With SDSU’s decision to stay in the MWC, I expect some big conference realignment moves soon. I previously compared the football facilities of potential Sun Belt candidates. That article was so popular I thought we’d continue with the basketball facilities. Let’s get right to it:
Appalachian State – Holmes Convocation Center
Official Capacity: 8,325
2012 Avg Men’s Attendance: 1,761
Current Men’s RPI: 274
2012 Avg Women’s Attendance: 445
Current Women’s RPI: 119
Notable: 300-meter Mondo track circles the upper concourse and is used by indoor track & field. Complete with “HLES offices, classrooms, state-of-the-art laboratories, team areas and retractable seating for concerts, special events, volleyball and basketball competition and more.”
Bottom Line: Although App State is a football school, our basketball facilities are arguably nicer than our football facilities. What’s with the GIGANTIC A logo in the middle though? Not a fan. I’m also not a big fan of the old school scoreboard. But in general, we have the nicest facilities in the SoCon (except maybe Chattanooga). On the performance end, we have the 2nd worst Men’s team and the 2nd best Women’s team on this list (based on RPI). But I think our men are getting much better. Anyways, no one is adding us for our basketball.
Georgia Southern – W.S. Hanner Fieldhouse
Official Capacity: 4,358
2012 Avg Men’s Attendance: 1,918
Current Men’s RPI: 255
2012 Avg Women’s Attendance: 1,249
Current Women’s RPI: 325
Notable: ”During the summer of 1995, the University completed a $500,000 renovation to Hanner Fieldhouse. Wooden bleachers at floor level were replaced with chairback seats, new floor graphics were painted and portable baskets with shot clocks were purchased. Outside the arena, the basketball locker rooms and coaches’ offices were also renovated”
Bottom Line: This one has the lowest official capacity of any school on this list (but not the lowest attendance). They aren’t particularly good on the men or women’s side of the ball either. Good thing they have football.
Idaho – Cowan Spectrum (@ the Kibbie Dome)
Official Capacity: 6,000
2012 Avg Men’s Attendance: 1,517
Current Men’s RPI: 162
2012 Avg Women’s Attendance: 391
Current Women’s RPI: 185
Notable: ”The court has a lighting grid that gives it a “spotlight” effect, modeled after the Staples Center setup for the Los Angeles Lakers. This atmosphere puts the focus on hoops in a building originally designed for football…once dubbed by Sports Illustrated as one of the 20 most difficult places to play basketball.”
Bottom Line: If it looks familiar, that’s because it’s the same building football is played in. It’s a much better basketball facility than football facility though. RPI wise they are mediocre for both men and women, but not bad. However, it’s almost not even worth discussing since Idaho would likely be a football-only add.
Jacksonville State – Pete Mathews Coliseum
Official Capacity: 5,500
2012 Avg Men’s Attendance: 1,182
Current Men’s RPI: 151
2012 Avg Women’s Attendance: 365
Current Women’s RPI: 339
Notable: “The Coliseum was opened in 1974 and underwent a complete renovation in 1987. A new wooden playing surface was installed, as were 850 cushioned, char-backed seats. The sound system, dance studio, weight room and locker rooms were also refurbished.”
Bottom Line: I hope it’s nicer than in the picture. It sure doesn’t look impressive. Their women’s team is not only the worst on this list, it’s one of the worst in the country. They had one of the best football facilities, looks like they should have spent some of that money on their basketball program.
Lamar – Montagne Center
Official Capacity: 10,080
2012 Avg Men’s Attendance: 2,834
Current Men’s RPI: 315
2012 Avg Women’s Attendance: 1,005
Current Women’s RPI: 150
Notable: “The facility originally seated 8,000, but capacity was expanded in 1985. In addition to offices, rooms and the main playing court, other features include two perimeter courts, a VIP room, the Cardinal Club Room, a players’ lounge, a study hall, and a scoreboard complete with a message center.
Bottom Line: Lamar almost got laughed off the football facility list. However, on the basketball side they feature the 2nd highest men’s attendance and a pretty nice looking arena. Unfortunately their Men’s RPI is the 2nd worst on this list. That’s a weird combination.
Liberty – The Vines Center
Official Capacity: 8,085 (10,000 for special events)
2012 Avg Men’s Attendance: 1,515
Current Men’s RPI: 342
2012 Avg Women’s Attendance: 648
Current Women’s RPI: 110
Notable: “The Vines Convocation Center includes four concession stands, basketball coaches offices, locker and team room facilities, a weight room, a training room, a hospitality room and press room.”
Bottom Line: Pound for pound, you could make the argument that this is the nicest facility on the list. Liberty has so much money, they don’t know what to do with it. Unfortunately, you can’t buy wins. Men’s RPI of 342? That’s the worst on this list…and that’s saying something. Ouch.
New Mexico State – Pan American Center
Official Capacity: 12,482
2012 Avg Men’s Attendance: 5,572
Current Men’s RPI: 106
2012 Avg Women’s Attendance: 1,387
Current Women’s RPI: 172
Notable: “In 1998-99 and in 1999-00, the Pan American Center was named the “Toughest Place to Play,” in the Big West Conference by Dick Vitale’s College Basketball Preview. On Oct. 10, 2005, a $23.5 million renovation and expansion project on the complex began. A new annex building was added to the south end of the arena that features offices, practice facilities and locker rooms.”
Bottom Line: I don’t think there is a question that NMSU has the best basketball program of any school on this list. They have the biggest arena, far and away the highest attendance, and the highest Men’s RPI. Adding NMSU for football only would be a stupid move considering the strength of their basketball.
Sam Houston State – Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum
Official Capacity: 6,110
2012 Avg Men’s Attendance: 1,072
Current Men’s RPI: 215
2012 Avg Women’s Attendance: 588
Current Women’s RPI: 194
Notable: It was built in 1976. “It is also home to XWO Reborn, a professional wrestling organization that promotes shows throughout south Texas.”
Bottom Line: I love how the student section gets all the way to the floor. But once again they have the lowest attendance of any school on the list. How can we get excited to play a school with no fans?