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Stadium Journey’s Top 25 College Basketball Arenas of 2024



 

Stadium Journey endeavors to visit each college basketball arena at least once every four years to keep our reviews current for those of us who love sports travel. Our correspondents have visited 338 (93%) of the 359 D-1 college basketball arenas. Unfortunately, there are still 21 D-1 teams missing from our database that our team has yet to reach. We are actively working hard to fill in these gaps in our coverage.

 

We are ranking the top 25 college basketball arenas according to our patented FANFARE rating scale. This scale considers a venue’s concessions, game day atmosphere, surrounding neighborhood, fan support, access, return on investment, and more. Therefore, our rankings are much different than many others, and often our scale creates much debate. However, that is the main reason to make lists like this to create debate and discussion, right?

 

As mentioned, our rankings are based solely on our FANFARE score. However, as you read through the list, you will see several ties. In the case of a tie between multiple venues, a council of Stadium Journey elders is consulted to break the ties. We encourage you to share your input on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.


To see the entire review of any of the venues on this list, click the link above the photo. Without further ado, we are proud to present our top 25 college basketball arenas of the 2023-24 season!

 



Marc Viquez - There are college basketball arenas and then there are its cathedrals. The Hinkle Fieldhouse is the latter and entering its eleventh decade the atmosphere gets only better. The Bulldog program continues to rank high on the AP Top 25 and provides its fans with winning basketball and an atmosphere that is loud, energetic, and exciting. Hinkle is what college basketball is meant to be and how wonderful is it that near the end of this current decade, the building will be celebrating its 100th anniversary?

 



Richard Smith - Finneran Pavilion is one of the most unique-looking arenas around. It offers a great place to see some very high-quality basketball in a fun environment. In a world where some basketball arenas are getting larger and more corporate, it is good to know there is a building in Philadelphia that is a true classic hoops hall.

 



Michael Davis - Overall I want to say Moody Center is the best new basketball arena in the country, and it just might be a true statement. It is a venue that any sports fan should visit, whether it is for a University of Texas event or a non-UT event. Texas Basketball has an amazing new home, a venue that will bring in recruits, and fans, and give a home-court advantage like no other. Moody Center has already shown that the price was worth the investment for the city of Austin; now it is only time to see if the new culture of Texas Basketball will bring in championships.

 



David Welch - About a full court’s heave from the banks of the Tennessee River, Thompson-Boling Arena at Food City Center has served as the home court of the Tennessee Volunteers men’s and women’s basketball programs since 1987, replacing the Stokley Athletic Center. With a capacity of 21,678, Thompson-Boling Arena at Food City Center is the fourth-largest college basketball arena in the country. 2007 would see major renovations that added a wall of suites and club seating to the arena, decreasing the capacity from over 24,000 to the current 21,000+.

 



Brian O'Sullivan - Even though Notre Dame is not located near a major city, heading to campus on a non-football weekend is a great way to catch a basketball or hockey game and see the campus with far fewer people. In short, attending a game at the Joyce Center is well worth the cost of admission.

 



Lloyd Brown - The Qubein Center is a stunning addition to the High Point University campus. The arena offers fans a professional level of amenities, including comfortable seating, an above-average video board, and an impressive set of dining options. Qubein Center also serves the High Point community through concerts, appearances by notable speakers, and other events throughout the year.

 



Tyler Huskinson - Attending a game at the Spectrum should be on every sports fan's bucket list. Although the venue is nestled in a location very much out of the way for non-locals, it is well worth the trip.

 



Marc Viquez - The UD Arena is quite the experience for college basketball and goes somewhat underneath the radar to most fans. However, you will never have to tell a Dayton fan, alumni, or student what an experience is like during a home game. UD Arena is as advertised, it gets LOWD.

 



Cory Sims - Simply put, nothing matches the atmosphere of the Fieldhouse. In 2017, the arena set a new Guinness World Record for the loudest indoor stadium at more than 116 decibels, louder than a jet or chainsaw. And, that's not with piped-in crowd noise or speakers blaring music, that is pure fan jubilation

 



Michael Davis - The 2023-24 basketball season for the Baylor University programs is historic and has a footprint on the future of Baylor basketball. The teams said goodbye to the Ferrell Center, the program’s home for the last 35 years, on December 22, 2023. Two weeks later, on January 2, 2024, the program opened its new home, Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion, with a win versus Cornell.

