2020 has been one helluva year, and I for one will be happy to see 2021. From the cancellation of “March Madness” to the delayed start and iffy beginning to this season in college basketball. One constant in the sport has been the on-campus arenas that pack out nightly with rabid fans from current students to alumni.
College basketball is all about the atmosphere and without the fans there to influence the game, these ten venues will be really weird minus the usual sellout crowd chanting and taunting the visitors.
The Palestra (Penn)
A second home to the Philly Big 5 which consists of Penn, St Joe’s, Nova, LaSalle and Temple. Each team usually schedules a couple of games a year at the 8,725 seat arena located on the campus of Penn. The history of the arena is enticing enough as is, but not having it at full capacity is a huge loss for the sport.
Bramlage Coliseum (K- State)
Known as “The Octagon Of Doom” by many, Bramlage isn’t typically packed to the rafters when the team struggles as it’s expected to in 2020-21. But when in-state rival and “Big Brother” Kansas comes to town throw out the records. This 12,528-seat edifice becomes one of the most raucous environments in all of CBB. The 2021 Sunflower Showdown in Manhattan will lack a certain excitement this year.
The KFC Yum! Center (Louisville)
This arena is one of the more raved-about in the country and one of the biggest as it houses 22,090 fans on a nightly basis. The huge multi-level arena doesn’t have fans right on top of the players like (Cameron Indoor Stadium), but the noise those fans create makes up for that. It’s always a full house for a Louisville MBB game and women’s coach Jeff Walz has turned that program into a consistent winner and they do very well with attendance also.
Gallagher-Iba Arena (Oklahoma State)
Old Gallagher-Iba Arena hasn’t been nearly as raucous since the days when Eddie Sutton paced the sidelines with Bryant “Big Country” Reeves and Randy Rutherford leading them to the Final Four in 1995. Or nine years later in 2004, when John Lucas III and the Uber-athletic Desmond Mason led them to another Final Four. This year was expected to be electric inside that building with five-star Cade Cunningham on campus. It only holds 13,611 but at full throttle, it sounds like 20,000.
Assembly Hall (Indiana)
This place has one of the most unique layouts in the country, fitting 17,222 fans inside this classic palace, creating a very tough homecourt advantage for the Hoosiers. It hasn’t been as tough to win here in recent years, but with the Hoosiers looking to build off of a 20-win season it could easily be rocking again. But unfortunately, we’ll have to wait.
Breslin Center (Michigan State)
With students very close to the floor, opponents get the loudest and most intimidating fans in the building. With fans wrapping around the entirety of the court, it’s hard to avoid getting caught in the rapture. Sparty also has one of the top teams in the country, and after this week’s win over Duke, attendance would have ballooned.
Allen Fieldhouse (Kansas)
“Pay Heed To The Phog” is what they say, whether they’re playing a game that has Big 12 title implications or an early non-conference tilt this place is a house of horrors for the visitor. Easily one of the loudest arenas in the country. Although an older and more historic venue Allen Fieldhouse continues to be home to one of the most intimidating crowds in the game. Playing in front of 16,300 fans is a good number but it feels like much more than that, which helps the Jayhawks on a nightly basis.
Cameron Indoor Stadium (Duke)
Easily one of the most recognizable arenas in all of college basketball, the size of the legendary building is what pundits focus on. But they have arguably the best cheering sections in the sports with students behind each basket to distract free throw shooters, as well as lining the sidelines. Opponents are never able to escape the “Cameron Crazies” during a game. They make it awfully hard for anybody to concentrate or dominate the Blue Devils.
Rupp Arena (Kentucky)
— Kentucky Athletics (@UKAthletics) November 26, 2020
Home of “BBN” aka “Big Blue Nation”, who under the leadership of John Calipari puts the elite of the elite on the floor yearly. This in itself keeps fans flocking to games to games in the “Bluegrass State”. With a cavernous capacity of 23,500 and one of the bigger arenas in CBB, it’s nearly impossible for a visiting team to walk out of there as the victor.
The “Cats” are absolutely loaded with four and five-star talent again this season, but unfortunately not many will get to see these young gunners live and in person.
Dean E Smith Center (North Carolina)
No way I could leave one of college basketball’s iconic arenas off the list. But it’s not just because the Tar Heels are one of the more notable programs. The 21,750 seat arena – nicknamed the “Dean Dome” never struggles to fill to full capacity. The Tar Heels will definitely miss the impactful homecourt advantage they’ve grown accustomed to on “Tobacco Road.”.
Carrier Dome (Syracuse): When you can get 35,000 fans in for a college basketball game you’re doing something unreal.
XFinity Center (Maryland): Before they left the ACC the matchups with Duke in College Park were just insane. It’s straight RAUCOUS when they see Coach K lead the Blue Devils out of the tunnel.
Hinkle Fieldhouse (Butler): History is all over this place. Since Brad Stevens and Gordon Hayward’s NCAA run in 2010 and 2011, this program packs out Hinkle nightly.
Crisler Arena (Michigan): “Hail To The Victor” is always lathered up and ready to roll. The in-conference tilt with rival Michigan State won’t be the same.
Kohl Center (Wisconsin): Has become a house of horrors for visitors over the years. This program plays tough and efficient basketball and their fans support them fully.