If you’ve ever been a fan of college basketball, then you know all about the Northwestern Wildcats. This team has played some of the most intense games of basketball in the NCAA. With highlight reels plays and breathtaking moments, it’s the kind of basketball that true fans want to see. But this wild team plays their best games from their home at Welsh Ryan Arena. So it’s easy to miss out on the fun when the Northwestern Wildcats come home.
But we make it easy to keep tabs on upcoming battles at the arena. And we make it even easier to book all the tickets you need for you and your family and friends. Never miss out on the best Wildcats basketball action around and bookmark this site.
About Welsh-Ryan Arena
The Northwestern Wildcats basketball teams play their home games out of Welsh-Ryan Arena. The arena is a 7,039 seat arena in Evanston, Illinois near the campus of Northwestern University. It is home to the university’s men’s and women’s basketball teams as well as the university volleyball and wrestling programs.
The building first opened in 1952 to replace Patten Gymnasium. And it quickly became famous especially after hosting the Final Four for the 1956 NCAA Division I Men’s basketball tournament. The arena was later renovated in the 1980s and then once again in late 2018.
For most of its history, Welsh-Ryan Arena was the smallest arena in the Big Ten Conference, and was the only conference facility that didn’t seat at least 10,000.
The facility, McGaw Memorial Hall, was built with help from Foster G. McGaw, a Northwestern University trustee and donor. The building was named in memory of McGaw’s father, Francis A. McGaw who was a Presbyterian minister and missionary. The venue was built with a capacity of 13,000 making it one of the three largest auditoriums in Chicago at the time. It was built with several noteworthy features including a lighting system with 180 mercury vapor lights in an attempt to simulate real sunlight.
The first set of renovations, in 1983 updated the venue. And the main arena was renamed Welsh-Ryan Arena in honor of the project’s principal donor. The McGaw name was given to a practice facility within facility that was later redesigned in the 90s to be appropriate for basketball and volleyball practice.
The most recent renovation came in 2016, when the university announced a $110 million arena renovation plan. This led to the university’s teams being displaced for the 2017-18 year, with the basketball teams playing out of Evanston Township High School’s Beardsley Gym. The capacity for the new venue was reduced to 7,039 by replacing the bleachers with chairback seats. In addition, wider concourses, balconies behind the baskets, and suits were added
Basketball Team Summary
The Northwestern Wildcats basketball teams play in the NCAA Division I level in the Big Ten Conference. The men’s basketball program was first introduced in 1901. Over the course of the team’s existence they have advanced to the NCAA tournament once after being the only team in the Power Five conference to have never made the tournament. However, the team has won two conference championships in the Big Ten conference.
Historically, the team struggled while in the Big Ten Conference despite being successful in the early 20th century. In fact, since WWII, the team was often stuck in the bottom half of the Big Ten. The team was retroactively selected as the 1930-31 national champion and they’ve only won one other conference title.
The team didn’t have a winning record from 1968-2017 with only the 2003-04 team managing to come away with a .500 conference record. But then, on Marhc 1, 2017, the Wildcats won their 10th conference game to a 67-65 win over Michigan which clinched their first winning Big Ten record in almost half a century. The season saw the Wildcats reach their first NCAA Tournament in school history, and they won their first NCAA tournament game against Vanderbilt 68-66. The team did make it to the National Invitation Tournament seven times (1983, 1994, 1999, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012).