ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Lobo fans will claim Albuquerque is a serious basketball city. But a new ranking suggests Albuquerque is not a great place for hoops fans.
Locals have all seen the Pit packed with University of New Mexico Lobo pride. However, when it comes to basketball overall, turns out Albuquerque doesn’t score so well.
The crowds, the game, the Lobo die-hards; basketball fans in Albuquerque show dedication. With March Madness in full swing, WalletHub wanted to know which out of the biggest 300 cities are the best for basketball.
“We’re probably at least in the top 25, if not, top 10,” said Brian Sullivan, a Lobo fan. “I would say Albuquerque ranks probably like 10,” Sabrina Romero, UNM Student.
“I think we’re number one,” said Dan Montoya. But according to WalletHub’s report, Albuquerque doesn’t rank that high.
Way down on the list, Albuquerque ranks 201, out of the 300 cities.
“Wow, I can’t believe that,” said Brian Sullivan.
“Albuquerque 201, I don’t know if I’m buying that, 201, come on, they’re better than that,” said Bob Brown, ESPN Radio Host.
Brown doesn’t think the rank is fair. The list looks at things like number of NCAA and NBA teams, performance, and ticket prices.
Albuquerque only has the Lobos. While the team does win, they’ve yet to make it to a Sweet 16.
“I mean the Lobos have won a lot of tournaments here in the last several years, conference titles, tournament titles,” Brown explained.
However, WalletHub also looked at sports bars per-capita and twitter followers. Thousands of fans do engage on social media, but thousands more follow NBA teams.
To Albuquerque’s advantage, the Pit makes games accessible. So even though the Duke City didn’t slam dunk on this list, basketball lovers in Albuquerque know where they stand.
“Every time I go to the game, the rows are just filled up with a lot of fans, and you just see the students go crazy too,” said Romero.
“I mean this is a basketball town, there’s no two ways about it,” said Brown.
Las Cruces is way up on the list at 61st. Cruces is much smaller than Albuquerque, but has more sports bars per capita. The Aggies have gone farther in the NCAA tournament than the Lobos ever have, and they have much lower ticket prices.
Among the top three basketball cities on the list are tiny Storrs Connecticut at number one, the home of UConn is also the home of 13 national championships in mens’ and women’s hoops.
Number two is Chapel Hill North Carolina, home of the Tar Heels, a small basketball-crazed college town. Then comes San Antonio, where the Spurs have won five NBA titles in the past 15 years.