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Hoops Attendance: Slowly coming around (Thank you, Big Ten opponents)

Attendance at the RAC had been pretty poor. But conference play seems to be changing things...a little.

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

The numbers aren't great but then neither is the product on the floor.

Prior to the start of the Big Ten schedule and the Northwestern game, the men were averaging 3,423 per game.  Plug in a couple of conference games, including the win against ttfp, and the average explodes to 4,846.  The conference average for those two games was a whopping 6,405.  By comparison, over a 20 game season in 2013-14, the men averaged 4,425.  The biggest draw was UConn in mid-January a year ago.

12/30/14 Northwestern 5,651 RAC L 51-47
1/3/15 Penn State 7,158 RAC W 50-46

On the women's side, facing several ranked teams (UNC, Tennessee) at home helped boost the attendance a bit. And the start of Big Ten play brought in the second largest crowd of the season as the team dropped its opener to Iowa.

1/4/15 Iowa * 2,542 RAC L 79-72

The women are averaging 2,125 per game through seven contests.  Over the 15 game 2013-14 season, the Fighting Stringers averaged just 1,649.  C. Viv does, according to some sources, have an attendance incentive in her contract.

Meanwhile, on Ashland Avenue.....

With its 8,117 seats, Northwestern boasts the 13th largest basketball arena in the Big Ten, just a few seats larger than...the 14th largest venue.  So let's see how the 'Cats are doing in attendance.  They, too, benefit when the Big Ten teams come to town.  But Northwestern's average before Big Ten play was over 6,000 per game.

With a non-con schedule that looked about as exciting as Rutgers', the Wildcats still drew a respectable number of fans to Welsh-Ryan Arena:

Opponent Attendance Result
Fri., Nov. 14 Houston Baptist 6,372 W, 65-58
Thu., Nov. 20 North Florida 5,783 W, 69-67
Sat., Nov. 22 Elon 6,315 W, 68-67 (OT)
Wed., Dec. 3 Georgia Tech 6,133 L, 66-58
Sun., Dec. 14 Mississippi Valley State 6,277 W, 101-49
Wed., Dec. 17 Central Michigan 5,820 L, 80-67
Sat., Dec. 20 Western Michigan 6,612 W, 67-61
Mon., Dec. 22 UIC 6,503 W, 63-46
Sat., Dec. 27 Northern Kentucky 6,650 W, 76-55
Sun., Jan. 4 Wisconsin * 8,117 L, 81-58