There really isn’t any sport quite like college basketball. In Division I alone, there are 358 teams competing for 68 spots in a single-elimination tournament. I mean, it doesn’t get better than that.
And with 358 schools, there are 358 different venues — all with their own unique atmospheres and stories. Some venues are elite and rich in tradition. Others could hardly pass off as a high school gym.
But that’s the beauty of the NCAA tournament: Every game is played on a neutral court.
Still, that doesn’t have to stop us from taking a look at the best venues among the 68 teams in the men’s NCAA tournament field. This was how we ranked them.
68. Memphis – FedExForum
67. Georgia State - GSU Sports Arena
Just a depressingly bad venue for a team that’s had one of the great NCAA tournament moments in recent years.
— Georgia Southern Men's Basketball (@GSAthletics_MBB) February 17, 2022
66. Alabama - Coleman Coliseum
A team with Alabama’s resources really should not be playing in a 60-year-old arena with little improvement over the years. Thankfully, plans are already in place to build a new home for the Crimson Tide.
65. Texas Southern - Health & Physical Education Arena
I knew the arena was going to be trouble off that name alone.
houston traffic wasn't enough to keep me from covering utrgv (5-3) at houston (4-0). tonight is u of h's last home game at h&pe arena before they open the fertitta center on saturday. tip time set for 7 p.m. pic.twitter.com/2cjZLnhAxR
— nate kotisso (@natekotisso) November 29, 2018
64. Baylor - Ferrell Center
It’s a miserable place to watch basketball, but Baylor is already working on a brand-new arena. So expect the Bears to rise considerably on this list in the future.
63. Saint Peter’s - Yanitelli Recreational Life Center
62. Longwood - Willett Hall
61. Colgate - Reid Athletic Center
The school hopes to renovate it soon, so there’s that.
A $25 Million gift from the Carey family will spearhead a comprehensive renovation of the Reid Athletic Center and support other elements of the University’s Third-Century Plan. https://t.co/pBs9lxGoRspic.twitter.com/4bNMQeGE2n
— Colgate University (@colgateuniv) February 8, 2022
60. Bryant - Chace Athletic Center
59. Jacksonville State - Pete Mathews Coliseum
58. San Francisco - War Memorial Gym
57. Texas - Erwin Events Center
Texas can’t replace this arena fast enough.
56. Cal State Fullerton – Titan Gym
55. LSU - Pete Maravich Assembly Center
54. Vermont - Patrick Gym
53. Chattanooga - McKenzie Arena
52. Montana State - Brick Breeden Fieldhouse
51. UAB - Bartow Arena
50. Norfolk State - Joseph G. Echols Memorial Hall
49. New Mexico State - Pan American Center
48. Akron - James A. Rhodes Arena
47. Wyoming - Arena-Auditorium
46. Wright State - Nutter Center
45. South Dakota State - Frost Arena
44. Murray State - CFSB Center
43. Colorado State - Moby Arena
42. Boise State - ExtraMile Arena
41. Providence - Dunkin' Donuts Center
Tomorrow night, we’re tipping off a big month of December on Shootaround! We’ll be LIVE from the Dunkin’ Donuts Center ahead of Providence and Texas Tech in the opener of the Big East / Big 12 Battle. Catch us on Twitter at 7:45 ET – Guests: Ed Cooley, Al Durham, Fran Fraschilla pic.twitter.com/iHSO2VYErN
— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) December 1, 2021
40. Miami - Watsco Center
It’s fine, but lacks character for a school from Miami.
39. Davidson - John M. Belk Arena
38. Virginia Tech - Cassell Coliseum
37. UConn – XL Center
UConn splits time between Gampel Pavilion and the XL Center, which is a bummer. Gampel games are always fun.
36. Iowa - Carver-Hawkeye Arena
35. Loyola Chicago - Joseph J. Gentile Arena
34. Delaware - Bob Carpenter Center
33. Richmond - Robins Center
32. Notre Dame - Purcell Pavilion
31. Ohio State - Value City Arena
30. Seton Hall - Prudential Center
29. Michigan – Crisler Center
28. Creighton - CHI Health Center
27. Wisconsin - Kohl Center
26. San Diego State – Viejas Arena
San Diego State is looking for its 300th all-time win at Viejas tomorrow night. The Aztecs are 299-87 (.775) inside Viejas Arena since opening for the 1997-98 season. pic.twitter.com/eR7TR2kNOa
— Jon Schaeffer (@jonschaeffer) January 21, 2022
Viejas could definitely use some updating, but the atmosphere is among college basketball’s best.
25. USC - Galen Center
24. Yale - Payne Whitney Gymnasium
— South Alabama WBB (@WeAreSouth_WBB) March 24, 2018
It’s nowhere near The Palestra’s level of basketball heritage, but Ivy League venues are awesome. Must be all the smart people.
23. Rutgers - Jersey Mike’s Arena
Rutgers fans absolutely love to tell anyone who will listen about how great the RAC is.
22. Marquette - Fiserv Forum
21. Houston - Fertitta Center
The newly renovated arena gives off some New Mexico Pit vibes with a modern twist. I like it.
20. Texas A&M Corpus Christi – American Bank Center
They might be the last team in the tournament, but the arena is fairly new, fits 10,000 fans and I’m digging the green rafters. I couldn’t find a photo we could use, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
19. Tennessee - Thompson-Boling Arena
It’s ridiculously large for a college basketball venue, which is great for big games – but not so great early on in the non-conference season.
18. Iowa State – Hilton Coliseum
When the Cyclones are competing near the top of the Big 12, there aren’t many tougher places to play.
17. North Carolina – Dean Smith Center
The program’s history is undeniable, but North Carolina deserves a new arena.
16. Saint Mary’s - University Credit Union Pavilion
15. Illinois - State Farm Center
It would be so much louder if the dome wasn’t like a thousand feet above the stands.
14. TCU - Schollmaier Arena
— Matt Galloway (@themattgalloway) February 12, 2019
The school has put nearly $100 million into the arena since joining the Big 12.
13. Texas Tech - United Supermarkets Arena
12. Arkansas – Bud Walton Arena
11. Arizona – McKale Center
It recently underwent an $80 million renovation, and I’m a sucker for stage lighting in arenas.
10. Michigan State – Breslin Center
Always among the toughest places to play in the Big Ten, and I love how the student section gets the best seats.
9. Auburn - Neville Arena
It’s the newest arena out of the tournament field (opened in 2010), and has quickly attracted one of the loudest crowds in the SEC.
8. UCLA – Pauley Pavilion
The $136 million renovation was much needed to modernize this legendary arena.
7. Gonzaga - McCarthey Athletic Center
6. Purdue – Mackey Arena
Mackey Arena is so underrated with one of the best student sections in college basketball.
5. Villanova - Finneran Pavilion
The Wildcats didn’t even play 10 games there this year, and it’s still a top 5 venue. That’s how good it is.
4. Kentucky – Rupp Arena
— Matt Galloway (@themattgalloway) January 26, 2019
The arena isn’t much on the outside in terms of character, but the game experience more than makes up for it.
3. Indiana – Assembly Hall
Indiana hasn’t been a title contender for almost a decade, but Assembly Hall remains an epic college basketball venue.
2. Duke – Cameron Indoor Stadium
Similar to Allen Fieldhouse on atmosphere, but just lags a bit behind on history.
1. Kansas – Allen Fieldhouse
Between the history and atmosphere, nothing beats the Allen Fieldhouse experience.