The time has come for a new chapter in Ole Miss hoops history, and that chapter begins on the swanky new sticks housed in The Pavilion at Ole Miss, a 225,000-square feet state-of-the-art arena featuring the "largest center-hung video display board in college sports."
Athletics Director Ross Bjork and then-Chancellor Dan Jones broke ground on The Pavilion back on July 31, 2014, and a year and a half and $96.5 million later, the Basketbears are taking their maiden voyage aboard the new vessel Thursday night, when they host Alabama at 8 p.m. CT.
Let's learn a bit more about Andy Kennedy's new digs.
There are more seats, but not that many more
The Pavilion seats 9,500 people, a pronounced increase from the Tad Pad's (RIP) 8,700. Even still, the new seating increase is just 13th largest in the SEC, moving ahead of Auburn Arena (9,121). Georgia's Stegeman Coliseum is 12th with a capacity of 10,523. Basketball at Ole Miss has always been an intimate affair, though, so watching the hoops teams throw down in the conference's newest facilities with 9,500 of your best friends sounds like a perfect way to ring in the new year.
Tell me more about this giant LED display
Ole Miss worked with Daktronics to design, manufacture and install the largest center-hung video display board in college sports with nearly 2,400 square feet of LED. The center-hung configuration will consist of 13 video displays for a total of more than 3.6 million LEDs. It includes four main video displays, two undermount video displays, four corner displays and three 360-degree rings.
2,400 square feet is approximately twice the size of many college apartments. That's a lotta LED.
Just to give you a nice perspective of how big this thing is... @Sowers_Steve is 6 feet 5 inches tall.... pic.twitter.com/061Prn8KTC— Paris Buchanan (@paris_buchanan) January 6, 2016
There's plenty of food
If you're hungry, The Pavilion features a Steak 'n Shake, Old Venice Pizza, and a Raising Cane's, notwithstanding Steven Godfrey's voodoo concerns about this last.
@38Godfrey We exercised those curses last week in New Orleans. It's all good.— Ross Bjork (@RossBjorkAD) January 5, 2016
Concessions stands have also been doubled from what they were in the Tad Pad.
There's a damn t-shirt cannon
Should Raising Cane's juju or any other malevolent force invade the space, it'll have to meet with THE PAVILIONATOR.
We would like to welcome our new friend "The Pavilionator"! Snag a shirt starting Thursday! Thanks Oxford T-Shirt! pic.twitter.com/yGQUnlBxon— Ole Miss Basketball (@OleMissMBB) January 5, 2016
That's some hefty t-shirt artillery.
Amenities and more amenities
- 133 percent more restrooms than the Tad Pad
- C-Spire-fueled wifi internet that's supposedly lightning quick
- A dedicated locker room store to pick up all your Rebel swag
- The concession stands accept Apple Pay
Have the teams practiced in there yet?
The men's and women's teams held their first shoot around in The Pavilion Monday -- well documented here by Joshua McCoy -- and it would appear the building's mojo is humming hot and loose.
For the record, the first ever player shot in The Pavilion at Ole Miss was a made Rasheed Brooks fadeaway 3-pointer.— Kory Keys (@KoryKeys) January 4, 2016
Also for the record: Both Andy Kennedy and Stefan Moody made their first shots in The Pavilion, as well.— Kory Keys (@KoryKeys) January 4, 2016
Andy Kennedy is very excited about it
The best part is around the six minute mark when he talks about how they avoided taking croots to the Tad Pad.
Honestly, we didn't bring many guys in there ... We didn't go in there a lot, talk about it a lot. Since we've had the Tuhoy Center... that's kind of where we stayed. We talked about this is where you're gonna be day-in, day-out. We're gonna go over there and play the games and it doesn't really matter where you play the games. We took that approach.
We'll have more recruits at Thursday and Saturday than we've had a single game since I've been here.
Photos and videos of the construction process
Opening night at the Pavilion has been a long time in the making. Check out this 2-year long time-lapse. #hottytoddy pic.twitter.com/ZqFe70UgSF— Ole Miss Photography (@olemissphoto) January 7, 2016
Associate Media Relations Director Daniel Snowden treated us to some great before and after shots of The Pavilion's construction process.
Ross Bjork signing a steel beam:
Interior in skeletal stages:
Main facade in skeletal stage:
Roofing is hard work:
Do the media have accommodations? So glad you asked: