Big 12 M5: 02.19.16 Edition

Posted by Nate Kotisso on February 19th, 2016


  1. The Flint Water Crisis is an American tragedy that ties in one very important member of the Iowa State basketball team. Monte Morris, a Flint native, cannot be with his family in one of the city’s darkest hours but help is indeed on the way. His school announced on Wednesday that Des Moines-based grocer Hy-Vee will send 11 semi-trailers (Monte’s jersey number) worth of water gallons and bottled water to Flint. Those trucks left Des Moines yesterday and will hopefully make it to Flint a bit later today to provide some much-needed relief.
  2. In not-so-life-threatening Iowa State-related news, the Cyclones held a players-only meeting on Thursday. If you’ve watched enough sports, you know players-only meetings typically aren’t held when things are going well. Steve Prohm’s team was expected to challenge Kansas for a Big 12 title, and while the Jayhawks have kept up their end of the bargain, Iowa State has sputtered in the last two-plus weeks. They are a sixth place team in the Big 12 right now, so we’ll see if the Cyclones can finish the regular season strong after their clear-the-air meeting.
  3. For those of us who are familiar with Big 12 basketball history, we must arrive at a consensus that many of us did not consider to be possible. Here is that reality: Baylor has become a basketball school. The Bears’ postseason success over the last eight years is better than any other Big 12 program other than Kansas. While we know this, does the city of Waco know this? The Waco Tribune-Herald tried to get at the heart of this problem. Last season, the Ferrell Center averaged 6,650 fans per game, good enough for eighth in the 10-team Big 12. That average was an attendance number fewer than such “powers” as Ohio, Old Dominion, Weber State and Penn State. As the Bears completed a season sweep of Iowa State earlier this week, only 5,556 people were in the building to witness it. This is as much confusing as it is nonsensical.
  4. Texas Tech basketball is back. Wednesday’s takedown of Oklahoma was definitely the school’s first reintroduction to the country since Bob Knight retired from the job eight years ago. And they’re doing this with yet another national championship-winning coach in Tubby Smith. While I didn’t doubt that Tubby would be able to make the team competitive, I wasn’t so sure it would happen by his third year. Then again, Tubby’s got different ideas. “We’re not overachieving, fellows,” Smith said to his team after Wednesday’s win. “This is where we belong.” With his Red Raiders picked to finish dead last in the Big 12’s preseason rankings, Smith is pretty much a shoo-in to take home Big 12 Coach of the Year honors. At least for now.
  5. It’s Sunflower Showdown hate week and, this might surprise you, but one side of this rivalry isn’t happy with the other. Brannen Greene‘s last-second dunk in the previous matchup is definitely on the minds of Kansas State players, especially senior Justin Edwards. Beyond this being a rivalry game, the Wildcats need to win at home to keep themselves in the NCAA Tournament at-large conversation. The Wildcats are 4-9 in the conference, so while it’s easy to assume strong emotions will be present on the K-State sideline, will the effort be there as well?
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Pac-12 Burning Questions: Where are the Fans?

Posted by Andrew Murawa on November 20th, 2015

Arizona head coach Sean Miller called out UCLA this week for its poor attendance at games in Pauley Pavilion. But with only a very few exceptions, lack of attendance at basketball games has been a concern at schools up and down the conference. What kind of impact does this have on the overall health of a basketball program? And what can be done to fix it?

