On Wednesday afternoon, the NCAA released an attendance report for the 2012-2013 season, and if you needed another example of why Kentucky fans are undoubtedly the most passionate in the country, you’ve got it.
In the most disappointing season in recent memory for the Wildcats, Big Blue Nation still managed to lead the country in per-game attendance, playing an average of 23,099 rear ends in Rupp Arena seats last year. That happened during a season where Kentucky was bounced in the first round of the NIT and, for the last three months of the season, a non-factor nationally.
Here’s your top five programs in terms of attendance, none of which should really come as a surprise:
- 1. Kentucky: 23,099
- 2. Syracuse: 22,439
- 3. Louisville: 21,571
- 4. North Carolina: 19,350
- 5. Indiana: 17,412
What may come as a surprise to casual college hoops fans is that Creighton came in sixth in the nation in attendance in 2012-2013, drawing 17,155 fans per game. The good folks of Omaha, NE, really care about their hoops. That’s a major reason why the Bluejays were picked to join the new Big East this offseason. Well, that and Doug McDermott.
A couple of other notes from the report:
- Realignment has made categorizing the leagues a nightmare, but for simplicity’s sake, the schools with the highest attendance outside the five BCS football leagues: Creighton (17,155), Memphis (16,336), BYU (15,986), UNLV (15,196), New Mexico (15,022).
- Duke is all the way down at 47th, behind the likes of Wake Forest, Nebraska, Texas, Alabama and Vanderbilt, but that has everything to do with the fact that Cameron Indoor Stadium only seats 9,314 people. Duke’s average attendance last season? 9,314.
- 28 programs averaged less than 1,00 fans per game. The most surprising? Boston University, which actually has a pretty strong hoops program. The five schools with the lowest average attendance: NJIT (489), Colgate (496), Fairleigh Dickinson (574), New Orleans (579), St. Francis (NY) (582)
- The five-lowest attendance figures for teams from the major conferences: USC (4,243), Boston College (4,244), Stanford (4,350), Oregon St. (4,784), TCU (4,854). If you want to include all of the AAC into the conversation, these three schools jump into the mix: Houston (3,707), UCF (4,523), SMU (3,443).
- Just missing the cut in the five-lowest attendance BCS conference programs: Oregon State. Do the math, and four of the six worst drawing major conference programs come from the Pac-12.
- The top ten conferences in terms of attendance look like this:
One thing to remember here: these attendance numbers are based on what the reported number of tickets sold are, not how many people attend each game. For example, DePaul reported their attendance as 7,938 last season, but according to ChicagoBusiness.com, they actually got 2,610 fans per game.
That’s a big difference.
As Missouri Valley Conference player of the year Clayton Custer came off the floor after Loyola earned its spot in the Elite Eight after beating Nevada, he had to make a quick apology.
He had to tell the Ramblers’ star fan Sister Jean he was sorry. She, of course, had picked Loyola’s Cinderella run to end in the Sweet 16 in her bracket before the start of the tournament.
The apology was quickly accepted.
“I said I don’t care that you broke my bracket,” Sister Jean said. “I’m ready for the next one.
“For a nice little school like ours, we are just so proud of them.”
Historically known as a team that lived and died with the three-ball, No. 3-seed Michigan had spent the first weekend of the NCAA tournament proving history wrong.
In an ugly game in their opener against Montana, the Wolverines shot 5-for-16 from three while turning the ball over 14 times and managing a measly 61 points. Against Houston in the second round, Michigan shot 8-for-30 from beyond the arc, with one of those threes coming courtesy of Jordan Poole at the buzzer, sending the Wolverines into the Sweet 16 with a 64-63 win.
Put another way, Michigan looked the part of the defensive grinder that they turned into this season.
Against No. 7-seed Texas A&M in the Sweet 16, however, the Wolverines turned into the Golden State Warriors.
Michigan bested the number of three that they had made in the tournament to date, hitting 14-of-24 bombs while shooting 62 percent from the floor in a 99-72 win over an Aggies team that had finally, for the first time since November, looked the part of the SEC title contender that they have the talent to be.
Loyola is in the Elite Eight.
The Ramblers’ dream run through March continued Thursday as they knocked off No. 7 Nevada, 69-68, in South Region semifinal in Atlanta.
Loyola, an 11th seed making its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1985, will play the winner of Kansas State and Kentucky on Sunday for a chance to return to the Final Four for the first time since it won the 1963 national championship.
Marques Townes hit a 3-pointer with under 10 seconds to play to put the Ramblers up four and put the game all but out of reach for Nevada. Townes finished with 18 points while Clayton Custer had 15. Loyola shot 55.8 percent from the floor for the game.
The Wolf Pack’s Caleb Martin had 21 points while Jordan Caroline had 19. Nevada shot 41.4 percent from the floor.
Nevada looked like it may overwhelm Loyola early as it built a 12-point lead less than seven minutes into the game. The Ramblers, though, struck back by keeping the Wolf Pack off the board for nearly the last 8 minutes of the first half to take a four-point lead into the break.
The strong play considered on the other side of halftime for Loyola, which astonishingly made its first 13 shots of the second half. Still, despite the perfect start, the Ramblers only briefly took a double-digit lead before Nevada sliced it back down below 10.
Loyola’s inability to build a substantial lead came back to bite it as Nevada, the comeback kids of this tournament, mounted its attack on the deficit and had it erased before the under-four timeout, setting up the final frantic minutes of a battle for a spot in the Elite Eight that the Ramblers claimed thanks to Townes’ late triple.
NBC Sports went into Times Square this week to ask basketball fans for their Sweet 16 picks.
The only problem?
The teams in the games are not actually playing in the NCAA Tournament.
They aren’t even actually teams.
Bruce Brown wants to hear what the NBA has to say.
The Miami sophomore has declared for the draft but will not hire an agent, the school announced Thursday.
The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 11.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game during his second season with the Hurricanes. He did, though, see his shooting numbers take a tumble compared to his freshman season with his field goal percentage down from 45.9 to 41.5 percent and his 3-point shoot go from 34.7 to 26.7 percent. There’s also the matter of a foot injury that required surgery and kept him off the floor for the ‘Canes’ last 12 games.
By declaring for the draft, Brown can get in front of NBA teams, who will likely take a very close look at his shooting mechanics after that sophomore season downturn. It will also be an opportunity for him to build up his reputation in the professional ranks after spending much of his sophomore season injured.