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Where Should Cincinnati Play Home Games During Fifth Third’s Renovations?

Analyzing three legitimate and one out there (literally) candidates to house Cincinnati basketball for the 2016-17 season.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

When news broke this week that Cincinnati Gardens would be sold and torn down, it whittled down the list of possible temporary homes for Cincinnati basketball during the renovation of Fifth Third Arena.

As FOX 19’s Jeremy Rauch tweeted, the three remaining contenders are US Bank Arena, BB&T Arena and the Cintas Center. But which one of the three makes the most sense?

U.S. Bank Arena

This is your leader in the clubhouse. The Bank, formerly Riverfront Coliseum, is nestled right along the Ohio River and is just a 10-minute car ride (or hour-long walk if you’re into that sort of thing) away from Cincinnati’s campus. The arena's capacity for basketball is 17,000, which is a bit larger than UC is used to, as Fifth Third holds a hair more than 13,000 fans as currently constructed.

Not only do the location and capacity (for the most part) line up, but there is the added bonus of history between the venue and the Bearcats. From 1976 to 1987, Riverfront Coliseum was the home of Cincinnati basketball and the program is 115-50 all-time at the venue.

The arena currently houses the Cincinati Cyclones of the East Coast Hockey League, but it has had UC as a guest since Fifth Third became the Bearcats’ official home, including the 2013 rendition of the Crosstown Rivalry.

BB&T Arena

This is actually the home of the Northern Kentucky Norse and outside the state lines of Ohio. This is a smaller venue than UC is used to playing in, as it holds 9,400 for basketball games. While just a 15-minute drive from UC, it does not feature a particularly easy public transportation route from the school and that distance could very well hurt attendance (at least student attendance). Plus, there's the whole

Cintas Center

Nope. Just not at all possible. Who cares if it seats 10,250 people, is just a 10-minute drive from Clifton and is used to hosting basketball games? This just shouldn't be considered. No one wants to be the New York Jets.

Nippert Stadium

If the NHL can make people sit in the cold and watch hockey in a football stadium, why couldn't UC wrangle up some folks to watch the Bearcats play on a court that also has to deal with the elements? From where I sit, adding in chilling temperatures, wind, rain and snow would only enhance Cincinnati's ability to strangle opposing teams offensively.

From this in-depth (read: cursory and largely biased) examination, it seems clear that U.S. Bank Arena should get the gig. We'll have to wait until next spring to get a definitive answer, as the major construction on Fifth Third will not begin until 2017.