Fan Support At McKale Center Is The Gold Standard In The Pac-12 (Daily Wildcat)

Fan Support At McKale Center Is The Gold Standard In The Pac-12 (Daily Wildcat)

Adam Butler: There’s a lot of layers to this onion. There’s the #HotTake and the presumed “shade” thrown by Sean Miller. Reading between the lines we can also see that Steve Alford had a retort. That’s the fun stuff. I called it feed for the news cycle monster. But Drew’s question here doesn’t really address that fun matter (and it shouldn’t because it’s really not worth it). What I want to explore is attendance as a matter of conference health. As the question notes, the Pac-12 has seen declining average attendance in each of the past three seasons, with the abysmal 2011-12 season having the worst average attendance of any Pac-12 season (7,054 per game). Yet here we are, one season removed from three Sweet Sixteen teams and touting four ranked teams for the first time since the week of January 21, 2008. That’s five seasons of three or fewer ranked teams. And sure it’s early — and no doubt attendance is growing — but in this chicken-or-egg conversation I’m drawn to ask what attendance really means? Literally, attendance is the number of people that go to a game. But over time, attendance has come to be synonymous with popularity. And that’s simply inaccurate. It’s 2015 and we have page views and clicks and impressions. They just played a damn Pac-12 game in China! Games can be streamed on phones, tablets and desktops. Blogs like (wink face emoji) and this microsite can cover the sport at more intimate levels than national publishers that maybe, perhaps chop unique sports voices (cough, Grantland, cough). Miller’s comments aren’t wrong; he even noted that a screaming McKale is what we think of when we imagine college basketball. He’s absolutely right. But let’s not be so quick to dismiss the conference’s popularity because there aren’t as many butts in the seats. Read the rest of this entry »

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Home Sweet Home: A Look Back At Home Court Advantage in the SEC

Posted by Brian Joyce on May 23rd, 2012

John Calipari and his Kentucky Wildcats ended its traditional rivalry with Indiana this offseason because of squabbles over where the game would be played in future years. But as a whole, the SEC should strive to play at home if it is seeking victories. That is the goal, after all? While Kentucky’s stated goal is to prepare itself for the NCAA Tournament while playing in large neutral site arenas to simulate the experience of the Big Dance, the Wildcats and the rest of the SEC did very well in the comforts of home during the 2011-12 season. The NCAA released 2011-12 men’s basketball attendance numbers a couple of weeks ago, and the SEC was amongst the leaders. All twelve SEC teams finished in the  top 100 of men’s Division I attendance. Below is how each SEC team ranked in terms of overall attendance:

NCAA 2011-12 Rank





Rupp Arena



Thompson Boling Arena



Memorial Gymnasium



Bud Walton Arena



Coleman Coliseum



Stephen C. O’Connell Center


South Carolina

Colonial Life Arena


Louisiana State

Pete Maravich Assembly Center


Mississippi State

Humphrey Coliseum



Stegeman Coliseum



Auburn Arena


Ole Miss

Tad Smith Coliseum

But as we all know, size matters, and some venues are larger than others. I broke each attendance figure down into the percentage of capacity filled over the course of the season:


2011-12 attendance

Venue capacity


























South Carolina




Louisiana State




Mississippi State












Ole Miss




Some notes thus far:

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Morning Five: 05.11.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on May 11th, 2012

