Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Cards WBB home attendance 4th in nation -- Wednesday Cardinal Couple
CARDS WBB Drawing 8926 per game
The University of Louisville continues to be a top-five draw for women's basketball in the NCAA D1 ranks. Through seven games and a non-conference schedule that has featured only two top 25 teams, Walz and the Cards are pulling in 8926 per game.
That number was boosted by the 14862 that hit the seats Sunday for the Kentucky visit. Before UK, the Cards had drawn over 8,000 twice...for Ball State and WKU.
Louisville's 8926 is fourth highest currently in NCAA WBB attendance. Here's the top six so far:
South Carolina 9964
Iowa St. 9336
Notre Dame 8750
The numbers are a bit surprising. South Carolina did not make the top five last year in attendance. Dawn Staley (or is it A'ja Wilson?) has sparked a newfound level of support for the Gamecocks. That'll only increase when SC starts battling conference foes like Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia.
Iowa St. finished second last year and holds second so far this year. Al Greener, the affable UofL pep band director and Iowa native, explained to me the large draw for a program that seldom sees the top 25 rankings.
Girls basketball on the high school level is immensely popular in the Hawkeye state. It often outdraws the boys' games and this spills over to supporting the three major university women's basketball teams. The other major universities in Iowa don't do too badly either. Iowa averages 4342 per home game, Northern Iowa draws 2172 a contest and Creighton brings in 1113 per tilt.
Tennessee is third currently with 9219 hitting the seats for home contests. This is a bit down so far from the 11038 that led the nation last year. Those numbers will undoubtedly rise when Holly's Volunteers start SEC play.
At fifth is Notre Dame, barely trailing the Cards with 8760. They recently faced Maryland in Fort Wayne on the IPFW campus and drew almost 10,000 at the neutral site. The ACC schedule will keep the Joyce Center seats filled. Attendance is slightly up from last year's 8694.
Connecticut bears mentioning as well. Geno's Huskies have two arenas they frequent...on campus in Storrs and the XL Center in Hartford. They seat 7123 so far when they're the home team. The AAC schedule probably won't add much to those numbers. UConn brought in 8313 last year.
Will the Cards be able to consistently draw 8,000 the rest of
the way in home affairs? ODU and Evansville, the next two home opponents, won't get many more than 8,000 in the KFC YUM! Center...if that. Monday night games...
The ACC schedule should pack the red and black wearers in.
Georgia Tech, NC State, Virginia, Miami, Syracuse, Pitt, UNC, and Boston College will all visit Denny Crum Court. Four during the week night games and four Sunday contests.
Having Duke and Notre Dame at home would help boost the numbers...but these are road trips for Walz's troops.
What does Louisville need to do to lead the nation in women's basketball attendance? Besides suiting up Shoni and Angel again? Here's one man's opinion:
Our student attendance for WBB is lacking. Maybe a cheap or free attendance with ID in a good section would get the collegians off campus and in the YUM! Promotional draws like free t-shirts, hoodies, discounted food prices and drawings or contests for the undergrads with quality prizes couldn't hurt. Free bus shuttles to and from campus. A mid-court shot chance with maybe a car or free year's tuition on the line. Opening one of the "rooms" inside the YUM! for a college pre-game tailgate party?
8926 isn't bad. 300+ D1 schools would die for their women's basketball programs to be doing so well. Let's get some more rowdy college kids in the KFC YUM! Center, though...to create an even more deafening greeting for the Cardinals' opponents.