College basketball stadium tour: The best arenas in Division II
Home court advantage is key in college basketball. Take for example, the infamous Cameron Crazies, who rock Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium, instilling the feel of dread for any opposing visitor. There are plenty of arenas and fan bases that have brought home courts to life, giving them unique personas all their own.
And there are plenty in DII basketball as well.
What determines the best arena? Is it how it looks? How many people it holds? At the end of the day, the best arenas are enhanced by the atmosphere within, and the fans that make playing at home a true advantage.
So, we took to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to come up with the best arenas in the land according to the people that knew them best -- you, the fans. The responses were overwhelming. The list below is comprised of those responses, in no particular order.
Alaska Airlines Center, Alaska Anchorage
The home of the Seawolves is one of the more fascinating sites in basketball. Its state of the art facilities have made it home to not only UAA sports, but it has become the premier event center in the area. Perhaps it is best know for hosting the Great Alaska Shootout, one of Division I's favorite early-season holiday tournaments over the years.
The 5,000 seat arena had a front row seat watching history unfold in 2015-16. The Seawolves women's basketball team went 16-1 on their home court en route to a spot in the national championship game and a DII record 38-win season.
Wachs Arena, Northern State
They love their basketball in Aberdeen, South Dakota. So much so that Wachs Arena is always atop the attendance rankings.
Wachs Arena, located in he Joseph H. Barnett Center, opened in 1986. It's 8,000 seats hold fans of men and women's basketball, volleyball and wrestling. For the past nine years, Wachs Arena has led both DII men's and women's basketball in attendance. Talk about home court advantage.
The Wolves are rewarding their faithful this season. Entering the week, the men were ranked No. 8 and the women were ranked No. 22, and are a combined 18-1 at Wachs this season.
Gross Memorial Coliseum, Fort Hays State
The home of the Tigers is entering its 46th year as one of the more notable DII basketball arenas. The name is in honor of Paul Gross, head coach from 1930 to 1946.
The Coliseum is home to both men's and women's basketball as well as volleyball, wrestling and track and field. It can seat up to 6,814 roaring Tiger fans. While the men's and women's basketball teams are not currently ranked, they continue to make sure their fans get everything and more each time they pack out the GMC. Both teams are a combined 20-2 at home this season.
O'Reilly Family Event Center, Drury
Dubbed "The O", the home of the Panthers has seen some good basketball over the past few seasons. The Molly Miller Era of women's basketball has them perennial Top 10 and tournament dwellers, going 45-3 at home over her three and a half year tenure for the No. 6 team in DII.
The O sits 3,100 for men's and women's basketball games and also serves as the volleyball team's home court. It hosts a variety of concerts in which 500 additional seats are added. Since opening its doors in 2010, it has become a staple in Springfield, Missouri.
Minot State Dome, Minot State
Dome, sweet Dome. The largest arena in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference plays host to the men's and women's basketball teams as well as the volleyball and wrestling teams.
The Dome, built in the early 1980s, is an absolute monster, seating up to 10,000 Minot, North Dakota. fans, but it also houses the athletic department and even classooms.
In 2015, the Beavers added the largest indoor video board in Division II. Everything in the Minot State Dome is larger than life.
The Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex, Indiana (Pa)
The KCAC at IUP is a multi-purpose facility. There is Toretti Auditorium as well as a Conference Center, but it's Ed Fry Arena that the Crimson Hawks faithful make one of the best in DII.
Named after IUP's track and field coach, Ed Fry Arena can sit 5,000 peope for basketball and volleyball games. The entire center seemingly racks up new accolades every year, finding themselves on different top arena lists each passing season. This year, the women's basketball team is a perfect 10-0 at the KCAC, sitting at 16-1 overall and the No. 2 team in DII.
The Joel R. and Barbara Stubblefield Convocation Center, Arkansas-Fort Smith
The Lions moved from the UAFS Fieldhouse to the Stubblefield Center in 2002.
It is a tough place to leave victorious over the past five years. The men's basketball team -- currently ranked No. 23 in DII -- is 12-0 thus far in 2017-18. Over the past five years, the Lions are 53-6 at Stubblefield. The women's team is currently undefeated in Heartland conference play on its home court. You certainly don't want to walk into the Lions' den unprepared for a fight.
Pioneer Cellular Event Center, Southwestern Oklahoma State
The Pioneer Center is relatively new to the DII basketball scene. It officially opened its doors in 2014 as home to the basketball and volleyball Bulldog teams. The 93,000 square-foot facility seats about 4,000 on gameday.
The women's team has had great success at home the past few seasons. They went 12-1 at the Pioneer Center a year ago, and are currently undefeated (9-0) as the No. 13 team in DII.
B. Frank "Tex" Turner Arena, Lincoln Memorial
The Railsplitters moved into "The Tex" in 1991 after playing their home games at Mary E. Mars Gymnasium. It is named after the Lincoln Memorial two-sport student-athlete, who starred in both football and basketball.
The arena sits just over 5,000 on gameday and can pump in 1,000 more for other events. LMU has made some updates, including a state-of-the-art four-sided scoreboard that hangs over halfcourt.
The Railsplitters men's basketball team has been on quite the three-year run. They finished national runner-ups in 2016 before bowing out in the national semifinals last year. This year, they are No. 3 after defeating previously No. 1-ranked Queens (NC). LMU has gone 38-1 at The Tex over that same span.
Convocation Center, USC Aiken
The USC Aiken Convocation Center opened in spring of 2007. It has since been the home of the basketball and volleyball teams for the Pacers.
The 3,600-seat arena has seen some of the best conference talent come through over the years. The Convocation Center played host to the Peach Belt Conference Basketball Tournaments from 2008 to 2011.
Stephens Arena, Angelo State
Inside Angelo State's Junell Center, you will find Stephens Arena. The 5,600-seat gym hosts the Rams and the Belles basketball and volleyball teams, amongst a bevy of other activites like the school's commencement ceremonies.
With banners hanging from the ceiling and the largest video screen in the Lone Star Conference, Stephens Arena is a sight to see. It was a particularly thrilling place to be on January 13, when the Rams upset then-No. 6 Texas-Permian Basin 84-83.
William L. White Auditorium, Emporia State
The home of the Hornets has withstood the test of time, hosting Emopria State since 1940. It is one of the most historic, and toughest, venues in DII.
The arena has grown since its beginnings. Twenty years ago, ESU increased the capacity, adding bleacher seating and thus increasing attendance from 3,700 to 5,000. They have added a new floor and scoreboard over the years as well.
The Lady Hornets have been atop the attendance charts for the past 20 years. They reeled off a Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association record 62-game win streak from 1997 to 2001.
Who else got enough social media love to earn a spot in the 2017-18 DII arena tour?
Rick Case Arena, Nova Southeastern:
Nova Southeastern U— NSU Men's Basketball (@NSU_MBasketball) January 10, 2018
Rick Case Arena
Fort Lauderdale, FL pic.twitter.com/VmTGwvTBiG
NSU Event Center, Northeastern State:
David J. Prior Convocation Center, UVa-Wise:
David J. Prior Convocation Center pic.twitter.com/YoXz5ZN7AB— BlakeMellinger (@BlakeMellinger) January 10, 2018
Taylor Center, Minnesota State:
The Levine Center for Wellness and Recreaction, Queens (NC):
Hamer Hall, California (Pa)
First United Bank Center, West Texas A&M:
Knights Hall, Bellarmine: