Madness: the NCAA Sweet Sixteen decided by Walk Score!
Posted March 20, 2012 at 2:14PM
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
Cincinnati Bearcats - Fifth Third Arena, Cincinnati
Florida Gators - O'Connell Center, Gainesville
Indiana Hoosiers - Assembly Hall, Bloomington
Kansas Jayhawks - Phogg Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence
Kentucky Wildcats - Rupp Arena, Lexington
Louisville Cardinals - KFC Yum! Center
Marquette Golden Eagles - Bradley Center, Milwaukee
Michigan State Spartans - Breslin Center, East Lansing
North Carolina Tar Heels - Dean E. Smith Center ("the DeanDome"), Chapel Hill
North Carolina State Wolfpack - PNC Arena
Ohio University Bobcats - Convocation Center, Athens
Ohio State Buckeyes - Value City Arena
Syracuse University Orange - Carrier Dome
Wisconsin Badgers - Kohl Center, Madison
Xavier Musketeers - Cintas Center, Cincinnati
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.