The Best NCAA Basketball Arenas of All Time
Top Arenas in College Basketball
With the recent $136-million facelift to UCLA's Pauley Pavilion, I got to thinking will this overhaul return the basketball arena to its former glory? If so, what other arenas would also belong in the NCAA Basketball Hall of Fame?
Pauley Pavilion opened on Nov. 27, 1965 for the first time and in the exhibition game, the freshmen beat the varsity squad 75-60. Yes, the two-time defending National Champion varsity squad that was once again the preseason No. 1 team. The freshman squad was led by Lew Alcindor who scored 51 points against some of the best basketball players in the country. Head Coach John Wooden knew he had a special team and he now had a brand new home to show off to future recruits.
Alcindor, Wooden and others proceeded to win an unprecedented 10 national championships in the next 12 seasons and Pauley Pavilion would become one the most feared basketball arenas in the country where Bill Walton led the Bruins to an 88-game win streak in the 70's. Over the decades, the ol' girl began showing signs of age and like everybody and everything else in Los Angeles, Pauley Pavilion had "some work done."
Sunday began "Welcome Back Pauley Week" which will run until this coming Sunday with various events for UCLA students, fans, alumni, faculty staff and donors.
Tuesday was the unveiling of the new Pavilion to the campus as a whole, building up to Pauley Opening Madness on Friday. It is Homecoming weekend at UCLA and the student-only event will introduce the students to the Men's & Women's Basketball teams and host the 2012 festival.
Now, let's see if it makes the Top Five Arenas of All Time.
Team: Indiana Hooisers
The sheer history behind this arena is why Assembly Hall makes the list. Year in and year out, good season or bad, devoted Indiana fans pack the arena and root on their their hometown Hooisers as if they were family.
Team: Kentucky Wildcats
The largest arena on our list and the largest basketball-only arena in the country, Rupp Arena is what home court advantage is all about. The Wildcats have won 51 consecutive games at home leading into the 2012 season and look to break their all-time record of 129 games. Coach Adolph Rupp led Kentucky to this astounding accomplishment in the 40's and no team has even come close to it. It is this tradition to excellence and winning that brings out the crazed Kentucky fans by the truckload to watch practice, exhibitions as well as games.
Team: UCLA Bruins
Capacity: 13,800 (up from 12,829)
The House That Wooden Built was constructed after two consecutive National Championships and during a stretch that would crown the Bruins Champion 10 times in the next 12 years. Pauley Pavilion is a daunting place to play with all the National Championship banners and retired numbers hanging from the rafters. For six straight years beginning in 1970, UCLA did not lose at home for a streak of 98 games. During this stretch, they also won 88 consecutive games and five of their National Championships. As the years passed, the building began falling into disrepair and their teams began suffering as well. Fresh off a multi-million dollar facelift to the arena, it looks like the future of UCLA basketball is also looking up and will be elevated to elite status in no time.
Cameron Indoor Stadium
Team: Duke Blue Devils
In such an intimate setting, Cameron Indoor is a madhouse that makes a College Basketball game more that just a game - it's a lifestyle. The Cameron Crazies are what every student body aspires to be in making it difficult for any team to escape with the W. Adding to the crazy moniker, with such limited capacity inside Cameron Indoor, students set up tents and live outside the arena in the make-shift Krzyzewskiville for weeks in advance in hopes of getting tickets for big games. The Blue Devils have won 77 straight non-conference games at home and a school record 95 in the history of Cameron Indoor.
Allen Fieldhouse "The Phog"
Team: Kansas Jayhawks
Pay heed, all who enter, beware of the Phog. This isn't just a warning to visiting teams, it is the truth. When James Naismith, the inventor of basketball came to the University of Kansas as a Phys. Ed. instructor, little did we know what effect this small school in middle America would have on a worldwide sensation like basketball. Allen Fieldhouse takes its name from legendary coach "Phog" Allen who played at KU under Naismith. The chants of Rock Chalk Jayhawk are deafening for visiting teams as evidenced by their 69-game home-court win streak between 2007-2011. One of the most difficult places for visitors to get a win, the Jayhawks average under two home losses a year. Not only is Allen Field house one of the loudest arenas in the nation, it is ultimately the best College Basketball arena.
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