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Andy Wittry | | February 18, 2021

10 best historic March Madness arenas, ranked

Andy Katz's 10 iconic venues in college basketball's Andy Katz ranked his top 10 historic March Madness sites for the NCAA tournament on the latest episode of the March Madness 365 podcast, which you can listen to below. He was also joined on the episode by Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart and ESPN's Dan Dakich.

You can listen to the full episode here and you can read Katz's predictions for the top games of the week here. The rankings of venues begin at around 15 minutes in.

Here are the top 10 March Madness sites, in the eyes of Katz.

10. Pauley Pavilion, UCLA

Kirby Lee | USA TODAY Sports Images UCLA's Pauley Pavilion.

"It just has such great history of everything that UCLA went through there in the '60s and '70s," Katz said.

Pauley Pavilion has been an NCAA tournament host site seven times, starting when the arena hosted the 1966 West Regional, one year after the arena was completed. It was also used as a host site in the 1969, 1973, 1976, 1979, 1981, 1984 and 1988 NCAA tournaments. The 1966 West Regional featured Utah and Oregon State in the regional final, with the Utes winning. They fell to eventual national champion Texas Western in the Final Four.

9. Assembly Hall, Indiana

Trevor Ruszkowski | USA TODAY Sports Images Indiana's Assembly Hall.

"One of the iconic home courts in the sport," Katz said.

Assembly Hall hosted the first round of the 1977 Mideast Region, six years after the arena was built, then the second round of the 1979 NCAA Tournament and the 1981 Mideast Regional.

8. Jon M. Huntsman Center, Salt Lake City

Jeffrey Swinger | USA TODAY Sports Images Utah's Jon M. Huntsman Center.

"I think it's a great venue and it's got great history," Katz said.

The Huntsman Center hosted the NCAA tournament nine times in 20 years, each time as a first and second round host: 1988, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2003 and 2006.

7. 'The Pit,' New Mexico

Ivan Pierre Aguirre | USA TODAY Sports Images "The Pit" at New Mexico.

"I still love what The Pit is about and its history in the sport," Katz said.

The Pit hosted the Final Four in 1983, plus it was a host site nine other times, most recently in the 2012 NCAA tournament. New Mexico's arena was first used in the NCAA tournament to host the West Regional in 1968.

6. 'The Barn,' Minnesota

Harrison Barden | USA TODAY Sports Williams Arena at the University of Minnesota.

Williams Arena, known as "The Barn," hosted the national championship in 1951, back when the NCAA tournament featured just 16 teams. It last hosted the NCAA tournament in 1964, when the Mideast Regional was held there.

5. Mackey Arena, Purdue

Nikos Frazier | USA TODAY Sports Images Purdue's Mackey Arena.

"The way that sound reverberates off the top, love it," Katz said.

Mackey Arena hosted games in the first and second rounds of the Mideast Region in the 1980 NCAA Tournament.

4. Hinkle Fieldhouse, Butler

Kaiti Sullivan | USA TODAY Sports Imagees Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse.

"That's Hoosiers. Butler's done a remarkable job of maintaining the history of Hinkle," Katz said.

Hinkle Fieldhouse, then known as Butler Field House, hosted the NCAA tournament just once, in 1940, when it hosted the Eastern Regional, 12 years after the arena opened.

3. Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke.

"It'd be wild to see NCAA tournament games at Cameron Indoor Stadium," Katz said.

Cameron Indoor Stadium hosted the first round of the East Region in the 1954 NCAA Tournament, 15 years after the arena opened.

2. Allen Fieldhouse, Kansas Allen Fieldhouse at the University of Kansas

"A place where I think I've lost hearing, Allen Fieldhouse," Katz said.

Allen Fieldhouse was once one of the most popular NCAA tournament sites, as it hosted the tournament in 1956, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1967, 1970, 1976, 1978 and 1979. That's 10 tournaments in a 24-year span. Kansas's home arena is tied for fourth all-time as it has hosted a regional championship eight times.

1. The Palestra, Philadelphia

Bill Streicher | USA TODAY Sports Images The Palestra in Philadelphia

"It would be tremendous to have NCAA tournament games at the Palestra," Katz said.

The Palestra was used as the host site for the 1939 East Regional and it was a host 18 times after that, most recently in 1984. Philadelphia's famous arena was once a host site for the NCAA tournament in five consecutive years from 1953 to 1957, briefly making it synonymous with the NCAA tournament.

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