Top 10 Best College Basketball Arenas

What makes college basketball so special? Besides the games and the players, it's the iconic venues that make college basketball so special for the fans.

There are several factors that make a great college basketball venue: history, traditions, the passion of the fanbase, and a winning culture.

There are so many great venues in college basketball that it's hard to narrow it down and rank the 10 best. Here are the top arenas in college basketball that have the best combination to make an intimidating environment for any opponent.

These are all definitely bucket list venues worth visiting at least once if you're passionate about college basketball. These schools know how to bring the passion.
The Top Ten
1 Allen Fieldhouse (Kansas)

There is nothing like going to Allen Fieldhouse to watch a game. The home of the Kansas Jayhawks is a cathedral in college hoops. You can feel the history in the air of Allen Fieldhouse. It's honestly a perfect size, having that intimate feeling without being too big or too small.

In February 2017, against West Virginia, the fans at Allen Fieldhouse set a Guinness World Record for the loudest indoor stadium, surpassing Kentucky for that honor by hitting approximately 130 decibels. Since Bill Self has been at Kansas, the Jayhawks have lost just 17 home games. From 2005-2018, the Jayhawks won more Regular Season Big 12 Conference Titles than they had losses at Allen Fieldhouse.

The student sections are prominent behind both baskets and make up approximately a quarter of the entire capacity, which already makes the atmosphere incredibly intimidating. There have been times where the crowd has literally been the difference between the Jayhawks winning and losing at home. They will single-handedly bring the Jayhawks back into the game. There have been some incredible comebacks in Allen Fieldhouse.

It's a perfect blend of passion, intimacy, and history. The court is named after the first coach in program history and the inventor of the game itself, James Naismith. Also located in the DeBruce Center is Naismith's famous document that contains the original 13 rules of basketball. Hearing the Rock Chalk chant at Allen Fieldhouse is an experience that is unparalleled and second to none. There's a reason why they say "Beware of the Phog."

2 Cameron Indoor Stadium (Duke)

Cameron Indoor Stadium is undoubtedly a top 2 arena in all of college basketball, and justifiably so. Depending on who you ask, some consider Cameron Indoor the top college basketball arena, and they have valid points. Even though it's a relatively small venue, seating around 9,000 people, don't let that small number fool you at all. The atmosphere is one of the most passionate and intimidating in college basketball.

The student sections are a top priority as they surround the entire perimeter of the court. The "Cameron Crazies," as they're called, go all out regardless of the opponent. Not only that, but they're very close to the action as well. Not only are they painted and dressed up in blue and white stripes, but they also do a hand thing whenever the opponent is inbounding the ball. Not to mention "Krzyzewskiville," where Duke students camp out before the games.

Also, the Blue Devils had a 150-game winning streak against non-conference opponents. It's a very intimate venue that has a historic, old-school atmosphere that delivers every time.

3 Rupp Arena (Kentucky)

Named after famous Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp, the home of the Kentucky Wildcats is a very intimidating place to play. The arena sits 23,500 people, which makes it one of the largest arenas in all of college basketball. The size alone is enough to intimidate any opponent, not even including the fanbase itself that brings Rupp to the next level.

Big Blue Nation on their A Game can produce an incredible atmosphere that few can top. They held the Guinness World Record for loudest indoor crowd at one point. The Wildcats boast an impressive 615-77 record at home, including a 54-game winning streak at home from 2010-2012. When Kentucky is an elite team, playing at Rupp is the equivalent of a death sentence.

4 Assembly Hall (Indiana)

While Assembly Hall may have lost some of its intimidation factor in recent years, it's still undeniably one of the most historic and significant venues in college basketball. Regardless of the fact that the team isn't where the Indiana fanbase would like them to be and hasn't been in a long time, it doesn't take anything away from Assembly Hall. Assembly Hall is one of the most uniquely shaped venues in the college landscape and still has the historic charm that made it so great back in the day when Bobby Knight was coaching.

