The lights have been turned off on college basketball games in North Texas for another year.
Technically, it happened a week ago, as all four teams in the area finished their home schedules. But now, as UTA, TCU and SMU move on to conference tournaments to try and keep their seasons going (UNT has since been bounced from the Sun Belt tournament), now might be a good time to give a grade and ranking on the college basketball facilities in the North Texas area. (I can’t say Metroplex in this case because sorry I just can’t see Denton as part of DFW. Do you know how freaking long it takes to get there?)
1. College Park Center
You can go ahead and call me biased on this one, but in 2012 UTA went from the worst facility in Texas Hall to the best. The College Park Center is like a smaller, more intimate version of the American Airlines Center, with even better sight lines than that aforementioned major venue. The only downside is whether or not the upper level was necessary, though the Mavs managed to pack the place twice this past season. While Texas Hall forced people to find seats where they could, usually within the 600 “backstage bleachers,” the CPC was made with room for everyone, giving the high-dollar alumni their cushioned court side seats while finally giving the students their own section along the baselines, allowing for the more realistic college atmosphere the school was long lacking.
2. Moody Coliseum
With a classic field house design that has a striking resemblance to the likes of Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium, Moody could have one of the best atmospheres in the country – if they could ever fill the place. It will be wait and see how the renovations that are about to begin will alter its atmosphere, as the changes it had previously made with the newer court and added room for more media, had reduced the amount of student space available. It probably has been ridiculed for things like the dark lighting and wooden bleachers lining the baseline, but a consistently winning SMU team that could pack the place would overshadow that.
3. Daniel Meyer Coliseum
It’s one of the circular-style venues that became en vogue about 30-40 years ago or so, and that already gets many points off as the shape pushes people away from more-up-close action. Other such venues, like UT’s Erwin Center, have worked to eliminate those problems. DMC has made some seating improvements over the years, but the students are still farther away than the previously mentioned buildings. At the very least, its 7,200 capacity may be just right for TCU; doubtful they could draw more than that even if the Horned Frogs were winning.
4. The Super Pit
It’s too big in addition to being another circular venue. With nearly 3,000 seats more than Daniel Meyer, it swallows up what atmosphere it could possibly have for sadly what is northern Texas’ closest thing to a college town in Denton. The students may be farthest away from the court action than any of the aforementioned places. Even though UNT may have had the most consistently winning team over the past few years, the area’s apathy toward college basketball means its chances of filling the Super Pit are slim to none. So any chance of a raucous atmosphere are eliminated among too many empty green seats each game.