The Pit (arena)
|"The Legend of Basketball"
Bob King Court – The King's Court
|Former names||University Arena (1966–2009)|
|Location||Avenida Cesar Chavez & University Blvd SE.
Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
|Broke ground||December 1965|
|Opened||December 1, 1966|
|Owner||University of New Mexico|
|Operator||University of New Mexico,
Associated Students of UNM
|Construction cost||$1.4 million
($9.91 million in 2013 dollars)
$60 million (renovations)
14,586 (2009 Renovations)
|New Mexico Lobos (1966–present)
New Mexico Activities Association State Basketball Tournaments (1990–present)
1983 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship
The Pit is a basketball-only arena in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It serves primarily as the home of the University of New Mexico Lobo basketball teams. The arena seats 15,411 for basketball, has 40 luxury suites, and 350 club seats. The Pit opened in 1966 as University Arena; in late 2009, the school officially named the arena after its nickname. The arena is located on the University's South Campus on University Boulevard and Cesar Chavez in southeast Albuquerque, across the street from University Stadium and Isotopes Park.
Prior to the building of the arena, the men’s basketball team played at Johnson Gymnasium, a 7,800-seat multi-purpose gym on the University’s main campus. However, with the surge in popularity following the hiring of Bob King and the team’s appearance in the finals of the 1964 National Invitation Tournament, it was decided that a new, larger arena was needed for the team’s growing and dedicated following. The site chosen was across University Boulevard from University Stadium on the University’s new South Campus. The design won international recognition for chief architect Joe Boehning, who still resides in Albuquerque. The arena was built with its floor lying 37 feet (11 m) below grade, giving rise to its now-famous nickname. The 338-by-300-foot (103 m × 91 m) Behlen roof was built first, before the pit was excavated and concrete was poured for the foundations. There are no supporting pillars in the seating area of the arena, so there are no obstructed views. The compact area, steep grade and proximity of the seats to the floor contributes to the legendary noise level. Originally seating 14,831, the $1.4 million arena (inexpensive even in its time) opened on December 1, 1966, with New Mexico defeating Abilene Christian College, 62–53. In 1992, to honor the coach who made the arena’s construction possible, the basketball court was renamed "Bob King Court."
Reputation and tradition 
The Pit has a reputation as one of the loudest arenas in the country, often resulting in painfully high decibel levels. Traditionally, fans make the shape of a wolf’s head with their hands and they howl and “woof” like wolves, creating a very hostile playing environment for visitors. The Lobos averaged 15,559 fans through the first 42 years, and ranked in the top 10 nationally in total attendance every season from the opening of The Pit in 1966 through the 2000–01 season. Although attendance has declined somewhat in recent years, the team has continued to rank in the top 20, and still boasts large crowds. Over 11.5 million fans had visited The Pit through 2008, which translates to 95% of its all-time capacity. The Lobos men's basketball team has returned the favor by winning 631 of the 776 games played at The Pit through the 2009–10 basketball season, for a .820 winning percentage, along with 14 NCAA tournament appearances and 15 NIT appearances since the opening of the arena.
A mile high and louder than... 
Also contributing to its intimidating environment for visitors is the fact that the elevation in Albuquerque is nearly a mile high, the court at The Pit is around 5,100 feet (1,550 m) above sea level. This fact is impressed upon visiting teams in several places in The Pit. The tunnel leading down from the locker rooms to the floor has the following message painted on the wall, "Welcome to the legendary Pit, a mile high and louder than..." Additionally, posters in the visiting team's locker rooms provide information on the warning signs of altitude sickness and urge victims to seek immediate medical attention.
The Lady Lobos 
The Lobo Women's basketball team also enjoys the home court advantage The Pit offers. Under former head coach Don Flanagan, The Pit has become one of the rowdiest places in all of women's college basketball. The women have compiled a home record of 187–41 (.820) since his hiring. The women's team has also been in the top-10, nationally, in average attendance in each of the last 10 seasons. In 2007–08, the women's team averaged 8,638 fans per game, sixth in the NCAA, and posted a 12–7 record. On nine different occasions, the women's squad has sold out The Pit. Five times they have filled it to the 18,018 regular season capacity. Four times they sold out NCAA tournament games when the capacity was over 16,000. Each of these nine games has come since the 1999 season.
The Pit reviews 
The arena has been praised by many different sources. Basketball writer John Feinstein once likened a visiting team's experience in The Pit to "watching Roman gladiators emerging into a wall of sound". During the 1988–89 season, The Pit registered a crowd at 118 decibels, for the loudest crowd in the country, two decibels ahead of Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium. (Some sources have claimed that the arena has been as loud as 125 decibels at times.) In 1999, Sports Illustrated listed the Top Twenty Sporting Venues of the Century, and The Pit came in 13th, ahead of such locations as Daytona International Speedway, Notre Dame Stadium, St. Andrews Golf Course and the Rose Bowl.
