UCLA Will Take To The Road As Pauley Pavilion Gets a FaceliftPosted by AMurawa on October 25th, 2011
Something unique to keep an eye on this year is UCLA, one of the teams on the short list of conference favorites, playing all of its games away from the friendly confines of Pauley Pavilion this season as the venerable old place gets a much-needed facelift. The Bruins will play home games in three different Southern California arenas this year, including 14 home games just down the street from the campus of their crosstown rival, USC, in the Los Angeles Sports Arena. The Sports Arena was the old home of the Trojan basketball program before the Galen Center opened in 2006 (as well as the old home of the Los Angeles Clippers prior to the Staples Center) and it will most often be the Bruins’ home away from home this year, including a game on February 15 when they’ll host USC. UCLA will also play a game at the Citizen Business Bank Arena in beautiful downtown Ontario when they open the season with a trip inland to host Cal State San Bernardino in an exhibition game. They’ll also play four games at the Honda Center in Anaheim, including two conference games against Arizona and Arizona State. The game against Arizona will be played under the banner of the Wooden Classic, which has in the past been a two-game event on a December Saturday featuring two inter-conference games.
As for Pauley Pavilion, a college basketball landmark housing 11 national championship banners, it is badly in need of a facelift. Opened in 1965 on the heels of John Wooden’s first two championships at the school, the facility featured limited restrooms and concession stands, narrow concourses, and, perhaps worst of all, a large open area behind one of the baskets that kept fans in the end zone away from the action. The renovation will add a new entryway outside the arena, and inside there will be new concourses, restrooms, concession areas, a scoreboard, and a new LED ribbon board, not to mention a new section of seats behind the basket.
There was some controversy over whether the student section would be moved entirely from its usual sideline seating, but after some back and forth with the athletic department, the students will retain their sideline seating as well as pick up some more seats behind the basket. Construction should be complete at Pauley in time for the Bruins to play all of their 2012-13 games back home. For a glimpse at what the inside of the new Pauley will look like, UCLA has set up a virtual venue site which will allow you to check out the seat configuration (and prices), as well as some of the new design features.
As for whether the lack of home cooking will hamper UCLA’s chances in a tight conference race this year, perhaps junior Reeves Nelson said it best: “Pauley wasn’t exactly a sold-out crowd every time, so as long as we have a certain amount, or at least anybody that’s cheering for us, I think we’ll be all right.” And who knows, maybe with the overhaul, Pauley will turn into a place a bit more intimidating for visitors.