With a few exceptions, attendance for the largest NCAA Division I men’s basketball programs is pretty stable. The schools with the highest per-game attendance for the 2013-14 season were generally the same schools who have been leading in attendance for years.
We wondered which fans got the most bang for the buck, measured by wins, with a twist – conference tournament wins counted double, and NCAA tournament wins counted triple. Which group do you think was happier last year: Tennessee fans, who saw their team win just 24 regular season games but nearly make the Final Four, or Syracuse fans, who watched 28 regular season wins but a loss in their first ACC tournament game and a second-round exit from the NCAAs?
The 2014 winner, by this reckoning, were Michigan fans. Their per-game attendance was half of No. 1 Syracuse, but the Wolverines treated their fans to 28 regular season wins, 2 more in the Big Ten tournament and another 3 in the NCAAs.
A few other notes:
· Syracuse unseated Kentucky, which had the nation’s highest per-game attendance since 2006, with the help of two big factors: This was Syracuse’s first season in the ACC, and the Orange reeled off 25 straight wins to start the season.
· Creighton has been on the top 25 list since 2006, but its three-year run in the top 10 matched the ascendance of its star, Doug McDermott, the nation’s leading scorer this past year and a lottery draft pick by the NBA’s Chicago Bulls.
· The Big Ten dominates the top attendance list. Nine Big Ten schools – Indiana, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Purdue and Michigan – make the top 25. The ACC (Syracuse, North Carolina, North Carolina State) and the SEC (Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas) are the only other conferences with more than two schools on the list.
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