Study ranks Tulsa at No. 122 for college basketball fans

When it comes to the best cities for college basketball fans, Tulsa ranks at No. 122.

Norman comes in at No. 16. Stillwater is number 53.

That’s according to WalletHub’s “2017 Best and Worst Cities for College Basketball Fans.”

In the list of large cities (300,000 and over), Tulsa does better at No. 24 out of 77. And Norman comes in at No. 2 out of 77 in mid-size cities (100,000-300,000). Stillwater is No 33 out of 159 in small cities (fewer than 100,000) and Fayetteville, Arkansas, is No. 31.

Tulsa is hosting the first and second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament March 16-19 at the downtown arena. The University of Tulsa is the host for the regional play. Oklahoma State is in the tournament but TU and the University of Oklahoma did not get at-large bids.

WalletHub crunched the numbers on 291 U.S. cities using seven key factors. They range from the number of teams per city and the winning percentage of each to stadium capacity and social-media engagement.

“I believe a good basketball fan is someone who is knowledgeable of the game,” said Coach Alan Foster, assistant vice president of athletics and head basketball coach at Bacone College in Muskogee. “Perhaps not all the intricacies but some of the finer points of the game make the experience more enjoyable.”

The Big 12 Conference just finished its championship tournament in Kansas City on Sunday.

“One of the best cities for college basketball fans is Kansas City, Missouri,” Foster said “It has a history of hosting the NAIA Tournament, the Big Eight Tournament, the Big 12 Tournament and numerous NCAA tournaments. The College Basketball Hall of Fame is a great place to visit as well. I would have to say it is one of the best places to be in March if you’re a basketball fan.”

True fans don’t have to spend large amounts of money to see good basketball games.

“There is lots of quality college basketball played outside the Division 1 level,” Foster said. “Many small colleges at the NAIA level and even junior college that play a very high level and entertaining game. Many times the games and tournaments are very friendly financially for the fans and they can get much closer to the action than at the higher levels. Many fans are surprised by the interaction they can have with teams at this level, which makes the whole experience better.”

Best Cities for College Hoops Fans

  1. Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  2. Los Angeles, California
  3. Durham, North Carolina
  4. Bloomington, Indiana
  5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  6. East Lansing, Michigan
  7. Lawrence, Kansas
  8. Lexington, Kentucky
  9. Storrs, Connecticut
  10. Cullowhee, North Carolina

Worst Cities for College Hoops Fans

  1. Ithaca, New York
  2. Poughkeepsie, New York
  3. Lynchburg, Virginia
  4. Riverside, California
  5. Hackensack, New Jersey
  6. Clinton, South Carolina
  7. Daytona Beach, Florida
  8. Peoria, Illinois
  9. Tampa, Florida
  10. New Britain, Connecticut

Best vs. Worst

The Villanova Wildcats have the highest winning percentage among college basketball teams (88.15 percent), which is six times higher than the Grambling State Tigers, the losingest team (15.57 percent).  Lexington, Kentucky, has the most expensive season tickets, starting at $950, or 21 times more than a season of hoops in Hamilton, N.Y. ($45).

Thanks to John Wooden and UCLA, Los Angeles is home to the country’s most national championship banners (11), while Philadelphia has the most regular season titles (116).

The “most engaged” college basketball fans are in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Storrs, Connecticut; Lawrence, Kansas; Bloomington, Indiana; East Lansing, Michigan and Morgantown, West Virginia.

The “least engaged” fans are in Montgomery, Alabama.