Playing IU at home back then was never a fun experience and usually a one-way ticket to a loss for the visiting team who dares enter into the monster's lair.

5 McCarthey Athletic Center (Gonzaga)

The McCarthey Athletic Center is one of the newer venues on this list, yet it has quickly become a nightmare for opponents unfortunate enough to have to deal with Gonzaga. The Bulldogs have been a dominant force in recent years, and at home, they are nearly unbeatable. The student section, named "The Kennel," is one of the most loud and obnoxious in the country.

It may only seat 6,000 people, but don't let that small number fool you. It's a rowdy crowd for anyone, no matter if it's Pacific, Pepperdine, St. Mary's, or BYU you name it, the fans always show up in full force. It's no wonder they had a 75-game winning streak at home. Say what you will about the WCC being a bunch of pushovers, but winning that many games in a row at home is still no easy task and is a testament to just how intense and intimidating the atmosphere is.

6 Mackey Arena (Purdue)

Opened in 1967, Mackey Arena seats just over 14,000 fans, and the place is known to get very loud. The concrete structure is basically designed to trap as much noise as possible, adding to the atmosphere. The Boilermakers have quickly made themselves known, putting Mackey on the map of iconic venues in the college landscape.

I'm sure Big Ten teams have grown to dread traveling to play Purdue because of their intimidating and unique home atmosphere. The students have a large presence in the arena and are usually very passionate, especially when Indiana comes to visit.

7 McKale Center (Arizona)

The McKale Center has always felt underappreciated and doesn't get the respect it deserves. Arizona fans are as passionate as any in the country. They are passionate and consistently show up, as the Wildcats always rank near the top of the PAC 12 in attendance numbers.

The Wildcats boast a .841 winning percentage at home, which is comparable with some of the top venues in the country.

8 Breslin Center (Michigan State)

Michigan State has always been a gritty, tough team, regardless of where you play them, but especially at home in East Lansing, Michigan. Part of what makes the Breslin Center so intimidating is the placement of the student sections, which makes it nearly impossible for the opponents to ignore them. The "Izzone," as they're called, makes the environment intimidating.

If you see the Spartans play against a longtime rival such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, or Purdue, it'll be a memorable and exciting experience. Beating Tom Izzo's Spartans is always a chore, regardless of the venue, but especially at home, beating them is a tall task.

9 Hilton Coliseum (Iowa State)

Built in 1971, Hilton Coliseum serves as the home for the Iowa State Cyclones. Few fanbases are as passionate as Iowa State fans are. It seems like no matter how right or wrong a call is, if the refs call anything against Iowa State, they are ready and willing to boo at anything and everything in a way that feels like bullets piercing throughout the arena. The Boo Birds are truly on a different level in Ames.

It's not just the students either. The entire arena will show up in full force to voice their disdain for any officiating call that goes against the Cyclones. Iowa State at its best is really tough to knock off on their home court. This is such an intimidating place, it feels like it's on the verge of breaking out into riots on some occasions, especially when Kansas comes to Ames.

Hilton has some magic in the air, as the Cyclones can and will beat anybody, even pulling off upsets, which is why some fans call it "Hilton Magic." When Iowa State is good, they're no fun to play in Ames.

10 Bramlage Coliseum (Kansas State)
The Contenders
11 Hinkle Fieldhouse (Butler)

It doesn't get much more historic than Hinkle Fieldhouse, which has been the home of the Butler Bulldogs since its inception in 1928, making it the 6th oldest college basketball arena still in use. Hinkle Fieldhouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 and designated as an official US Landmark in 1987. It's got a lot of history and tradition and is sometimes referred to as "Indiana's Basketball Cathedral."

It's got a unique old-school feel to it, and when the Butler Bulldogs play a big game, you best believe it's packed and loud as any top venue in the college landscape. In addition to that, Hinkle Fieldhouse also hosts the Indiana High School Basketball State Championships and was the location for the movie "Hoosiers."

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