If the Palestra were a person it would be getting a big ego boost this week. Not only do NBA stars want to host a mega-Philly/Baltimore exhibition game there, but today ESPN surveyed some of college basketball's top coaches to find out what arenas are on their bucket list.
Michigan State's Tom Izzo and Texas' Rick Barnes both picked the Palestra as "The one arena I've never coached in but would like to."
Unfortunately, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski wasn't involved in the poll, so we won't know if this year's game in k-ville is part of a home-and-home. Duke's Cameron Indoor got five picks, including from Villanova's Jay Wright. Several others mentioned UCLA's Pauley Pavilion (including St. Joe's Phil Martelli). Penn, unfortunately, won't be playing in Pauley when it visits UCLA this December, as it is being renovated this season.
Jerome Allen, if you're reading, now you've got some leverage when it comes to next year's schedule.
Bonus: ESPN's college basketball writers also considered the question. Dana O'Neil picked the Cathedral of College Basketball, and Joe Lunardi gave it an honorable mention. Here's her blurb on why she picked the Palestra.
Dana O'Neil: The Palestra is a Philadelphia basketball assault to the senses. It smells of pretzels and history, a perfectly perfumed mustiness that somehow brings today's game back in time. The lighting is suspect, so everything looks old-school grainy, as if a live game were being played in sepia tone. And when the building is filled to the corners with opposing pep bands dueling out fight songs, it is so loud that the tables that double as reporters' work space literally shake. The Palestra is what made the Big 5 so special during its heyday, and it is what makes Philadelphia basketball so special today.