 




David Welch - Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gymnasium is an arena that is a must-stop for stadium enthusiasts. Beyond the rarity of the raised court and the quirks of the building itself, the whole experience of a basketball game at Vanderbilt is extremely fan-friendly and has a great college basketball atmosphere.

 



Sean MacDonald - Overall, this is an impressively designed venue that looks much younger than its 20 years and it was rocking for the game I attended, making it one of the best college basketball experiences that I have enjoyed.

 



Michael Davis - Gallagher-Iba Arena is one of the best basketball facilities in the nation. Every sports fan should visit Stillwater, and visit the arena once known as “The Madison Square Garden of the Plains.” Oklahoma State University does a great job with the venue, as Gallagher-Iba Arena continues to make history while staying connected to its past.

 



Paul Donaldson - When you think of Ole Miss athletics, the first thoughts that come to mind are probably the Manning Family, Rebel football, Hotty Toddy, and the entertaining tailgate atmosphere at the Grove. Ole Miss Hoops, however, has the opportunity to earn a place among these popular experiences with their brand new, state-of-the-art basketball arena, The Pavilion at Ole Miss.

 



Steve Ohnsmann - This is one of the holy grails for college basketball fans. If you are lucky enough to attend a Big 10 game vs one of MSU’s traditional rivals such as Michigan, Indiana, Purdue, or Wisconsin, you will have a memorable experience.

 



James Hilchen - CHI Health Center Omaha has great food, and a fabulous atmosphere, and the fans are tremendous. It is rarely thought of among the elite arenas in college basketball, but the arena combined with a fabulous downtown Omaha makes any effort to attend a game here well worth the trip.

 



David Welch - South Carolina Gamecock basketball is an incredible college basketball experience, but one issue might be that, at a capacity of 18,000, Colonial Life Arena may be a touch too big. While the passion of the crowd does not waver, it does seem like a smaller arena might magnify that excitement even more.

 




Lloyd Brown - Jon Huntsman often serves as the site for regional tournaments due to its large city capacity and the large inventory of hotel rooms in downtown Salt Lake City. The Utes play a crowd-pleasing up-tempo game that has brought them success since the championship days of the late Rick Majerus, a time when the Utes were regulars in the NCAA tournaments.

 




Eric Moreno- Alright, I hope the enthusiasm I had for my visit comes through in this review. This is easily the best college basketball venue that I’ve gotten to visit; I am confident in the assumption that if you are to somehow find yourself able to go to the Kennel to see a Zags game, you’ll come away feeling the same. Go Zags!

 




Jason Bartel - The 1966 Texas Western College men’s basketball team is arguably the most important college basketball team in the history of the sport. That Texas Western team took down Adolph Rupp’s Kentucky Wildcats to win the NCAA National Championship and became the first team to start five black players. Though they didn’t play at Don Haskins Center (opened 10 years later), the presence of that team is felt throughout the arena.

 



Chuck Utech - A trip to Cedar Falls to see a Missouri Valley Conference basketball game can be rewarding. With the 2018 trip to the Final Four by Loyola of Chicago, “Hoosiers” images were conjured for folks dreaming of the smaller school defeating large universities. The McLeod Center houses those dreams and passionately puts them on display.

 




Daryn Skjefte - The Betty Engelstad Sioux Center is truly a work of art that deserves to be recognized. College basketball is often a tradition for families and friends and this location does not disappoint. The ticket prices are hard to beat, the parking is easy and priced appropriately, and the in-game experience is second to none. I would recommend checking out The Betty Engelstad Sioux Center if you find yourself in Grand Forks.

 



Greg Venuto- Madison Square Garden is a must-see location for sports and entertainment fans alike. It’s an action-packed venue both inside and out. It can be loud and crazy, but always an exciting and worthwhile Stadium Journey.

 



Jon Hart - The Hall plays a select few games at its on-campus facility, the historic Walsh Gymnasium, which opened in 1941. Walsh is very small, extremely loud, and just a magnificent place to watch a college basketball game. It’s big-time basketball in a very small place, a wonderful combination. Think Cameron Indoor or Allen Fieldhouse, except much smaller.

 



Joseph Oakes - Even though Cameron Indoor Stadium is old, small, and cramped, the experience of attending a Duke game is like one you won’t experience anywhere else. From the sellout crowds to the Cameron Crazies to the product on the floor (which is always good) a trip to Cameron is a must for any college basketball fan.

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