Penn State isn’t necessarily viewed as a college basketball hot spot. Games in the Bryce Jordan Center struggle to bring the kind of electricity another arena around the Big Ten can offer. But how does the college basketball environment in State College rank compared to others around the Big Ten? Is Penn State home to the worst college basketball city in the Big Ten?
Not according to a recent ranking compiled by personal finance outlet WalletHub. Using data comprising of data such as winning percentage, stadium capacity, and social-media engagement, WalletHub ranked every Division 1 college basketball city on the map. Keep this in mind as a city like Philadelphia is home to multiple college basketball programs (Temple, Penn, St. Joseph’s, LaSalle, and Drexel) while Penn State is the only program in the game in State College.
The ranking ranges from No. 1 Durham, North Carolina (Duke), and No. 2 Lexington, Kentucky (Kentucky Wildcats) at the top all the way down to No. 290 St. Georgia, Utah (Dixie State) and No. 291 Stephenville, Texas (Tarleton State).
You can view the full ranking and breakdown of the list here, but we trimmed out the Big Ten-based cities for you below so you can see just where Penn State stands in the Big Ten college basketball scene.
Editorial note: There was no ranking given to Piscataway, New Jersey, the home city for Rutgers. It’s possible Rutgers flies under the New York umbrella for this ranking (New York is No. 6), but it has been omitted from this listicle.
East Lansing, Michigan
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
Overall rank: 3 Big Ten rank: 1 Michigan State has been one of the best overall college basketball programs in the Big Ten for quite some time, and there is never an easy road trip for any team to make into East Lansing.
College Park, Maryland
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Overall rank: 11 Big Ten rank: 2 The addition of Maryland to the Big Ten brought one of the better college basketball scenes to the conference. Maryland has the second-best college basketball city in the conference to call home.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Overall rank: 13 Big Ten rank: 3 The history and tradition of Indiana Hoosiers basketball speaks for itself, even if the program has fallen on more difficult times in recent years. Still, Bloomington is a college basketball haven.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Overall rank: 23 Big Ten rank: 4 The Michigan Wolverines have returned to the national scene in a dominant way, making Ann Arbor one of the better college basketball cities once again.
Iowa City, Iowa
Syndicated photo via HawkCentral
Overall rank: 32 Big Ten rank: 5 Iowa fans won't particularly like the idea this ranking placed their beloved Hawkeyes one spot below Ames, Iowa (Iowa State), but perhaps that just speaks to the quality of college basketball experiences to be had in the state o Iowa as a whole.
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
Overall Rank: 38 Big Ten rank: 6 Illinois has certainly been a more enjoyable basketball destination than football. The gameday environment is much better for basketball right now in Champaign.
West Lafayette, Indiana
Syndicated photo via The Indianapolis Star
Overall rank: 40 Big Ten rank: 7 Losing Micah Shrewsberry to State College may not have factored into the ranking for Purdue, but West Lafayette remains in the upper half among Big Ten basketball cities.
State College, PA
Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
Overall rank: 116 Big Ten rank: 8 In a bit of an upset, Penn State's hometown comes in ahead of some tough competition from other Big Ten cities yet to be listed. Perhaps Penn State has an underappreciated college basketball environment for new head coach Micah Shrewsberry to dig into.
Barbara J. Perenic-USA TODAY NETWORK
Overall rank: 118 Big Ten rank: 9 This one seems odd given the recent status of Ohio State as a Big Ten basketball power and Penn State's status as, well, not. But we're not the ones making the list. Ohio State fans can direct their ire at Wallet Hub.
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Overall rank: 169 Big Ten rank: 10 Nebraska is essentially like Penn State in many regards when it comes to basketball prowess. Yet the basketball scene in Lincoln is a little more dreary than it is for the Nittany Lion faithful.
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports
Overall rank: 219 Big Ten rank: 11 Yikes. For all the success of Wisconsin basketball, it sure seems as though there isn't much reason to make a trip to Madison for basketball season. Consider this the weather factor. Who wants to travel to Madison in January or February?
Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports
Overall rank: 264 Big Ten rank: 12 All the negative things we just said about Madison? That goes double for Minneapolis.
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
Overall: 277 Big Ten rank: 13 And we have reached the absolute bottom of the barrel when it comes to basketball cities around the Big Ten. Northwestern's home city is nothing to write home about, apparently.