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ESPN Analyst Fran Fraschilla On Where BYU’s Marriott Center Ranks In Big 12

Jan 4, 2024, 1:16 PM

BYU Basketball, Marriott Center, Big 12...

The Marriott Center, home to BYU Basketball, joins the list of great venues in the Big 12 Conference. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – The Big 12 Conference is known for great basketball venues.

BYU joining the conference adds to the depth of top-tier venues in the league.

“It’s the highest attendance league in the country. There are incredible venues,” said BYU coach Mark Pope. “Phog Allen, Lubbock, and Hilton (Coliseum), and you know, Morgantown, Going down the list is great. We played at Houston, on the road, in our first year here and that’s a really special venue with clearly a great team.”

On Saturday, Cincinnati will get the first taste of a Big 12 atmosphere inside the 17,978-seat Marriott Center.

Fran Fraschilla sees the Marriott Center as a potential top-three venue in the Big 12

No one knows Big 12 arenas better than ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla.

Fraschilla is the top Big 12 analyst on ESPN’s college basketball coverage. So he knows the conference inside and out. But he also knows the Marriott Center from his head coaching days as the headman at New Mexico during the WAC and early Mountain West years.

Fraschilla sees BYU’s Marriott Center being among the best venues the Big 12 has to offer in short order.

“It’s going to be at the top pretty quickly,” Fran Fraschilla said to KSL Sports. “… I would say that the Marriott Center is going to be, as I look quickly through the league, it’s probably going to be in the top three.”

Fraschilla’s favorite venue is Phog Allen Fieldhouse

According to Fraschilla, the top venue in the Big 12 is Kansas’ basketball cathedral, Phog Allen Fieldhouse.

“I will say this: Allen Fieldhouse is my favorite place in college basketball,” Fraschilla said.

BYU travels to Kansas on February 27. It will be BYU’s first visit to Allen Fieldhouse since 1971.

“Any Coug fan who can get there and get a ticket over the course of the next few years to watch the Cougs play in there will know what I’m talking about.”

Fraschilla’s first BYU broadcast that he will be part of this season is on January 20 at Texas Tech in Lubbock.

Texas Tech’s United Supermarkets Arena is another hostile environment in Big 12 play.

There isn’t a scheduled Fran Fraschilla broadcast yet inside the Marriott Center. But when it comes, Fraschilla will excited to be back in Provo.

“It looks as brand new as it looked like in 1970 or whenever they built it,” Fraschilla said. “So I cannot wait to get to Provo because I know how great the fan base is. I’m excited about representing ESPN during Big 12 play.”

BYU basketball starter wants ESPN’s Jay Bilas to recognize the Marriott Center

Before practice on Thursday, BYU senior Spencer Johnson spoke to the media.

After the final question was asked, Johnson made it a point to send a message to ESPN analyst Jay Bilas. He wants Bilas to recognize the Marriott Center as one of the Top Five venues in college basketball.

“This one goes out to Jay Bilas,” Johnson said. “If you’re listening, I saw a video the other day. You put out the top five venues in the country. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Provo when we’re rockin’, but you’ve got to make it out to one of our games. Put us on your list, and mark it down: The ROC!”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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ESPN Analyst Fran Fraschilla On Where BYU’s Marriott Center Ranks In Big 12