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Official Review by Nathan Deal, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The SEC is home to many great basketball arenas. From Kentucky’s Rupp Arena to Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena to Florida’s O’Connell Center, the SEC is full of top-notch places to watch a basketball game. A true hidden gem of the conference and the entire nation, however, is Humphrey Coliseum (a.k.a. "The Hump") at Mississippi State University.
The Bulldogs, who often make the NCAA Tournament, began playing here in 1975 and have since made themselves very comfortable in this 10,575-seat coliseum. The following is a quote from an article at Gainesville.com:
The Bulldogs often come out on top at The Hump, which is one of the SEC’s best home-court advantages.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
I feel like I've said this a lot, but the same status applies here - it's average stadium food with average pricing. The specific stand I visited didn't serve nachos, which was somewhat of a surprise to me.
For being an SEC basketball team, the atmosphere is really electric here. The Hump was 80% full for a game against Georgia, one of the SEC's worst teams. I was told by several people that the crowd wasn't even as large as usual.
Mississippi State has a live mascot named Bully, a small bulldog who is often greeted by children. There is also a costumed mascot, but he doesn't attract the attention that Bully does.
One cool tradition at The Hump for a really big game is color-coordinating the crowd. If Kentucky is in town, the crowd may be entirely in white shirts or it may alternate between maroon shirts and white shirts by section. This doesn't happen at most games, only some significant games, but it's a cool way to get an early leg-up in a big home game.
Mississippi State's campus is nice and open, not cluttered with tight roads and buildings. There is a small lake on one side of campus, right near Humphrey Coliseum. The campus itself is pretty good.
However, Starkville as a city leaves something to be desired. There's almost nothing there. The only real attraction in town is Mississippi State University, and the rest of the town is pretty bland and boring. The best places to grab a bite to eat in town include Oby's, The Veranda Restaurant, City Bagel Café, and more.
Students were waiting outside the stadium two hours before tip-off. Some of them shirtless and/or shoeless. In the blistering cold. That says a lot about Mississippi State fans' and students' passion for the Bulldogs. The arena was loud, nearly fully and was always full of energy. From the court, it's hard to hear yourself think when the crowd gets cranked up.
It's very easy to get into Starkville, and once you get into Starkville, there's no issue finding Mississippi State's campus and Humphrey Coliseum. Parking isn't an issue at all. The farthest away you may have to park is about a quarter-mile away beside Davis-Wade Stadium, the home of Mississippi State football.
For the price of a college basketball ticket, you get a great atmosphere, entertaining basketball, and even very friendly service.
While I thoroughly enjoyed my experience here, there really is nothing extra-special I haven't covered already to warrant any bonus points.
The Hump has to be the most-pleasantly surprising stadium I've been to. I wasn't expecting for the crowd to be as big or loud as it was, nor did I expect to be treated with the kindness I received. The Hump isn't a bucket-list level experience, but I'd recommend watching a big game here at some point.
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