clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ranking the Big East Venues

From Madison Square Garden to Allstate Arena, the Big East Coast Bias team ranked the venues of the Big East Conference. Here's how things turned out.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The uniqueness of a venue is one of the most interesting things about the world of a sports. It's probably one of the main reasons that Major League Baseball has such a charm, with no stadium being even slightly similar in dimension or delicacy. And it remains one of the reasons that the atmosphere in college sports is so spectacular as well. Whether it be on the gridiron or the hardwood,  college venues provide stupendous traits and a mystique that's hard to match.

This past week, the Big East Coast Bias team and I decided to delve into the venues of the Big East Conference, and rank them on which we thought was the best. In total, 17 of our writers were able to get their votes in, and the results were about what you might expect. Here's how things unfolded, and below are some comments that some of our members had to say about the venues of the Big East.

12. Allstate Arena (Average: 11.94117647; Highest Ranking: 11)

The venue formerly known as The Rosemont Horizon was just one vote shy of being a unanimous choice of the distinction of "Worst Venue in the Big East Conference." Having stepped into this venue this past June (not for DePaul Blue Demons basketball) I can succinctly say that I am in full agreement with the panel on this choice. It's showing its age, the concourses are very small, and inside, there leaves a lot to be desired. For the program -- and the fanbase's sake -- the Blue Demons will be playing at a much more state-of-the-art arena in The Windy City by the end of the decade.

The Rosemont Horizon probably sells more tickets for one night of Monday Night Raw than for five DePaul conference games. Being a half-hour off of campus doesn't help their cause either. - Pierce Roberson

Allstate Arena is bad. It is 12 because the atmosphere is not good. It does not get a lot of fans to the games, but they have an bad team also. If you have a bad team, then you will have a bad venue. - Devonte Brooks

This venue is away from its home team, making it not among the best. - Harrison Malkin

About a 30 minute car ride from campus, a disappointing DePaul team, and an outdated arena. No wonder nobody goes to games. - Josh Bozzick

Allstate Arena probably isn't that bad of a place but it just feels like it should be ranked low because DePaul plays there and there really aren't ever many fans at the arena. - Mike Hopkins

DePaul has struggled so they get almost no one for their games and that loses major points in my book. - Sean Saint Jacques

11. Verizon Center (Average: 9.823529412; Highest Ranking: 6)

The Georgetown Hoyas have called Verizon Center home since 1997. And although the team has found success there, the venue itself seems to not be the right fit. Its capacity is no doubt large, and when the Hoyas are great, their crowd is as well. But when they are not, the place looks desolate and I'm sure it can be very inconvenient to get to, with it being smack dab in the center of Washington, D.C. I had it ranked at 11th, though competing with similar venues, but I could see myself slotting it at 9th or 10th. We did, however, seem to have some differing opinions on this one.

It's a nice venue, but too big for Georgetown. The Hoyas would benefit from a more intimate arena. - Pierce Roberson

The Verizon Center ranks 10 for me, mostly due to its size and its distance from campus. If it were a smaller arena, closer to campus, the place would be packed. - Devonte Brooks

Close to campus, Georgetown plays its home games at a great stadium, that also hosts professional teams. - Harrison Malkin

On the other side of D.C. from Georgetown''s campus and the arena is much too big. - Josh Bozzick

The Verizon Center just has a bit of a sterile feel to it. I know it's an NBA arena but it just doesn't feel like Georgetown to me. - Mike Hopkins

I think it is a little overrated as a venue for basketball, but the inside is okay and Georgetown is a great program so the place is electric. - Sean Saint Jacques

10. Prudential Center (Average: 9.235294118; Highest Ranking: 8)

The Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey is one of the newer editions in these rankings. Constructed in 2007, "The Rock" plays host to Seton Hall Pirates basketball as well as the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League. This presents a slight problem for Pirates students however, as the campus is in South Orange. I've attended events ranging from WWE shows to Devils games here, and it's a solid - not spectacular venue. It came in as the ninth best venue in the Big East Conference for me, so this narrowly missed the average of our team.

