THE PRESEASON TOP 10: COLLEGE BASKETBALL EDITION

Attention Stadium Fans: with our heads still buzzing from the Giants lighting up Busch Stadium, AT&T and Comerica Parks, and consumed by Hurricane Sandy threatening to delay NBA tipoff and MLS playoffs, we must not forget that college basketball season is just ten days away.  A few months back we looked at the stadiums of the Top 10 Preseason College Football teams and in so doing discovered an intriguing sample of modern day stadia – a collection of buildings that grew organically over time, that are used in ways that extend beyond their primary function, and that are in large part void of any corporate branding or sponsorship so prevalent in the professional leagues. With college basketball season fast approaching, starting tomorrow we will look at the Halls, Domes, Indoor Stadiums, and Arenas the AP TOP 10 College Basketball teams call home.

While the college football series took us to some wonderful ballparks, this series will introduce an even more diverse collection of sport venues.  We will visit the colossal Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY a mixed-use facility that regularly sets attendance records with averages over 30,000 spectators per game.  We will look at the cozy Cameron Indoor Stadium, a 9,000-seater home to some of the most creative, clever fans in the world.  We will also stop by legendary venues like Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana, Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas and Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky.  The shape, size and location of these gyms vary tremendously and – unlike their football counterparts – they remain as they were originally designed and have not been expanded on, added to or altered in any significant way.  Investigating these ten basketball arenas will also reveal ten different strategies for viewing James Naismith’s wonderful game; in this way we’ll learn so much more about designing a basketball venue than by looking at the same-y arenas of the NBA.  The fact these buildings are home to not only men’s teams but women’s teams as well, in addition to an array of other university teams makes them all the more inclusive and functional than their football counterparts.

This ten-day build-up to the season will again be challenging and arduous, exciting and full of last minute buzzer beaters. I will rely on my trusty laptop and will dust off my old JCC jersey to get me through. Muscles will be pulled and feelings might get hurt along the way but we will fight on with collegiate spirit in that dogged pursuit of the perfect sport venue.

1. Assembly Hall, Bloomington, IN – Indiana University Hoosiers
2. KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, KT – University of Louisville Cardinals
3. Rupp Arena, Lexington, KT – University of Kentucky Wildcats
4. Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein Center, Columbus, OH – The Ohio State University Buckeyes
5. Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, MI – University of Michigan Wolverines
6. PNC Arena, Raleight, NC – North Carolina State University Wolfpack
7. Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, KS – Kansas University Jayhawks
8. Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, NC – Duke University Blue Devils
9. Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY – Syracuse University Orange
10. Stephen C. O’Connell Center, Gainesville, FL – University of Florida Gators