large school with a good win-loss record, is unmatched. 

Aside from the team itself, those populating college arenas bring every single faceoff to light. There’s the college band, the teams of dancers, the cheer squads and of course the thousands of fans taking up every single seat. The color schemes say it all. Go to the Pavilion at Villanova, and the amount of blue (or white, depending on the day) will blind you. Take a trip over to Assembly Hall in Indiana and the Hoosiers’ sea of red will do the same.

Whether we are in the midst of March Madness or following the normal seasonal schedule, every game at a college arena is an experience. 

Check out these college arenas that are considered the cream of the crop:

Cameron Indoor Stadium

This stadium opened its doors in 1940 and is the home of the Duke University Blue Devils and the "Cameron Crazies." It seats only 9,314 people, but the stadium showcases both the men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as the women’s volleyball team, so the team spirit is always high and mighty. Coached by Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski, the Blue Devils are ranked fourth all-time in wins of any NCAA men’s basketball program. They have won five men’s NCAA basketball titles and appeared in 11 men’s NCAA Championship games.

Allen Fieldhouse

This destination, also known as the “Phog,” opened in 1955 and is the home of the University of Kansas Jayhawks. The arena is named after Dr. Forrest C. “Phog” Allen, a former player and head coach of 39 years for the Jayhawks. The arena seats 16,300 spectators and ESPN The Magazine referred to the stadium as the loudest for college basketball in the country. In fact, the Fieldhouse is usually deemed one of the best home court advantages in men’s college basketball. After all, the Jayhawks have won 70 percent of their games in this arena, losing only about 100 games total in the team’s 60-year history. KU has won the NCAA tournament three times since it was established in 1939.

Harry A. Gampel Pavilion

Opened in 1990, the Harry Gampel Pavilion is the home of the University of Connecticut Huskies. The arena seats 10,167 spectators. The Huskies have won it all an incredible 15 times – 11 times for the women and four for the men – contributing to the intense camaraderie at the stadium. The Gampel Pavilion is on campus in Storrs, Conn., but this arena doesn’t host all UConn games – some are actually played in Hartford, Conn. at the XL Center.

Madison Square Garden

This famed New York City-based arena is the home of the St. John’s Red Storm, the Big East Tournament and the National Invitation Tournament. The space is also home to a plethora of concert performances as well as professional teams – the Knicks and the Rangers – and it seats 20,789 spectators. And though the Red Storm have yet to secure a national championship, they have appeared in the Final Four twice and the Sweet Sixteen seven times, as well as been crowned NIT Champions five times.

Rupp Arena

This arena is named after head coach Adolph Rupp, who coached Kentucky from 1930-1972. It is the home of the University of Kentucky Wildcats and opened its doors in 1967. The stadium holds 20,545 for basketball and up to 19,576 for concerts. The Wildcats lead all schools in total NCAA tournament appearances (59), NCAA tournament wins (131), NCAA tournament games played (184), NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances (45) and NCAA Elite Eight appearances (38). They have won eight out of the 12 NCAA Championships they have played in and also secured two NIT Championships.

The Palestra

The “Cathedral of College Basketball” opened its doors in 1927 and seats 8,722 fans. It is home to the University of Pennsylvania Quakers, who are tied with Princeton for the most Ivy League regular season championships (26). 

The Palestra is also home of the Philadelphia Big Five. The Big Five is an informal association of college athletic programs in Philadelphia, Penn. This group of NCAA Division I basketball schools compete for the Philadelphia city championship. The schools include the University of Pennsylvania, La Salle University, Saint Joseph’s University, Temple University and Villanova University. 

Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall

Indiana University’s stadium opened its doors in 1971, seats 17,222 spectators and has seen over six million fans since. Indiana has won five NCAA Championships, 22 Big Ten Conference Championships and the most All-Big Ten selections (53). They have the best winning percentage in conference games of any team (nearly 60 percent). In fact, the team is so notable, there is even a movie associated with their name. David Anspaugh’s 1986 American sports film, “Hoosiers,” is loosely based on the story of the 1954 Indiana state champions, Milan High School.

Dean E. Smith Center

Opened in 1986, this area was named after Dean Smith, who coached North Carolina from 1961 to 1997. It is home to the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, who have seven national championships under their belt. They have also participated in an NCAA-record 20 Final Fours, won 18 Atlantic Coast Conference tournament titles, 32 ACC regular season titles and 21 ACC regular season championships. ESPN ranked UNC No. 1 on its list of the 50 most successful men’s basketball programs of the past 50 years.

Carrier Dome

The “loud house” Dome opened in 1980 and is the home of the Syracuse University Orange. It is the largest on-campus arena in the entire country and the largest domed stadium in the Northeastern United States. The Dome is used for three of Syracuse’s sports – including basketball, football and lacrosse. It seats 34,616 spectators for basketball and 49,047 for football and lacrosse. But that’s not all … the dome is also used to host New York high school football state championships, annual New York State Field Band Conference championships and a plethora of concert events.

The Syracuse Orange have been coached by Jim Boeheim since 1976, securing one NCAA tournament championship. They have also been national runner-up twice and currently hold the NCAA-record of consecutive winning seasons (51).

Hinkle Fieldhouse

“Indiana’s Basketball Cathedral” opened in 1929, seats 9,100 fans and is the home of the Butler University Bulldogs. Butler is the smallest school to play for a national championship since 1985 when the tournament expanded and began to include 64 teams. The Bulldogs were runner-up in two NCAA tournaments – the first in 2010 to Duke and the second in 2011 to UConn. Butler actually did secure a National Championship win in 1927, however the win came before March Madness and therefore did not count for NCAA records.

William B. Finneran Pavilion

Built in 1985, the Pavilion holds about 7,000 spectators and is the official home of the Villanova University Wildcats. The Wildcats also dabble at the Wells Fargo Center in downtown Philadelphia, which is the homebase of professional teams, the Flyers and the 76ers.

Coached by Jay Wright for the past 21 years, Villanova has three National Championship titles (1985, 2016, 2018) and its 1985 win still marks the lowest seed (No. 8) to win a championship title.

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