I ranked the Prudential Center 11th because Seton Hall does not get a lot of fans to the games, even though the venue is large. I believe they should have games on campus. - Devonte Brooks

Seton Hall plays in a pro-style stadium, which is a plus, but it is off campus and lacks in having a great atmosphere. - Harrison Malkin

The Nets couldn't sell out here, you think Seton Hall could? - Josh Bozzick

The Prudential Center is actually a pretty nice arena but when you frequently have a "family and friends" type crowd for Big East conference game it's not really a good look. - Mike Hopkins

Located in a great area, but fans have not shown up much in the last few years, but expect that to change in 2014-15. When they do the place is absolutely rocking. Just ask New Jersey Devils fans. - Sean Saint Jacques

9. Wells Fargo Center (Average: 9; Highest Ranking: 5)

Located in probably the best sports complex in North America, the Wells Fargo Center is only a few footsteps away from Lincoln Financial Field and Citizens Bank Park (As an aside, we will pour one out for the famous, late, and great Philadelphia Spectrum). The Villanova Wildcats play some of their home games in this venue, which suits well for the Philadelphia Flyers and, in the past, the Philadelphia 76ers. This venue seems to suffer from what the last few have: a pro-style arena, separated from campus, that lacks a big-time atmosphere. I had this 10th, but the average was right on the money with most who voted.

Good thing this is Nova's secondary stadium. It's pro-style is only suited for bigger games. - Pierce Roberson

I ranked Wells Fargo 7th because it is okay, but could also be better. The one thing that I like is that it is named after a banking company. - Devonte Brooks

Despite Villanova playing their big games at this premiere venue, you can't beat the atmosphere and experience the Pavillion has to offer. - Harrison Malkin

Too big of an arena to sell out all of the Nova games played here which creates a subpar environment. Oh, its also 25 miles from campus..... - Josh Bozzick

Villanova plays a lot of their bigger games at the Wells Fargo Center. It's a decent arena and one that also houses the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers. The upper deck can be a little steep but it gets pretty loud and there is a solid student section behind the baskets. - Mike Hopkins

It is the home of the Sixers, which is cool, but these days any team that plays there does not fill the place up. The building itself is okay though. - Sean Saint Jacques

8. Dunkin Donuts Center (Average: 7.823529412; Highest Ranking: 3)

"The Dunk," as it is affectionately known by Providence Friars fans, checks in here as the eighth best venue in the Big East Conference. This venue is located right in Providence, Rhode Island and serves as a backdrop for the Friars and the team has reaped the rewards over the years. Dunkin Donuts Center was eighth on my list, but mostly due to the venue itself. Providence fans have had no problem being rowdy inside its confines, as they proved to be this past season. With a Big East Tournament Championship under their belts, Friar fans are sure to be loud and proud again this coming year.

If you win, they will come. Someone whisper that into Ed Cooley's ear, because this stadium can shine with a fuller crowd. - Pierce Roberson

The Dunkin Donuts Center is ranked 8th because of how well they did there last year, and the fans should only be louder if Ed Cooley & Co. continue to improve. - Devonte Brooks

A modern stadium, right in Providence, although not one of the best in the Big East. - Harrison Malkin

42 years old and nothing special. Rarely are their sell outs, but that might change with the Friars' recent Big East Tournament title and highly ranked recruiting class coming in this year. - Josh Bozzick

I'm sure I probably gave the Dunk the highest ranking out of everyone and maybe that shows my bias but I have to tell you, the Dunkin' Donuts Center can ROCK! The double OT Marquette game on Senior Night was one of the best in-arena experiences I've ever had. You couldn't hear yourself think. Doug Gottlieb gave this description: "The Dunk, where ranked teams come to die." Besides, name me one other arena that has had a "marital aid" thrown on the court during a game? - Mike Hopkins

As Providence has gotten better so have the fans and in turn the venue. They have good fans too so it can get loud. - Sean Saint Jacques

7. BMO Harris Bradley Center (Average: 7.352941176; Highest Ranking: 5)

Located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the BMO Harris Bradley Center serves as a home for the Marquette Golden Eagles as well as the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks. For many years, it's been an uphill battle for teams to go into the Bradley Center and topple the Golden Eagles, due to a very boisterous fanbase that is one of the best in the Big East Conference. For me, this venue came in at number seven as well, but opinions seemed to vastly differ on this one, as some had this venue as low as 11th, with two votes at No. 10 as well.

