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Official Review by Chad Minton, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
There is a historical allure you feel from the Murphy Center as soon as you walk through the doors. The venue is interesting in the way it's shaped like a square instead of your classic dome shape.
The Murphy Center has been home to the basketball program of the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders since 1972 and they've always enjoyed a good home record.
Located right on the edge of campus in historical Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the Murphy Center seats 11,520 fans that includes your classic arena bucket seats and your wooden bleachers towards the top.
You're not going to be blown away at first glance of this modest basketball venue, but stick around for a game and you'll probably change your mind.
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The Murphy Center offers plenty of options at the two concession stands including your basics of nachos, popcorn, pizza, hot dogs and candy. The food is at a very fair price with nothing pricing over $5.
There are basic drink choices with two sizes to choose from, but Gatorade is also offered for the non-soda fans. You can also get the souvenir cups if you get the larger size.
An added perk is when you're waiting in line you won't miss a second of the action with their mounted TV's at each concession stand.
The only knock you can really have on the concession stands is that they don't offer anything unique to the Blue Raiders, but there's still something offered for everyone.
You would have been pleasantly surprised to see how much electricity was running through the arena for a Sun Belt basketball game. After all, the Sun Belt isn't exactly what you would call a premiere basketball conference.
Nonetheless, the building was very loud and played a major factor in helping the Blue Raiders pull out a win over Belmont, which is located right down the road in the heart of Nashville. It really sounded like being at a much bigger team's arena.
There also can't be enough said about how great the band sounded within the arena. It really gave it the feel of a college athletic event.
Now one thing that could be improved dramatically is the student section, or lack thereof. If you're a new fan visiting the Murphy Center then odds are you would have to look around the arena before realizing where a student section was.
With that said, the building was very loud for an attendance of just over 6,000.
The Murphy Center is located right in the middle of Murfreesboro and is predominantly surrounded by residential areas and the campus itself.
There are local bars located right across the street and a few dining options, but nothing special. However, the city of Murfreesboro has begun to expand this surrounding area and has already illustrated that by building a brand new sports bar catering to MTSU fans.
A short drive down the road will put you in the historic downtown square of Murfreesboro, which is great if you're a Civil War buff.
The neighborhood doesn't offer a whole lot to do if you're a visiting fan for an opposing team, but if a basic sports bar is all you need then you'll be fine.
The Blue Raider fan base is full of loyal fans, old and young. In regards to this particular visit, the fans couldn't have been more into the game. They argued bad calls like most passionate fans will, and they jumped out of their seats during the several big plays the Blue Raiders made during the game.
One of the best things to experience from these fans is their school chant which basically consists of the entire crowd spelling out M-T-S-U! The chant ends with a "Go Raiders Go". It really fuels the team and it showed in this tightly contested game.
However, there were plenty of times when the crowd seemed to be sitting on their hands, so to speak. That certainly changed once the game came down to the wire.
It would have also been nice to see more fans in attendance for a team that is 9-2 with a win over UCLA under its belt.
All in all, I was very impressed with how the fans stayed into the game and cheered their team on.
Once you actually find the campus in the sprawling city of Murfreesboro, the rest is pretty simple. The Murphy Center is located right on the edge of campus at the corner of two busy roads.
The difficult part will be finding the campus itself because it's not located near the main Interstate. You have to drive through the heart of Murfreesboro, and that can get confusing if you're not familiar with the area. Traffic is also a major nightmare in and around campus.
The campus is also currently undergoing a major construction project that makes navigating through the campus a nightmare.
There is a huge parking lot adjacent to the Murphy Center that makes parking and finding the arena very convenient. Most games will offer free parking.
Allow for plenty of time to find the campus, but after that you should have no problem parking and getting into the arena in ten minutes.
Tickets were $10 for general admission during this particular game which is widely considered a local rivalry game. Belmont's recent national recognition also probably had something to do with the ticket prices even being that high.
A game at the Murphy Center offers the casual fan a great college basketball experience for a cheap price. It's a great place to bring the family as you get all your fun contests that keeps the young ones entertained.
This historical venue gets one bonus point for their brand new state-of-the-art scoreboards that offer a crisp video image. There is one on each end of the arena and they give the fan a viewing experience similar to one you would see at an arena of a much larger program.
Another bonus point is given for how they got the crowd involved during player introductions by having each player throw a t-shirt into the crowd after being introduced. That's a great public relations move that will keep fans coming back to fill the seats.
**Photo attributed to Ryan Glenn
Member Review by robbrinthaupt on Dec 26, 2011
The Charles M. Murphy Athletic Center and 11,520 seat Monte Hale Arena on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University is the biggest basketball arena in the Sun Belt Conference, and it's one of the most unique arenas in college basketball. Built in 1975, the Murphy Center (affectionately called the Glass House by loyal fans) isn't often thought of as a premier basketball venue, but the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders love to play at home and have enjoyed remarkable success inside the friendly confines of the Murphy Center.
The Murphy Center has undergone recent renovations to spruce up the concessions areas and the athletic department painted the main tunnel leading up into the arena with a mural of Middle Tennessee's basketball history and stating "Historic Murphy Center". Blue Raider fans enjoy free tee shirts thrown by players for both women's and men's basketball, and the fans are, for the most part, loud and energetic even in small numbers. The on-campus arena is located at a large intersection in the city of Murfreesboro and features thousands of parking spots in short walking distance. In recent years, attendance has steadily risen at the Murphy Center and the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders' home floor is known as one of the toughest places to play in the Sun Belt Conference and a loud, hostile atmosphere for all opponents.
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