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. Today, we’re featuring the Bank of Oklahoma Center and Honda Center.
Bank of Oklahoma Center
Commonly known as the BOK Center, this 19,100-seat venue is one of the newest in the country. Since it’s opening in 2008, the arena has played host to a number of high-profile events including several games by the Oklahoma City Thunder, and as of 2010 it is the home court of the Tulsa Shock of the WNBA. Though it has been the site of many professional games, it has been tapped to host first and second round games of the NCAA Tournament this year on March 18 and 20.
It’s not surprising that the NCAA chose this arena as a tournament site. Though it has only been open for less than three years, industry experts consider it to be one of the best venues in the United States.
This is the first year the location has been picked for NCAA Tournament games, but it is no stranger to hosting important collegiate contests. In 2010, it was the site of the Conference USA Men’s Basketball Tournament – which saw one of the biggest upsets of the season. In the championship game, 23rd ranked and top-seeded UTEP was shocked by seventh-seeded Houston 81-73.
Affectionately called The Pond, the Honda Center has been home to the NHL’s Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for more than 15 years. Though its primary tenant is a hockey team, the arena has also hosted its fair share of basketball games. It has been the location of the West Regional for the NCAA Tournament three times in the past, and is slated for a fourth in 2011 when it hosts games on March 24 and 26.
The first time the arena was the site of a regional was 1998, and its final was quite a memorable one. Third-seeded Utah reached the Final Four after dominating the top-seeded and defending champion Arizona Wildcats with a 76-51. The next time was in 2001 when the region was won by Maryland, who upset Stanford in the final.
The last time the West Regional was at the venue was 2003, a year that was not kind to Arizona again. Similar to 1998, the Wildcats were the No. 1 seed, and just like that year, they were ousted in the Elite Eight – this time by Kansas – who went on to lose in the National Championship to Syracuse.
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