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Top 12 College Basketball Experiences in Ohio

By Brandon Gee -- December 12, 2012 4:11 PM EST

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While our neighboring Indiana is often thought of as a haven of basketball, the Buckeye state can boast a strong collection of teams in the college ranks. The venues run the gamut from old school gyms to modern, professional-style arenas. Competitive on the national scale, four teams from Ohio made the NCAA Sweet Sixteen last season. With so many options, a college basketball fan can find some great experiences amongst Ohio’s schools. Using our review rankings, here are Ohio’s Top 12 College Basketball experiences:

  1. University of Dayton Arena - Home of the Dayton Flyers

    The top college basketball arena in Ohio, UD Arena, offers fans an intimate seating bowl and intense fanbase to watch Flyers basketball. Built in 1969, the arena has undergone major renovations that have created a sort of hybrid mix between the classic gym while offering modern arena comforts. From Conrad Klank’s review, “The atmosphere in UD Arena is very impressive but has not come easily. Within the past fifteen years the university has invested a lot of money remodeling and revamping this historic arena. To their credit, the arena hasn't lost a bit of the traditional feel, in fact, if anything, it may have gained additional atmosphere points.”

    It should also be noted that UD is the home of the NCAA tourneys’ ‘First Four’ series of play in games that kick off March Madness.

  2. Convocation Center - Home of the Ohio Bobcats

    Hidden in the hills of southeastern Ohio is the Athens campus of Ohio University. On the western edge of the incredibly picturesque campus is the Convocation Center. Though the building is dated, the students and local fans sell this place. It also doesn’t hurt that the Bobcats played to a 17-1 record at home in “The Convo” last season on their way to a berth in the Sweet Sixteen.

  3. Wright State University's Nutter Center - Home of the Wright State Raiders

    The “other” basketball team in Dayton gets overshadowed a bit by the Dayton Flyers, but “The Nutt House” is a great venue to catch a game in. It offers a more comfortable, relaxed experience than their crosstown colleagues. Average teams have hurt attendance, but when rivals come to town, this place can get really loud.

  4. Cintas Center - Home of the Xavier Musketeers

    From the exterior, the Cintas Center looks like an unassuming, if not boring, rectangular building tucked away on Xavier’s Cincinnati campus. Once you cross the threshold of the place, you’ll find a great modern basketball arena. Opened in 2000, this 10,000-seater was built with two tiers under a low roof. The sightlines are great even from the top rows and the noise level can be incredible. Basketball is the sport of choice for Xavier fans and they pack this place. On the court, the Muskies have become a regular competitor in the NCAA tourneys’ later rounds.

  5. Fifth Third Arena - Home of the Cincinnati Bearcats

    Do yourself a favor and sit in the lower bowl. If you end up in the bench seating of the upper deck, you may come away with a nosebleed, eye problems, and a herniated disk. Kidding aside, I grew up watching games in this place and saw many great teams. It’s the on-court product that makes this place worth anything. The student section is strong no matter what but it has taken some hard work for local fans to start caring about the program again. A return to the Sweet Sixteen last season is certainly a step in the right direction.

    Everyone connected to the program knows a heavy renovation is needed for 5/3 Arena, but with the way college athletics has gone, basketball hangs in the balance while college football sorts out who’s going to get the big payoffs. Cincinnati is angling to be one of those, and if successful, will get to give this place a proper upgrade.

  6. Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center - Home of the Kent State Golden Flashes

    From site founder Paul Swaney’s review: "The Memorial Athletic & Convocation Center is small, and this is a very good thing. The size of the half-century old facility allows the school to be packed to the rafters (and they literally have rafters). The arena is loud and intense.

    Seating is a little outdated with predominantly plastic or wooden bleachers throughout. This can make for a less than comfortable seating arrangement, especially if the arena is packed. There are a few chairback seats in sections A-E. The legroom here is adequate and you get to face the benches so this is probably your best seating option. Keep in mind that the arena can get very warm, so plan to dress in layers, as you will likely be comfortable in a t-shirt once inside."

  7. Savage Arena - Home of the Toledo Rockets

    Savage is closer to the gymnasium side of the spectrum, but recent renovations have improved sightlines by taking seats out and bringing the seating bowl closer to the playing floor. Rockets basketball is a great value with cheap tickets for solid MAC competition.

  8. Stroh Center - Home of the Bowling Green Falcons

    The newest gym on the list with only a season under its belt. The $30 million facility seats an intimate 4,700 and features glass heavily throughout as well as a giant 23-foot bronze Falcon statue at its entrance. Windows at the top of the seating bowl brightens up the already vibrant arena. Hopefully, the Stroh Center will continue to reinvigorate the Falcon fanbase.

    It’s also the only place on the list with its own rap song.

  9. Wolstein Center - Home of the Cleveland State Vikings

    While Wolstein is a nice arena to catch a game, the Vikings seem to suffer from being overlooked due in part to their schedule of Horizon League opponents. In the case of the fans who do show up, from Daniel Wolf’s review: ‘‘The CSU fans are very passionate and they claim the first 10 rows or so at one end of the court directly behind the basket. Waving their hands and screaming, they were into the game from the very beginning. Some of the students were wearing Viking helmets..."

  10. Millett Hall - Home of the Miami (OH) RedHawks

    A classic 60’s-era arena, Millett’s light on “premium” options. Really, it’s like watching basketball in someone’s living room. If you’re into that level of comfort, then this is the place for you. The school is working on revamping the program and getting fans back en masse. Until then, you can catch decent MAC basketball and experience the great college town that is Oxford, Ohio.

  11. Value City Arena at Jerome Schottenstein Center - Home of the Ohio State Buckeyes

    Oh, this one will get us angry comments. How dare we put The Schott so low on the list? Well, it’s not that VCA is a bad place to see a game, it’s just an okay place. Generic. Average. It’s not just a basketball problem, as I noted in my review of Buckeye hockey. Even with 19,000 fans, there’s something missing to this atmosphere. It lacks that rabid energy that makes college basketball so fun. This is a football town, and it shows.

    With all that said, I should admit that the on-court product is incredible, Ohio State looks to be a competitor on the national scene for some time.

  12. James A. Rhodes Arena - Home of the Akron Zips

    An early 80s relic that seems much older due to much of its seating being wooden bleachers. This is a classic basketball gym, despite some recent upgrades to the A/V equipment. The JAR’s days are numbered as the athletic department has made it well known it's looking into options for a replacement.

    So let’s hear it! Post a comment and tell us what’s right or wrong about your school.

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