Just got back from Chicago where I had the occasion to see our boys take care of business. Awesome experience seeing Michigan on the road, particularly in such a Wolverine-friendly venue.
Outcome aside, this was my first time at Welsh-Ryan Arena and let's just say it's hard not to feel a little sorry for the Northwestern fanbase/players having to call this cracker box their home. For those that haven't been there, it's essentially a large highschool gym with no amenities sitting on an athletic campus that's a mile from the actual campus. The gym looks like it's 100 years old, even though it was built in 1952 (yes I looked it up). I should also mention that, apparently, there's no HVAC in the building, so you might want to find seats as low as possible. Otherwise you'll get back sweat.
The only redeeming quality of the venue is the proximity of the fans to the floor. It COULD be a fairly intimidating place to visit if Northwestern ever coordinated a fanbase who didn't bring books to study during timeouts. I'm wondering how they expect to recruit top talent. One look has to have a negative impact. Don't get me wrong, I get it. It's Northwestern where academics are first. But they are still in the B1G, and last I checked we're still trying to reshape this conference competitively. Where is all the private school endowment money going?
It got me thinking. If you factor in location, amenities, and overall lack of coolness of a venue -- where is the worst D1 college basketball arena? Because IMHO - we might not have to look further than across Lake Michigan to find it.