There's a reason you hear rumors of the Bucks moving from Wisconsin (aside from a sorry fan base). - Pierce Roberson

Do not really know to much the BMO Harris Bradley Center, but Marquette has good fans. I gave it a nine because of the players who played there. - Devonte Brooks

This stadium is in downtown Milwaukee and has a great atmosphere on game day. - Harrison Malkin

Not too far from Marquette's campus and one of the best home courts in the country. It can get really loud and every game is a sell out. Maybe the Milwaukee Bucks could learn a thing or two from the Marquette Golden Eagles. - Josh Bozzick

The BMO Harris Bradley Center probably would have been a little higher on my list but I had to dock it because they have the occasional bat attack. - Mike Hopkins

It is not very loud for some reason and inside is not very appealing, but the fans usually come in force. - Sean Saint Jacques

6. Carnesecca Arena (Average: 6.470588235; Highest Ranking: 3)

The other arena that the St. John's Red Storm calls home represents the first part of the second half of these rankings. Named after legendary head coach Lou Carnesecca, the venue opened its doors in 1961 and is one of the more intimate arenas in the conference and America as well. And the Johnnies have been supremely successful in the building, racking up a winning percentage of .842 in 525 contests. I had Carnesecca Arena as the fourth best venue in the conference, primarily based on its intimacy and its history.

There's a lot of history in the old Alumni Hall. I wish the Johnnies would bring some magic back to that place. - Pierce Roberson

On the campus of St. John's, the team plays their smaller games at this historic arena. - Harrison Malkin

A nice small and intimate arena on St. John's campus. Does not hold a lot of people, but creates a loud environment and good home-court advantage. - Josh Bozzick

Formerly Alumni Gym, Carnesseca is not a great venue to watch a basketball game. The student sections are relegated to these bizarre sections raised up behind both baskets and if you have seats too high up you basically can't see the entire court. It's kind of embarrassing that St. John's plays any conference games here. But when you have MSG that makes up for it a little. - Mike Hopkins

Not as good as MSG, but it is a nice on-campus alternative that is not too loud, but can be just as passionate. - Sean Saint Jacques

5. CenturyLink Center Omaha (Average: 5; Highest Ranking: 2)

If NBA-sized arenas have watered down some of the environments for the venues on this list, then CenturyLink Center Omaha stands as the outlier. The home for the Creighton Bluejays was one of the louder venues in America last season and the Bluejays went through their first year in the Big East unscathed inside the arena. I gave this state-of-the-art venue a six on my ranking, but I can definitely see where most are coming from. It's definitely amongst the best venues in not only the conference, but the country as well.

Not too shabby from regularly selling out the 9,000-seat Civic to upgrading to The House that Dougie Built (or Korver, whichever you prefer). - Pierce Roberson

CenturyLink Center Omaha gets a 5 from me, with good fans and a lot of people come to see the Bluejays. - Devonte Brooks

The home of the Creighton Bluejays in downtown Omaha is a must visit for college basketball fans. - Harrison Malkin

A sellout every Bluejays game and a close ride or walk from campus. This place can get crazy loud and Cregihton fans are some of the best in the Big East. It is also very new and has all of the amenities of a pro arena. - Josh Bozzick

The coolest part about this arena is that Creighton sells nearly 80% of the arena as season tickets. We're talking about over 13,000 season ticket holders in a 16,500 seat arena. - Mike Hopkins

They pack so many fans into this place and it is arguably the loudest place to play in the conference. Without McDermott though I am not sure they will fill it every night. - Sean Saint Jacques

4. The Pavilion (Average: 4.176470588; Highest Ranking: 3)

The on-campus home for the Villanova Wildcats ranks as Big East Coast Bias' fourth best venue in the conference. The Pavilion is a small, intimate venue that has seen plenty of great moments since its opening in 1986. One of its most attractive features is the unique roof of the building, and its capacity is just at 6,500. When Villanova students and fans pack it to the gills, it becomes one of the more raucous environments in the country. The Pavilion came in for me at No. 5.

Villanova gets a big crowd when they play at The Pavilion. The most interesting thing about this venue, to me, is that they play tennis there. I've never seen anything like that. - Devonte Brooks

When Nova doesn't play at the Wells Fargo Center, they take their talent home to The Pavilion, an on campus venue, with a great atmosphere. - Harrison Malkin

Way too small of a facility for a big time program like Villanova, but it can get loud and intimidating. The South End side of the bleachers creates an absolute terrifying wall of 2,000+ Nova students. - Josh Bozzick

Nova's on-campus arena has good character and the fans feel right on top of you and the student section is given a solid chunk of seats in the 6,500 seat arena. - Mike Hopkins

Small fan base in the building, but again the student section there makes it fun and hard for road teams. - Sean Saint Jacques

3. Cintas Center (Average: 3.764705882; Highest Ranking: 2)

The Xavier Musketeers' home checks in at No. 3 on this list, and for good reason, too. The Cintas Center is one of the loudest venues in the entire conference, as Musketeer fans have consistently packed this 10,000+ seat venue since its doors first opened. Xavier has been spectacular ever since they started playing inside the Cintas Center and were rather impressive this past year in its first year in the Big East. I ranked the Cintas Center 3rd based on most of these merits, and a majority of the members of Big East Coast Bias seemed to agree.

