pinnacle arena

Seating details for Nebraska’s Pinnacle Arena revealed in media tour

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Nebraska hasn’t exactly been a powerhouse in college basketball, making only six trips to the NCAA Tournament in school history — the last time in 1998 — but with the help of the new Pinnacle Arena, those fortunes could change thanks to a significant boost in homecourt advantage.

While Nebraska’s fan base — known as the “Sea of Red” — has gained notoriety for their extreme devotion to Cornhusker football, the same mass-scale feverish support is not often in place for their men’s basketball program.

Nebraska has done a great job selling out tickets for Pinnacle Arena’s inaugural season in 2013-14, but now the “Sea of Red” will have the distinct advantage of being right on top of the floor, as a new media tour of Pinnacle Arena revealed.

The $179 million arena, with a seating capacity of about 15,500, sits on the northwest side of downtown Lincoln looking like a big silver space saucer just a few blocks west of Memorial Stadium.

Nebraska already has sold every ticket for the 2013-14 men’s basketball season, and a media tour revealed a steep seating configuration that could make for an intimidating home-court advantage.

“It’s right on top of the court, so it’ll be a great building for basketball,” said John Hinshaw, project manager for Minneapolis-based M.A. Mortenson Co.

The steep seating configuration is sure to make Nebraska home games louder and more intimidating and could become one of the better homecourt environments in the Big Ten given the sold out schedule and the reputation of Nebraska fans.

Also in place will be a new video board that will rival that of many NBA arenas, according to Hinshaw.

Hinshaw said the Panasonic high-definition center-hung scoreboard will be one of the finest in college sports and better than in most in NBA arenas. The four-sided scoreboard is 16 1/2 feet tall and 22 feet wide and is topped by another full video board that is 6 feet tall and 22 feet wide.

Mortenson Co., the company building Pinnacle Arena, previously built the Sprint Center in Kansas City and the Target Center — home of the Minnesota Timberwolves — among other stadiums in other sports.

Henry Ellenson wins Marquette Madness dunk contest

Steve Wojciechowski
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Marquette freshman forward Henry Ellenson won the Marquette Madness slam dunk contest on Friday night with a between the legs dunk.

The 6-foot-10 Ellenson, the top recruit in Steve Wojciechowski’s freshmen class, defeated sophomore Sandy Cohen, fellow freshman Sacar Anim and Wally Ellenson, his older brother.

Ellenson joins the Golden Eagles as the No. 11 overall recruit in the Class of 2015.

Bill Self signs $10,000 check for KU student


Late Night in the Phog is typically a night to remember for Kansas fans. For Kansas student Jerrod Martin Castro, Friday night’s event is one he won’t forget.

Castro, a sophomore, was selected as a contestant for a $10,000 giveaway. The only thing standing in the way of a big payday was a half-court shot. Brennan Bechard, the Kansas director of basketball operations, attempted the long-distance shot and hit nothing but net.

Kansas head coach Bill Self signed a $10,000 check on the spot.