UPDATE: Congratulations to the University of Michigan's Crisler Center, the winner of the 2013 AB Facility Madness competition. While the Wolverines may have fallen short in Monday's NCAA Championship, their home arena was a clear winner in our bracket, edging out Ohio State's Value City Arena by nearly 20 votes.

The Crisler Center has been the home of Michigan basketball since its completion in 1967. However, in recent years, the facility underwent major renovations at a cost of more than $50 million. Michigan's home venue now includes a state-of-the-art player development center, expanded concourses, premium seating areas, and high-definition video boards. The arena has a capacity of 12,693.

Thank you to everyone who voted and made Facility Madness a success.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Rather than pick the winner on the court, we're asking you to pick which team left in the NCAA Tournament has the best home arena. An outstanding home facility can make all the difference in college hoops. Take Missouri, my alma mater, for example: A perfect 17-0 at home this season; a painfully disappointing 2-8 on the road. And these days, facilities are more impressive than ever as they become a major weapon in the recruiting arms race.

At Athletic Business, athletic facilities are what we know best. They're the focus of our magazine. We even devote every June issue to honoring the finest ones. When the NCAA Tournament narrowed down to the Sweet 16, we launched AB Facility Madness, a combination of two things we love: athletic facilities and the madness of NCAA Tournament time.

Here's how it works: Our bracket began with the 16 home facilities corresponding to each of the teams that make up the NCAA's Sweet 16. You voted on our Facebook page for the facilities you like best, and four arenas have advanced to the next round.

AB Facility Madness' championship tips off today. Will it be Michigan or Ohio State's facility that lays claim to the crown? Check out the matchup and research the facilities below, then head over to our Facebook page and cast your vote. Join the discussion on Twitter using the #ABTourney hashtag. Finally, be sure to check back here as we update the bracket as the winner is determined. May the best facility win.


The Bradley Center is a terrific venue, but, as a younger Marquette fan, I wish I could have experienced a game in the old MECCA. There is something special about a smaller, more intimate venue - such as Cameron Indoor or the Palestra in Philly. With that said, my vote goes to Indiana's Assembly Hall. Although it holds 17,000, it still is able to create a small-venue type atmosphere.
Douglas Franklin Thursday, 28 March 2013
Your premises are that "an outstanding home facility can make all the difference in college hoops" and "facilities are more impressive than ever as they become a major weapon in the recruiting arms race" raises some serious questions facing higher education in general and specifically intercollegiate athletics. First, let's dispense with the concept of the arms race as a metaphor for the building boom in HE. The concept of "mutually assured destruction (MAD), the basis of the arms race, is an incorrect metaphor for these facilities as I'm not sure anyone will go out on a limb and say that a university will close, because it doesn't have a new basketball arena. Cameron indoor stadium might suggest just the opposite. The second is that a facility can make "all the difference." I think the sport and athletic business relies far too much on facility and not nearly enough on people development. The University of Arkansas built a new facility in 1992-94 and won the NCAA national championship that year. There program fell apart and Mike Anderson is now building that program back one player at a time. (I might even argue that Missouri's current success was built on Anderson's work, and not the Missouri facility. My real beef with this article or challenge is that no criteria has been established to measure the "best home arena." First, is there really anything that is best or are we attempting to determine a level of quality culminating in a facility that has exemplary status? Let me offer some criteria from which to make a judgement; sight lines, ingress and egress, ambiance, comfort, display of team spirit, amenities (food etc.), closeness to the court, lighting, level of floor quality including graphics, grade of maple, atmosphere (number of students admitted etc,), I'm sure there are others but I just wanted to offer some guidance to the problem.
Dear Dean Franklin, Athletic competition is one of the few places in life a person can invest total passion without consequence. If your team wins, your supporting a winner, you feel like a winner, we show pride in our school as we rally with friends. If your team loses, you're disappointed and let down but you're loyal to the team. This a truly unique life experience that occurs in an athletic facility. The AB Facility Madness is a fun opportunity for our community to rekindle the pride in a facility where the passions that were invested, win or lose, are now a place of happy memories. I look forward to your vote.
Douglas Franklin Friday, 29 March 2013
Editor Brown: Thanks for your response. To be clear, I wasn't suggesting that passion wasn't part of sport, however I would disagree with your premise that "total passion is without consequence" Based on the evidence, misguided and misdirected passion comes with tremendous consequences. My statement was not about passion but about establishing criteria for the "best home arena". We live in a world of unsupported claims of the best "widget" or the best "trinket" and I wanted your readers to think about establishing criteria for their selections. Players and coaches determine who's the best by their performance on the court but the court or building has no other competition unless criteria is established to compare the two.
Douglas, Thanks for your comment. What I tried to convey in the article and what I find interesting about our "Facility Madness" is that everyone has a different definition of what is "best." Some of our readers may opt for a historic facility with a great tradition such as Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium. Others may opt for bells and whistles and amenities of a newer facility like Louisville's. We thought we'd leave "best" up for the interpretation of our readers.
Douglas Franklin Monday, 01 April 2013
Michael: Thanks for your response. I've been teaching a graduate course in Finance and Marketing in Recreation and have noticed that the majority of my students determine the "best" of things without using criteria or data in their decisions or opinions. I guess my reaction to your contest was more a frustration with the use of "based on my experience" this the best. The criteria you've described, historical significance verse "bells and whistles." makes sense. The analyst in me tends to lean more toward data driven and criteria based decisions. Thanks again for the discussion.