The 2021-22 DII basketball season for men and women has started. West Texas A&M put the men to work with a 3-0 start in the D2CCA Tip Off Classic, while the Drury women’s team also beat all three opponents. This weekend, the reigning champion Lubbock Christian women’s team heads to Montana State Billings, hosting another D2CCA Tipoff Classic, as eight of the nation’s top men’s teams—including the defending champion Northwest Missouri State Bearcats—gather in the Small College Basketball Hall of Fame. classic.
SCHEDULES: D2CCA Tipoff Classic | SCB HOF Classic
Wayne State (MI) also has a big weekend ahead. The Warriors host Division I Michigan in an exhibit to open their new WSU Fieldhouse. Wayne State (MI), who is out of the 2021 GLIAC regular season championship, is hoping to get things going at the new venue with some sort of upset.
It got us thinking: who has the best arena in DII basketball? We took to Twitter to find out and the votes are in. Highlighted below are the arenas with the most mentions, but we were sure to shed some light on all of the locations deemed loyal by Twitter and DII.
The 10 Best Arenas in DII Basketball, According to the Fans
Wachs Arena, Northern State
This is what is known as a no-brainer. The Wachs Arena has hosted the men’s and women’s basketball teams – as well as women’s volleyball and wrestling since 1986. This 8,000-person venue is home to some of the wildest DII basketball games and has been leading DII in attendance for over a decade. It will host the inaugural Small College Basketball Champions Classic in 2022.
Gross Memorial Coliseum, Fort Hays State
No arena received more mentions and votes than the home of the Tigers. In fact, per fan Mason Gentry, it’s the “Only Answer”. Gross Memorial opened in 1973 and now hosts 6,814 devout Fort Hays fans every night. The arena is also home to women’s volleyball, wrestling, and track and field. Fort Hays State came in at number 7 in our 2021-22 Power 10 preseason rankings, so expect more excitement at Gross Memorial this season.
Alaska Airlines Center, Alaska Anchorage
The Alaska Airlines Center has seen quite a bit of winning basketball in recent seasons: The women’s team has averaged 31.2 wins per season since 2016. The 5,000-seat venue also hosted the Great Alaska Shootout over the Thanksgiving weekend from 1978-2017. Names like Dwyane Wade of Marquette and Ray Allen of UConn were just a few of the great Division I talents to win MVP of the event on the AAC court.
O’Reilly Family Events Center, Drury
Drury’s women’s basketball team has gone 69-2 at home for the past five seasons, so you can imagine how electric home field advantage must be in Springfield, Missouri. The venue can accommodate 3,100 Panthers fans for basketball games and can accommodate another 500 fans for other events.
DL Ligon Coliseum, Midwestern State
The home of Mustangs basketball and volleyball for over 50 years got quite a few votes. The Colosseum is named after Dr. Ligon served in seemingly every position during his tenure at Midwestern State and the court is named after Mustangs’ longtime coach Dr. Gerald Stockton. The hall seats 3,640 people.
William L. White Auditorium, Emporia State
The Hornets’ home got quite a few shoutouts. It has been home to the men’s and women’s basketball teams since 1940, with several renovations underway. The venue now seats 5,000 fans and has hosted NCAA championship tournaments and Kansas high school championships for decades.
Tucker Coliseum, Arkansas Tech
Home to the Wonder Boys (men’s) and Golden Suns (women’s) basketball teams, the Tucker Coliseum is “one of the most recognizable buildings in the entire Arkansas River Valley.” new hardwood floor In addition to the men’s and women’s basketball teams, Tucker Coliseum is home to the women’s volleyball team.
Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex, Indiana (PA)
When we delve into the top arenas of DII basketball, the home of the Crimson Hawks is always mentioned. Not only is this 5,000-seat, 17,000-square-foot convention center a massive venue, the Ed Fry Arena is also home to perennial NCAA DII tournament candidates on both the men’s and women’s basketball teams. This is one of the newer locations in DII, groundbreaking in 2008.
B. Frank “Tex” Turner Arena, Lincoln Memorial
The Tex has been home to Railsplitters basketball since 1991, and Lincoln Memorial students and alumni have certainly been treated to quality hoops ever since. Visiting fans are bathed in a sea of blue as the 5,009 seats wear the Railsplitters livery. The venue is so large that many of the other athletic programs use it as a practice facility.
Taylor Center, State of Minnesota
According to Twitterer Jake Morrow, “it doesn’t even come close.” Looking at the full house in this photo, it’s hard to disagree. Home to the Mavericks’ men’s and women’s basketball teams—as well as women’s volleyball and wrestling teams—the 4,800-seat Taylor Center facility is a pretty intimidating place to play.
RANK: DII Men’s Preseason Power 10 | Women’s DII Power 10 . Preseason
I’ve seen a lot of DII basketball over the years. The following arenas received a minimum number of votes or mentions, but also deserve attention.
Augustana (SD): Sanford Pentagon — This huge venue hosted the DII Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships at the same time in 2018. That was more than 1,800 hot dogs served at the end of tournaments.
Nova Southeast: Rick Case Arena — It’s beautiful inside and has palm trees as you step into the warm Florida weather. But we’re not leaving an arena nicknamed “The Shark Tank” off our list.
The Ford Center, Evansville, Indiana — This is not the home of any specific DII team, but the 11,000 seat arena is the home of the DII Men’s Elite Eight. Since this is “author’s choice”, the 2019 national quarterfinal between the “home” team South Indiana and the No. 2 West Texas A&M Buffs was one of the most electric atmospheres I’ve seen on any level, including the NBA. Yes, I said it.
— USI Athletics (@USIAthletics) March 28, 2019
TOURNEY FAQ: The Essential Guide to the DII Women’s Basketball Championship | Men
The best of the rest
Kudos to the following teams. Even if it was just one mention, we wanted to spotlight all those fans who took the time to vote.
- Angelo State — The Junell Center
- Cal (PA) – Call Center
- Central Missouri — Multipurpose Building
- Fairmont State – Joe Retton Arena
- Ferris State — Jim Wink Arena
- Glenville State — Waco Center
- Grand Valley State — Fieldhouse Arena
- Northeastern State — NSU Event Center
- Parkside — Alfred and Bernice De Simone Gymnasium
- State of Pittsburg — John Lance Arena
- Queens (NC) — Curry Arena
- Saint Leo — Marion Bowman Activity Center
- South Indiana – Screaming Eagles Arena
- Southwestern State of Oklahoma – Pioneer Cellular Event Center
- Truman — John J. Pershing Arena
- State of Valdosta — The Complex
- Washburn – Lee Arena
- West Chester – Hollinger Field House
- West Georgia — The Colosseum
- West Texas A&M — First United Bank Center