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Author Topic: Ranking the SEC basketball venues  (Read 1807 times)

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MikePiazza

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Ranking the SEC basketball venues
« on: December 26, 2013, 01:17:20 pm »

I've always been fascinated with not only the play on the field and on the court, but also the facilities that they take place in.

Thought it might be a good time during the Christmas/New Year's lull to take a look at the 14 member institutions' basketball venues.

They are ranked from worst to first, with my comments:

14) Tad Smith Coliseum, Ole Miss

What to say about this monstorsity? Opened in 1966, this 9,061 seat arena is easily the worst place to watch a game in the conference. Last year, the lights went out when the Hogs played there. Luckily for Rebel fans, a new arena is slated to be built in the next few years.

13) Stegeman Coliseum, Georgia

Opened in 1964, this building has been improved in recent years, but not to the point that it probably should be. Georgia basketball has never been very relevant on the national scene, and it doesn't provide much for atmosphere.

12) Humphrey Coliseum, Mississippi State

The "Hump Dump" debuted in 1975 and the only reason it isn't ranked behind the Tad Pad and Stegeman is because it is newer. It can get loud and Mississippi State does play well there (like Ole Miss does at Tad) but you should play well at home, regardless.

11) Coleman Coliseum, Alabama

Not a terrible place to watch basketball, but the Crimson Nation doesn't really care about basketball enough for it to make a difference. It has a unique ceiling, but it always seems dark on television. It opened in 1968 and was renovated in 2005.

10) Auburn Arena, Auburn

The newest SEC arena, but it doesn't rank very high because 1) Auburn doesn't really care about basketball and 2) Auburn doesn't play well there. The Hogs love playing there, though.

9) Memorial Gym, Vanderbilt

In terms of nostalgia, this should be a lot higher. But it's the oldest arena in the conference and the whole raised court, benches in the end zone thing is overplayed and it doesn't provide an intimidating atmosphere.

8) Maravich Assembly Center, LSU

Nothing spectacular about this venue, other than it being named after one of the most decorated college basketball players of all time. It opened in 1972 and for 40 years it has always been a 'meh' on the college basketball landscape, despite being nicknamed the 'Deaf Dome' by Dickie V.

7) Reed Arena, Texas A&M

Don't know much about this place because I've only watched Arkansas play in it once, but it was opened in 1998 and cost nearly $37 million to build. Looks like a fun environment if the fans show up and are loud.

6) O'Connell Center, Florida

In 1980, the Gators moved into the O'Dome and it has been fun ever since. The students are on top of you and it gets loud. Easily one of the best environments in not only the SEC, but college basketball. Leaves a bit to be desired aesthetically, though.

5) Colonial Life Arena, South Carolina

One of the newer venues in the conference, it seats 18,000 and cost $65 million to build, but the Gamecocks have never done anything of substance to warrant a full house, other than that upset of Kentucky a few years ago.

4) Mizzou Arena, Missouri

Like A&M, I haven't watched much basketball be played here, but I know that it's a heck of a lot better than the Hearnes Center, seats 15,000 comfortably and that the Tigers play extremely well there. Also cost $75 million to erect.

3) Thompson-Boling Arena, Tennessee

If the fans cared as much about the men's program as they do the women, you could make a case for this being No. 1. But they don't. Opened in 1987, it had the most capacity in the conference for 20 years but renovations gave it back to Rupp.

2) Bud Walton Arena, Arkansas

Still "The Basketball Palace of Mid-America" 20 years later. When it's rocking, it's hard to find a better place to watch a college basketball game. Unfortunately, it hasn't rocked nearly enough for over a decade now. Hopefully Mike gets it back to that level, seeing as he played a pivotal role in getting it built.

1) Rupp Arena, Kentucky

As much as I love BWA, I can't put it over the Rupp. Even though it's been around for almost 40 years now, it has woven its way into the fabric of college basketball, whether for UK basketball, SEC or NCAA tournaments. More fans can fit into it then any other ARENA in the U.S. Back in '76, it cost $55 million to build. That'd be $217 million today.

