Hilton gets high praise

Jonathan Lowe

Iowa State’s Hilton Coliseum is among the best sports arenas in the country, according to one reporter of CBS.Sportsline.com.

Senior writer Dan Wetzel recently announced his list of the top stadiums to watch college basketball, with Hilton Coliseum coming in at the no. 10 spot.

Using criteria that included historical value and fan loyalty and enthusiasm, Wetzel picked ten locations for the best places to see a game.

The list includes stadiums from Stanford’s Pauley Pavillion to the Palestra, home to the Penn Quakers.

The online writer’s main reason for placing Hilton on the list was the amount of passion that fans showed for the Cyclones, even during Iowa’s very harsh winter season.

B.J. Schaben has been calling games at Hilton for the past four years for KASI radio. He says that the design of the building is important in conjuncture with the fan support.

“It was built in the 1970s, and it’s still modern,” he said. “It’s probably the blueprint that will be used for new arenas for the next few years. Any seat in Hilton is a great seat.”

Over the years of play-by-play announcing, the announcer has memories of calling incredible games.

“There’s the Hilton Magic,” Schaben said. “I’ve seen balls that were going in, rattle out.”

He also remembers the reactions of opposing coaches while their teams were playing the Cyclones.

“They don’t really know what actually just hit them until they actually got done with the ballgame,” he said. “It’s a great home-court advantage.”

In his time here, Schaben has seen Hilton’s reputation for staging upsets of top-ranked teams all over the nation.

“John Feinstein calls it one of the toughest places to play in the country,” he said. “It’s known around the country that you don’t want to play at Hilton because it’s a tough place to play.”

Schaben has also called events for professional teams and says that the Ames structure is still impressive when compared to the pro stadiums.

“It’s so much different from the professional arenas because everybody has the chance to get a great seat and watch a great basketball game,” he said.

Wetzel gave his top pick to Oklahoma State’s Gallaher-Iba Arena.