Big 12 Tournament

Lawrence leads this list of top college basketball cities; KC doesn’t fare as well

A booster paid $4.3 million for Naismith’s rules, then KU built this palace for them

After KU alumnus David Booth purchased James Naismith’s original rules of basketball for a total of $4.3 million in 2010, the DeBruce Center was built adjacent to Allen Fieldhouse to house the historic two-page document.
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After KU alumnus David Booth purchased James Naismith’s original rules of basketball for a total of $4.3 million in 2010, the DeBruce Center was built adjacent to Allen Fieldhouse to house the historic two-page document.

Visitors to Lawrence for a Kansas Jayhawks game don’t need convincing they’re in one of the nation’s top college basketball cities.

Now, there’s a list to support it.

Wallethub.com came up with a list of top college hoop cities and ranks Lawrence first, ahead of Durham, N.C., home to Duke.

Nine metrics were used to rank 289 cities of all sizes. Among the criteria: number of Division I college teams in the city, the success of those teams, hall of fame coaches, ticket price to games and social media following.

Rounding out the top five are Los Angeles (UCLA, Southern California, others), East Lansing, Mich. (Michigan State), and Chapel Hill, N.C. (North Carolina).

Kansas owns a consecutive sellout streak of 291 games at Allen Fieldhouse, and was the home to the game’s inventor, James Naismith, for the final 40 years of his life. College hoops has long been a big deal in Lawrence.

Other cities in this region didn’t fare well.

Manhattan, home to Big 12 co-champion Kansas State, was ranked 216th overall, and No. 124 among small cities. Columbia was No. 225 and 55th among mid-sized cities.

As for Kansas City, home to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, more Final Fours and NCAA Tournament games than any other city, annual site of the Big 12 Tournament, regular-season games, the MIAA and NAIA tournaments, the NCAA Midwest Regional this year, not to mention UMKC...

No. 226 overall and 43rd among 56 large cities.

Among large cities deemed doing college basketball better than Kansas City by Wallethub: Long Beach, Calif. (10), Omaha (13), Arlington, Texas (25), Bakersfield, Calif. (32) and Sacramento (39).

But Kansas City ranked two spots ahead of St. Louis, home of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.

Others of interest: Springfield, Mo. (228) and Wichita (258).

What do the rankings prove?

College basketball fans are passionate in the places where teams traditionally succeed. This helps explain New Britain, Conn., as No. 289 and last on the list. The city’s lone Division I team, Central Connecticut State, finished last in the Northeast Conference this season.

Also, that lists like these are fun but silly.

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