1. Raised Court
A unique feature of Williams Arena is that it is one of the only NCAA Division 1 basketball arenas with a raised floor. The raised floor sits approximately two feet above the ground, which results in the players’ benches and the scoring table being below the court. During play only players in the game, officials, and head coaches are allowed on the raised floor. The raised floor is iconic and something that every big-time college basketball fan should see for him or herself.
2. Free Throws
Before each Gopher free throw attempt, the student section claps their hands and then extends their arms and wiggle their fingers until the player shoots. To celebrate the making of a basket, the students bring their arms down and cheer woosh. If the player makes both free throws then the fans do two whooshes and chant U of M. In the odd occasion that the player shoots and makes three free throws then, the fans do three whooshes and chant University of Minnesota. Join in on this tradition to get the most out of your Gopher basketball gameday experience.
3. Retired Number Banners
Each end of Williams Arena features retired numbers of some of the greatest players in Gophers basketball history. One end features legends from the men’s team such as Kevin McHale and Dave Winfield, while the other end has the retired numbers for the women’s program including two-time WNBA champion Lindsay Whalen. Be sure to check these out if attending a game at The Barn.
4. Goldy Gopher
The Gophers critically acclaimed mascot is one of the most famous mascots in college sports. Goldy has been named the UCA National Champion twice, having won in both 2011 and 2013. Goldy’s signature move is the ability to spin his head, which is a sure-fire way to rile up the crowd and inspire the team. Watch for Goldy to put on quite the show when attending a Gophers game.
5. Hail! Minnesota
After every game, the band plays school’s alma mater, “Hail! Minnesota.” This tradition is a great way to show off your Minnesota pride as well as an excellent way to build a sense of community with your fellow fans. Be sure to learn the words to “Hail! Minnesota,” so you can take part in this outstanding tradition.
This slogan originating in 1894 is used to cheer on the Gopher football team and can be found in several of the university’s fight songs including the “Minnesota Rouser,” “Go Gopher Victory,” and “Minnesota March.” When attending a Gopher game you’ll be sure to hear this a lot, so don’t be afraid to join in on the cheer.
7. Minnesota Rouser
The Rouser is one of the most famous fight songs in college basketball and a sure fire way to get Gopher fans pumped up and ready to cheer on their team. The song is played several times throughout the game, so don’t worry if you miss it the firs time. When attending a Gophers game come prepared to belt out M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A.
8. The Barnyard
The Barnyard is the name of the Minnesota student section and is home to some of the loudest and most passionate fans in Williams Arena. One thing that makes the Barnyard special is the fact that the fans here dress up as barnyard animals to cheer on their team. If you want to sit with the wildest fans at the game and don’t mind dressing up like a cow or pig, then the barnyard is the place for you.
9. Arched Roof
The arched roof at Williams Arena also contributes to making it one of the most iconic and unique arenas in all of college basketball. The roof is similar to that of an airplane hangar and allows the arena plenty of open space for the court and bleachers. The roof also contributes to The Barn’s unique acoustics, which allow for the place to get especially loud when the Gophers go on a run. If you’re a college basketball enthusiast than a visit to Williams Arena is a must.
Williams Arena has been the site of both the men’s and women’s NCAA Division 1 Basketball Tournaments on several occasions. It was the home of the men’s final in 1951 and the Mideast Regional in 1964. The Barn has also served as first and second round site of the women’s tournament on a fairly regular basis with the most recent appearance occurring in 2010. Whether attending a Gophers game or a NCAA tournament game Williams Arena is always an outstanding college basketball venue.