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headbeaver

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Re: Ranking the SEC basketball venues
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2013, 01:29:59 pm »

Good read.  I have never made a road trip to watch a basketball game but I want to make it to Columbia when the hogs are in town.  I was at the game last year when Mizzou came to town and remember seeing all the tiger fans.  It made for a fun atmosphere.
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Smithian

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Re: Ranking the SEC basketball venues
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2013, 01:40:46 pm »

Lots of people like Mizzou's Arena but I have never been a fan.

I'm not sure Bud Walton is better than Thompson-Boling. The arena seats more, has had recent major renovations, and according to the NCAA site has had better attendance for at least 7 or 8 straight years. That surprised me.



Hurts me to say but Thompson-Boling looks like a really cool place to watch basketball. When the Hogs start winning hopefully the Hogs can spruce up Bud Walton. BWA is a very good arena, but we want it to be the best.
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sowmonella

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Re: Ranking the SEC basketball venues
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2013, 04:17:40 pm »

Tennessee's arena is like a large warehouse. I wouldn't put it in the top 6.
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kuhog

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Re: Ranking the SEC basketball venues
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2013, 05:00:14 pm »

There are only two decent basketball arena's in the SEC: Bud Walton and Rupp.
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MikePiazza

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Re: Ranking the SEC basketball venues
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2013, 10:36:06 pm »

There are only two decent basketball arena's in the SEC: Bud Walton and Rupp.

Well I have them ranked Nos. 1 & 2 for a reason.
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notavol

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Re: Ranking the SEC basketball venues
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2013, 10:59:33 pm »

I live in Knoxville and attend some UT games just because I love basketball. Dont kid yourself, TBA is the premier facility in the SEC. Our place is fantastic but when you take away energy and the nontagibles that are only expeienced during a game and speak only of the physical, this place is amazingly nice. I was last at BWA during my trip to Fayetteville a few years back when we played TN in football. It was the first time i had been back to BWA in 10 years and although it still looked great you could sorta tell that it needed a freshening up or some light rennovations such as new seats and video boards if we want to regain a "best in the SEC" arena.
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notavol

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Re: Ranking the SEC basketball venues
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2013, 11:00:54 pm »

FWIW i have been to Rupp many times and the energy is amazing no doubt, but physically its a dump besides just being huge.
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warriorlion

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Re: Ranking the SEC basketball venues
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2013, 11:33:04 pm »

I agree with you on 10-12 of them.
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Rooster Hogburn

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Re: Ranking the SEC basketball venues
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2013, 11:00:36 am »

Mike Piazza did great on this thread. Sec basketball is alive and well. Thank you for reminding me of the antiquated gems, the classics, and the fresh facilities.

Since I'm too poor to travel to away games, I live vicariously through posts and stories like this. Thank you for firing the synapses of my imagination in evaluating each facility. I envisioned the smell of the popcorn in the expansive stadiums you described in detail, and could even smell the urinal cakes of the dimly lit tightly packed dumps you mentioned.
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HF#1

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Re: Ranking the SEC basketball venues
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2013, 12:01:00 pm »

Nothing will ever compare to BWA for me.  I went to my first Razorback game (football or basketball) there in 94 and was in awe of the place.  Say what you want about Rupp but BWA is where it's at.
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Inhogswetrust

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Re: Ranking the SEC basketball venues
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2013, 03:16:51 pm »

There are only two decent basketball arena's in the SEC: Bud Walton and Rupp.

And there are plans to renovate both to some degree at some point.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2013, 03:26:55 pm by Inhogswetrust »
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ICEman

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Re: Ranking the SEC basketball venues
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2013, 05:32:19 pm »

Long's facility improvements include a 360 glass clad promenade of BWA.
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