  1. One of the last remaining longtime traditions in Division I college basketball will stay intact with the news released Thursday that the venerable Ivy League will keep its automatic NCAA Tournament bid reserved for its regular season champion. The league had been bouncing around the idea of adding a conference tournament (as every other D-I league has now done) in pursuit of the marquee ESPN broadcast slot during Championship Week and obvious revenue boost. Reasonable minds prevailed this time — after all, the Ivies aren’t exactly hurting for dollars — but Dartmouth was so angry about the decision that the boys from East Hanover are reportedly contemplating a move to replace Butler in the Horizon League.
  2. The NCAA is a tradition-rich organization, but in recent years we have to give them credit for exploring ways to make the NCAA Tournament on its 75th anniversary more fan-friendly. Their latest idea to move both the D-II and D-III championships to the same location as the Final Four (Atlanta in 2013) is a good one. The Sunday between the Final Four and National Championship game is a long, empty one for college basketball junkies, so adding another element of competitive hoops to help fill the time will without question be a success. On the same topic, if you’re interested in leading the direction of the NCAA Tournament for years to come, they’re now accepting applications for the VP of the men’s and women’s tournaments. We’re sure that they’ll get a surplus of strong candidates, but if you care about the future of the best event in all of sports (and we know you do), get creative and throw an app their way.
  3. We’re written about this topic so many times that we’re frankly just exhausted thinking about it any more. But on Thursday the NBA Player’s Association responded to NBA commissioner David Stern’s prior comments about the NBA Draft eligibility rule — colloquially known as the 1-and-done rule — and in summation, they want something in return for raising the age to 20 years old. In other breaking news, water is wet, the sun shines, and gay North Carolinians still can’t marry each other. Snark aside, the NBAPA seeks an increased rookie pay scale and some kind of incentive system for players who stay in school longer, with the argument being that 18- and 19-year olds are giving up two prime wage-earning years if they’re not allowed to play on bad teams mired in the draft lottery. The reasons are obvious why such an increase is good for the NBA, for college basketball, and for the players themselves, but if you’re really interested, here’s our missive on the topic from a couple of years ago.
  4. We all heard a couple of nights ago about the NCAA taking a closer look at the eligibility of Nerlens Noel before he heads off to Kentucky later this summer, another stark example of a player with a coterie of followers surrounding him that may or may not have his collegiate eligibility at the forefront of their minds. In a well-argued piece, Jeff Borzello at writes that the NCAA/Noel situation is simply another in a long and ongoing string of inquiries that the governing organization must deal with in an era where so many people handling/helping/assisting/counseling/advising elite prospects are difficult to track. “Nearly every high-major recruit could fit in that category,” he writes, and fans of schools who recruit elite players really should give up the persecution act and recognize that the system of AAU basketball combined with a 1-and-done mentality has created this particular, unfortunate reality.
  5. The NCAA released its attendance figures for the 2011-12 season yesterday, and there were a few notable tidbits from last season’s action. John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats set a new record for total attendance in a single season (including home, road, and neutral games), with 885,953 fans watching the team over its 40 games. This total defeated a 23-year old record by 1989 Syracuse, when 855,053 fans over 38 games watched the Orangemen led by Sherman Douglas and Derrick Coleman rumble to an Elite Eight finish. The usual suspects remained as the top home crowds (#1 Kentucky, #2 Syracuse, #3 Louisville, #4 UNC), but the biggest year-over-year increase last season belonged to Creighton, who, with All-American sophomore Doug McDermott as a draw, added over 3,000 more fans per contest at home in 2011-12. For all the numbers, check out the NCAA’s report here.
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Considering the Big 12 Underachievers

Posted by cwilliams on December 27th, 2011

Last week I discussed the overachievers of this early Big 12 season. It was a cheery, sunshine-laced post, discussing players who are playing above and beyond their expectations so far this season. Today, we conquer the inevitable, and discuss the teams and players who have underperformed for their team so far this season. The good news? There is still plenty of time to make amends.

Oklahoma State: With the addition of freshmen sensation Le’Bryan Nash and Cezar Guerrero, plus the senior leadership of floor general Keiton Page, the Cowboys were expected to compete for an NCAA Tournament bid this season. So far, they have shown no signs of meeting those expectations. Eleven games into the season, the Cowboys already have five losses. While none of these losses have come against mid-majors, what is truly worrisome about the Cowboys is their abysmal team field goal percentage, 41.2%, which ranks 260th in the country. True, in some games, the shots just don’t fall. But to shoot this poorly in every game is troublesome, and with conference play looming, the Cowboys need to get their act together if they want any shot at postseason glory this year.

Tyshawn Taylor Has Must Get His TO Problem Under Control

Tyshawn Taylor’s Turnover Problem: It would be unfair to say Tyshawn is having a poor season. He’s averaging 15.3 points per game, and has gotten to the charity stripe more than anyone else in the Big 12. But his knack for turning the ball over was most recently apparent in Kansas’s loss last week to Davidson, a game where Taylor turned the ball over five times. He also miscued the ball seven times against Ohio State and 11 times against Duke earlier this season. What is even more surprising is that two years ago Taylor averaged just 1.7 turnovers per game, while this season, his turnover rate is at 4.2 per game. Taylor will need to reclaim his ball control before conference play starts in earnest if Kansas expects to make another deep run in March.

