Kaid Benfield Archive


Madness: the NCAA Sweet Sixteen decided by Walk Score!

Kaid Benfield

Posted March 20, 2012 at 2:14PM

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  the walkability bracket (c2012 FK Benfield)

If the NCAA men's Division 1 basketball championship were decided on walkability, the Marquette Golden Eagles would be our winner, edging out in-state rival Wisconsin-Madison 95-91 in the final.

In the spirit of continuing what is becoming a tradition (see the versions I did for 2011 and 2010), I took the 16 teams remaining in the tournament and obtained Walk Scores for the arenas where they play their home games.  And I played out the matchups, as you see above.  The game of the tournament would be an epic national semifinal between the Kentucky Wildcats and Marquette, won by the Golden Eagles by one point, 95-94.  In my imagination, I like to think the game went to overtime, and Kentucky had a one-point lead with 2.1 seconds left.  Marquette ball.  Jae Crowder throws a full-court bullet pass to Darius Johnson-Odom, waiting at the top of the key.  DJO dribbles once, turns, and swishes a jumper for the win as time expires.

Anyway, Marquette wins because the Bradley Center, where they play, is a downtown arena with a "walker's paradise" Walk Score score of 95.  Wisconsin's and Kentucky's arenas are also located in "walker's paradises."  NC State and Baylor, not so much.  Here's the complete breakdown, in alphabetic order:

Baylor Bears - Ferrell Center, Waco, TX

  Ferrell Center, Waco (by: Baylor University)

  Ferrell Center on Walk Score

Cincinnati Bearcats - Fifth Third Arena, Cincinnati

  Fifth Third Arena (via musiccleveland.com)

  Fifth Third Arena on Walk Score

Florida Gators - O'Connell Center, Gainesville

  O'Connell Center (by: U. of Florida)

  O'Connell Center on Walk Score

Indiana Hoosiers - Assembly Hall, Bloomington

  Assembly Hall (via MobilizingIdeas.com)

  Assembly Hall on Walk Score

Kansas Jayhawks - Phogg Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence

  Allen Fieldhouse (via overlandpark.com)

  Allen Fieldhouse on Walk Score

Kentucky Wildcats - Rupp Arena, Lexington

  Rupp Arena (via The Future of Lexington)

  Rupp Arena on Walk Score

Louisville Cardinals - KFC Yum! Center

  KFC Yum! Center (via Louisville.com)

  KFC Yum! Center on Walk Score

Marquette Golden Eagles - Bradley Center, Milwaukee

  Bradley Center (via On Milwaukee)

  Bradley Center on Walk Score

Michigan State Spartans - Breslin Center, East Lansing

  Breslin Center (via tobydammit.com)

  Breslin Center on Walk Score

North Carolina Tar Heels - Dean E. Smith Center ("the DeanDome"), Chapel Hill

  Dean E Smith Center (public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

  Dean E Smith Center on Walk Score

North Carolina State Wolfpack - PNC Arena

  PNC Arena (via Venues Today)

  PNC Arena on Walk Score

Ohio University Bobcats - Convocation Center, Athens

  Convocation Center (via Ohio U.)

  Convocation Center on Walk Score

Ohio State Buckeyes - Value City Arena

  Value City Arena (by: Ling JinJian, creative commons license)

  Value City Arena on Walk Score

Syracuse University Orange - Carrier Dome

  Carrier Dome (via Syracuse.com)

  Carrier Dome on Walk Score

Wisconsin Badgers - Kohl Center, Madison

  Kohl Center (by: U of Wisconsin)

  Kohl Center on Walk Score

Xavier Musketeers - Cintas Center, Cincinnati

  Cintas Center (via Xavier U.)

  Cintas Center on Walk Score

Note that some of the Walk Scores include transit information.  My understanding is that depends on available data.

Walk Score summary:

"Walker's Paradise":  Marquette, Kentucky, Wisconsin

"Very Walkable":  Cincinnati, Syracuse, Louisville, Ohio University

"Somewhat Walkable":  Xavier, Michigan State, Florida, Ohio State, UNC, Kansas

"Car-dependent":  Indiana, NC State, Baylor

Worst named arenas:  KFC Yum! Center; Fifth Third Arena; "Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein Center."

Best named:  Phogg Allen Fieldhouse; Assembly Hall.

Move your cursor over the images for credit information.