The NCAA Tournament is chock-full of excitement from the first tip off. That’s why, sometimes, one of the more important items of the madness is overlooked: the stadiums. Well, not here at TicketCity – we cherish the stadiums that hold the games we love.
Throughout the week, we will be giving an overview of all the stadiums that will be (kinda) featured in the NCAA tournament. Because without them, all of our brackets would be busted from the go. In this post, we’re featuring the New Orleans Arena, Alamodome and Prudential Center.
New Orleans Arena
Primarily the home of the New Orleans Hornets, the New Orleans Arena has played host to a wide variety of events since its opening in 1999. In addition to being the home field of AFL teams and a perfect venue for concerts, the site has also been the location of first and second round games of the NCAA Tournament. This year, however, it has been tapped as the site of the Southeast Regional games on March 24 and 26.
The first time the arena hosted NCAA Tournament games was in 2007. Though there were no monumental upsets at the site that year, it was where eventual champion Florida played its first two games – with wins over Jackson State and Purdue.
Most recently, the venue hosted first and second round games in 2010, and was the location of two of the best games of the early rounds. Eleven seed Old Dominion edged No. 6 seed Notre Dame 51-50 to claim one of the bigger upsets of the round, and Wake Forest’s Ishmael Smith hit a jumper with 1.3 seconds left to give his team a one point win over Texas.
The San Antiono Spurs have not called the Alamodome home for more than eight years, but the 18-year-old arena has certainly not gone unused. As the host of everything from college football bowl games to concerts, the venue has also been a frequent site for NCAA Tournament games, including the Final Four in 1998, 2004 and 2008. This year, it’s the site of the Southwest Regional, with games on March 25 and 27.
In ’98, the site was lucky enough to play host to one of the most memorable games of recent Final Four history, as eventual champion Kentucky won a thrilling 86-85 contest over Stanford.
Six years later in ’04, the Alamodome was the site of another great match up between UConn and Duke. Down by eight points with 3:15 remaining, the Huskies scored 12 straight points to shock the Blue Devils and enter the National Championship - a game which they handily won over Georgia Tech.
Most recently, the Alamodome was the site of the 2008 Final Four. In the championship game, Kansas guard Mario Chalmers hit the game tying three with 2.1 second to send the game to overtime. The Jayhawks ended up besting Memphis in the extra period.
Though it has been open for less than four years, the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, has a number of well-known tenants. In addition to the New Jersey Devils and the New Jersey Nets, it is also home to the Seton Hall men’s basketball team. 2011 also marks a first for the arena as it was selected to be the East Regional site for the NCAA Tournament with games on March 25 and 27.
Since it was opened in 2007, the Prudential Center has been the location of many noteworthy events. Along with an appearance by Barack Obama in 2009 and various pro wrestling and UFC events, the venue has also seen a wealth of regular and postseason action in both the NBA and NHL. In 2008, it hosted its first Stanley Cup Playoff game, when the Devils played the New York Rangers.
While it may be one of the newest and most up-to-date facilities in the Eastern U.S., up until now it has not hosted any significant college basketball games. Luckily, that will change this year - although host school Seton Hall did not make the tournament, some of the school’s Big East counterparts will most likely be playing on the floor.
Know Your NCAA Tourney Stadium: Dayton Arena, Verizon Center
Know Your NCAA Tourney Stadium: McKale Center, Pepsi Center, St. Pete Times Forum
Know Your NCAA Tourney Stadium: Quicken Loans Arena, Time Warner Cable Arena, United Center
Know Your NCAA Tourney Stadium: Bank of Oklahoma Center, Honda Center