Kentucky enters the the Final Four as the lowest seed remaining. While the Wildcats are two wins away from the program’s ninth National Title — the second in three years under head coach John Calipari — Big Blue Nation has already secured a top spot this April.
On Thursday, Rupp Arena, named after Kentucky’s legendary coach, was called the best arena in college basketball, according to a complete list of all 351 Division I teams from StadiumJourney.com. Rounding out the list at No. 351 is Reitz Arena, home to Loyola (MD).
According to the site, constructing this list was a four-year process, using the following criteria:
Our reviews are based on several categories including: food & beverage in the arena, the overall atmosphere, the neighborhood in which the arena resides, the fans, the access (including traffic, parking, restrooms, and ability to move around in the arena), overall return on investment, and a catchall category for any extras.
The site’s top 10 went accordingly:
1. Rupp Arena, Kentucky
2. Carrier Dome, Syracuse
3. FedEx Forum, Memphis
4. CenturyLink Center, Creighton
5. Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, Utah State
6. Phog Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas
7. Crisler Center, Michigan
8. The Pit, New Mexico
9. Dean E. Smith Center, North Carolina
10. Frank Erwin Special Events Center, Texas
It’s hard to argue with the history and tradition of Rupp Arena and the University of Kentucky. The list is very interesting, though. G.B. Hodge Center, home to USC Upstate, which is an arena smaller than some high school gymnasiums, was high in the rankings No. 15. The home court for Rutgers, Penn State and DePaul fell in order at 335, 336, and 337 on the list. Those three arenas were the lowest on the list for power conferences.