Xavier basketball's home stadium, Cintas Center is one of the loudest and electric in college basketball. - Harrison Malkin

Built just 14 years ago and seating a comfortable 10,000+, their is a sell-out almost every game here (188-27 all-time record at Cintas). No matter where one sits in the arena they are bound to have a good view, as the arena is built up and not out. The student section is well-known to be intimidating and the place can get insanely loud. Oh and I forgot to mention: its the only Big East basketball venue out of three in the conference to be on campus (Villanova & Saint Johns), and the only one out of those three to be built in the 21st century. - Josh Bozzick

The Cintas Center has a good reputation as being loud and the configuration allows the feeling of the fans being right on the court in most spots of the arena. Plus it's cool that they are now putting the Cincinnati skyline on the court. Eat your heart out Bearcat fans! - Mike Hopkins

Great home court advantage and when it gets loud it is a tough place to play even though they only hold 10,000. - Sean Saint Jacques

2. Hinkle Fieldhouse (Average: 2; No. 1 Votes: 3)

Historic Hinkle Fieldhouse is the second best venue in the Big East Conference according to our team. And who could argue that? The home for the Butler Bulldogs certainly could make an argument for being the conference's best, as its intimacy, size, and uniqueness are all top-notch quality. The venue is best remembered for its use in the classic sports film Hoosiers, and has played host to plenty of great moments in Butler basketball history.

Butler basketball reigns in one of the most famous arenas in the Midwest, but forgive me: I will ALWAYS remember this stadium for Hoosiers. - Pierce Roberson

There is so much history with Hinkle Fieldhouse, and plenty of big crowds as well. - Devonte Brooks

Yes it's historic (built in 1928) and yes I know the movie Hoosiers was filmed here. And I know it creates a pretty awesome environment on game days. But a lot of the seats have obstructed views and sitting in the nosebleeds makes the court feel like a mile away. The place is very old and needs a lot of renovations. Hopefully that's whats been done over the off-season, but just because a place is old doesn't make it the best venue in the Big East. - Josh Bozzick

Hinkle is similar to MSG in that it's ranking will be largely based on it's historical implications. As an arena, I don't think it's even close to one of the nicest in the conference but the history is what relates with people and they feel like playing there is significant. Hinkle is certainly on my bucket list and I think that's true for a lot of diehard college hoops fans. I'm hoping to get out there this season. - Mike Hopkins

The home of the Hoosiers so it has historical significance and the Butler team and fans have made it a tough venue to win at as well. - Sean Saint Jacques

1. Madison Square Garden (Average: 1.176470588; No. 1 Votes: 14)

What can you say about a venue like Madison Square Garden that hasn't already been said? The World's Most Famous Arena hosts home games for the St. John's Red Storm and has been the home for the Big East Championship Game for many years as well. It's as much a part of the history of the conference as the head coaches and players that have walked in and out of its doors, and is the best venue in the conference, far and away.

Enough said. - Pierce Roberson

I ranked Madison Square Garden No. 1 because its one of the most historic arenas in all of America. Who wouldn't want to go see MSG? - Devonte Brooks

The most famous stadium in the world is one of the best stadiums the Big East has to offer. - Harrison Malkin

It's The Garden, what more needs to be said? The Johnnies might not sell out their games here, but they still draw a respectable crowd. Its the mecca of New York City and the mecca of basketball. With the recent $1 billion renovations to the Garden, it is and will continue to be the best basketball arena in the world. - Josh Bozzick

There really isn't a better place to attend a game in the Big East than The Garden when it's rocking. I remember going during the peak of the Big East and the place would be electric taking the escalators up to your seats. It's the Mecca. What else do you need? - Mike Hopkins

It is the mecca of basketball, what else can you say? It has it all. The legendary moments, games and players. - Sean Saint Jacques