Top 10 Worst BCS Conference Arenas
10. Welsh-Ryan Arena (Northwestern)
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A top-notch arena that appeals to recruits, coaches and fans can be the difference between a successful college hoops program and a mediocre to subpar one. Whether due to age, design flaws or both, the following ten BCS conference arenas just aren’t getting the job done.
We understand the appeal of an old-school, high school-ish gym and there’s definitely some Wrigely Field-esque charm to Welsh-Ryan Arena. But Northwestern’s home court is out of lockstep with its Big Ten brethren - particularly considering that it is a 60-year-old facility that has undergone just one renovation.
The only time Welsh-Ryan could ever be considered big-time was in 1956, when it hosted the Final Four. Needless to say a lot has changed in college hoops since then. It’s time for Northwestern to get with the program in that regard — particularly if it finally wants to make its first-ever NCAA tournament.
9. Louis Brown Athletic Center (Rutgers)
Despite being far from a powerhouse, the Scarlet Knights boast one of the more underrated home environments in college hoops. “The Scarlet Knights play great there, and the crowd is right on top of you and intimidating,” ESPN’s Jay Bilas once said of Rutgers’ trapezoidal noise vacuum.
Yet there’s no denying that “The RAC” is in need of a modernization. One look at the outside and the first word you might think of to describe the design is “Soviet” - fitting for an arena that opened in 1977. The gym’s lower level has pull-out seating like a high school gym. Fortunately, a long overdue nip-and-tuck for the arena estimated at $30 million is in the works, one that will allow it to retain its intimidating atmosphere yet still feel more comfortable for fans.
Hopefully the Scarlet Knights can also improve its on-court protect before jumping to the Big Ten, or it will be road kill there like it is in the Big East.
8. Donald L. Tucker Center (Florida State)
Florida State’s home arena is only 31 years old, yet it’s sorely in need of a renovation. When comparing it to one of the most famous and best college football venues in Doak Campbell Stadium, “The Tuck” is even more depressing.
Even worse? Even if the Seminoles want to beautify their home, it’s not up to them, as the Tucker Center is owned by Leon County and not the university.
In calling for upgrades to the Tucker Center last April, writer Eric Todoroff pointed out a number of things in need of replacement or updating: The multi-colored seat backs; the non-HD scoreboards and monitors; and a handful of seats that don’t even face the court.
More glaring, however, is the “keeping up with the Jones’” argument. Florida State is one of the few ACC hoops programs that hasn’t either built a new arena or renovated an existing one over the last 15 years.