The stadium has undergone two major renovations. In 1975, an extension of a cantilevered deck above the original seating, along with dedicated standing-room only space, brought capacity up to 18,018, and cost $2.2 million, more than the original arena itself.
The second renovation, begun in 2009 and completed in time for the 2010–11 basketball season, cost $60 million and brought the facilities up to modern standards. The 2009 renovations included 60,000 square feet (5,600 m2) of new space, increasing the number of concession stands and rest rooms, adding new digital signage and video boards, upgrading the locker rooms and training facilities, expansion of the concourse, store, and ticket office, the addition of 40 luxury suites and 300 club seats, and extensive glasswork as well as increased ceiling height, which changed the outside appearance of the arena. As part of the renovations, the capacity of the arena was dropped to 14,586 during construction. When finished, the arena held 17,126.
Tournament site 
The Pit hosted the 1983 NCAA Basketball Tournament Final Four, which was the scene of a memorable championship game upset by North Carolina State over heavily favored Houston. The video clip of NC State coach Jim Valvano running around the court at the end of the game documents one of the most famous moments in NCAA basketball history and is now a staple of Final Four television coverage.
The Pit hosted Men's NCAA tournaments in 1968, 1978, 1985, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2002, and 2005, making it a common venue for NCAA Tournament games. It also hosted the 1987, 1995, and 1996 Western Athletic Conference men's basketball tournaments and the NCAA Women's host for the 2003 Regional, 2004 1st and 2nd round, 2006 Regional, 2008 1st and 2nd round, 2009 1st and 2nd round, and 2011 1st and 2nd round. The Pit has also hosted the Men’s 2012 2nd and 3rd round.
Men's NCAA Tournaments:
|1968 West Regional||UCLA 58 New Mexico State 49
Santa Clara 86 New Mexico 58
New Mexico State 62 New Mexico 58
UCLA 87 Santa Clara 66
|1978 West Regional||Sweet 16th
Arkansas 74 UCLA 70
Cal State Fullerton 75 San Francisco 72
Arkansas 61 Cal State Fullerton 58
|1983 Final Four||Final Four
North Carolina State 67 Georgia 60
Houston 94 Louisville 81
North Carolina State 54 Houston 52
|1985 West First & Second Rounds||First Round
Texas-El Paso 79 Tulsa 75
North Carolina State 65 Nevada 56
Alabama 50 Arizona 41
Virginia Commonwealth 81 Marshall 65
Alabama 63 Virginia Commonwealth 59
North Carolina 86 Texas-El Paso 73
|1992 West Regional||Sweet sixteen
Indiana 85 Florida State 74
UCLA 85 New Mexico State 78
Indiana 106 UCLA 79
|1996 West First & Second Rounds||First Round
Syracuse 88 Montana State 55
Drexel 75 Memphis 63
Purdue 73 Western Carolina 71
Georgia 81 Clemson 74
Georgia 76 Purdue 69
Syracuse 69 Drexel 58
|2000 West Regional||Sweet 16
Wisconsin 61 LSU 48
Purdue 75 Gonzaga 66
Wisconsin 64 Purdue 60
|2002 First and Second Rounds||First Round
Missouri 93 Miami(FL) 80
Ohio State 69 Davidson 64
Wyoming 73 Gonzaga 66
Arizona 86 UC Santa Barbara 81
Missouri 83 Ohio State 67
Arizona 68 Wyoming 60
|2005 Albuquerque Regional||Sweet 16
Louisville 93 Washington 79
West Virginia 65 Texas Tech 60
Louisville 93 West Virginia 85
|2012 2nd and 3rd round||Second Rounds
Vanderbilt 79 Harvard 70
Wisconsin 73 Montana 49
UNLV 64 Colorado 68
Baylor 68 South Dakota State 60
Men’s Basketball in The Pit 
|The Pit Record||(Enter 2011–2012)|
|The First Game||December 1, 1966|
|Longest winning streak||41 (2/10/96 – 2/19/98)|
|Since 2004–2005 Season:||113–17|
|Under Steve Alford||68–9|
|Best Record||19 win, 4 times, Last time 98–99|
|Worst Record||12 lost, last time 79–80|
- Staff. Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2012. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- Feinstein, John. 10 great places to get pumped for NCAA action. USA Today, 2008-01-17.
- Loudest Arena in the Country
- NCAA Video, 1983: NC State's last second lay-in, NCAA.com.
- ^ Carlton, Jeff (January 19, 2006). "The Pit not scoring as many devotees". The Albuquerque Tribune.
- ^ NCAA Video, 1983: NC State's last second lay-in, NCAA.com.
- ^ Wright, Rick (September 19, 1999). "The Pit: Basketball Arena Recognized Far and Wide". The Albuquerque Journal.
- ^ (40th Anniversary The Pit, 2007–2008)
|Home of the
New Mexico Lobos
1966 – present
|NCAA Men's Division I