Big Ten Basketball Site Ranking | Sports
Beat writer SCOTT RICHEY has covered matches at all 14 Big Ten venues. With the Illinois conference resuming Tuesday night in Minnesota, he’s picking his best – and worst:
RK., ARENA TEAM COMMENTARY
1. Williams Arena Minnesota The oldest arena in the league – the Gophers first played it in 1928 – has a basketball “feel” to it, as the new venues all look pretty much alike.
2. Mackey Arena Purdue The low roof traps all the sound and energy of what has always been good basketball lately into the facility that opened in 1967.
3. Indiana Meeting Room Fans closest to the action are right above, and the seats seem to extend endlessly upwards for a venue that can seat 17,222 people.
4. Breslin Center Michigan State The combination of a good regular team and close quarters makes Breslin lively and loud. Hard to believe it has been in use since 1989.
5. State Farm Center Illinois Highly aesthetic renovations inside, as the spaceship in the prairie remains unique on the outside and has been recognizable since 1963.
6. Pinnacle Bank Arena Nebraska The newest arena – the 15,500-seat hall in Lincoln opened in 2013 – in the Big Ten just needs a better team to call it home.
7. Jersey Mike’s Arena Rutgers New name aside, Rutgers will still play “The RAC” aka “The Trapezoid of Terror”, as the Scarlet Knights first played there in 1977.
8. Xfinity Center Maryland The student section that stretches from the floor to the top of the arena at one end is eye-catching for a venue that can accommodate 17,950 fans.
9. Carver-Hawkeye Arena Iowa The unique look of Carver-Hawkeye’s bowl puts it ahead of the league’s most NBA arenas. The place opened in 1983.
10. Crisler Center Michigan There’s nothing so special or bad about the 12,707-seat arena the Wolverines have called home since 1967.
11. Ohio State Value City Arena The best aspect of the otherwise generic Ohio State arena that opened in 1998 is the close proximity between the student section and the bench.
12. Kohl Center Wisconsin The Badgers play in another versatile arena, which is good, but nothing spectacular in a 23-year-old venue that can seat 17,230 people.
13. Welsh-Ryan Arena Northwestern Recent renovations have made all the difference, but it’s still the smallest venue in the Big Ten with a capacity of 8,117.
14. Bryce Jordan Center Penn State The Nittany Lions still need a curtain to block all the empty seats on the upper level of the venue that first hosted Penn State in 1996.
Scott Richey is a journalist covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is [email protected], and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).