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Big 12 Morning Five: 11.02.11 Edition

Posted by cwilliams on November 2nd, 2011

  1. The New York Times reported on Monday that West Virginia is suing the Big East so that they may join the Big 12 for the 2012-13 athletic calendar. The schools cites that the Big East “breached its fiduciary duty by failing to maintain a balance between football-playing and nonfootball members.” Conference realignment has shown the dark side of college athletics, whether it be through lawsuits, political interventions, or questionable financial moves. It is funny to me, however, that somebody would sue somebody else just to join a conference that nearly everyone has written off as a “sinking ship.”
  2. The San Jose Mercury News has an article determining the winners and losers of conference realignment thus far. They list Big 12 under the “winners” category, a decision that would have been highly criticized a month ago. The article goes on to explain that other than Cornhusker football, Nebraska and Colorado did not bring much to the Big 12, especially in terms of basketball. This is what is known as “addition by subtraction.”
  3. In more Mountaineer news, the West Virginia Metro News discusses what does and what should excite West Virginia fans the most about joining the Big 12. It does not focus strictly on basketball, but it does bring up some great benefits of being a member of the Big 12, such as well-renowned opposing coaches, on-campus basketball arenas, and my personal favorite, road trips to Austin, Texas.
  4. I’ll admit it, I’m a sports economics nerd. That’s why I’m including this Yahoo! Sports article. It reveals the rankings of average game attendance per conference, and leading the list is the Big Ten with 12,836 fans per game last season. The Big 12 ranks fourth, behind the Big Ten, Big East, and the SEC, with 10,716 fans per game. These numbers might surprise you, but remember that the Big 12’s attendance leader is Kansas with 16,436 fans per game at Allen Fieldhouse which represents 100% capacity. The SEC has arenas like Rupp Arena and Thompson-Boling Arena, both of which hold over 20,000 fans, while the Big East has the Carrier Dome, which has a 34,000+ capacity.
  5. has an article up discussing Billy Gillispie lauding of his coaching staff. Gillispie goes on to say, “I believe we’ve got as good a staff as you could ever have,” and brags on the diversity of his coaching staff’s talents. I’ve always felt like this was one of the most underrated aspects of a coaching staff, the diversity of it. It’s fine and dandy if you have four phenomenal recruiters, but when you have one guy who’s good at recruiting, one who’s great at scouting, one who cares about his players’ academic success, and one who knows how to teach the players… by meshing together under one system, that’s a recipe for a dynamic coaching staff.
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NCAA Attendance Figures: A Closer Examination

Posted by rtmsf on April 27th, 2011

It’s always interesting to see the numbers when the NCAA releases its annual attendance figures for the prior season.  After all, ticket sales are still what drives the operating budget of most of these schools, and if a coach can’t consistently put fannies in the seats, he’s unlikely to have a job for very long.  The NCAA’s figures, though, mostly deal in the aggregate: A total of 27.6 million fans attending Division I men’s basketball games;  the usual suspects, Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina and Louisville, leading the way; the Big East cracking the three million mark with its sixteen-team lineup.  While it’s interesting to know that those schools and leagues are getting massive numbers of people through the turnstiles, it doesn’t really tell us the whole story without the subcontext of arena size.  Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium is the classic example — Duke ranks #48 in total home attendance (158,338 fans), but that figure represents 17 home dates at 100% capacity (9,314 fans each game) — so the truth here is that demand for seats within CIS far equals (or more likely, outstrips) availability.  Let’s take a look at some of the schools in the NCAA’s top 100 from the perspective of that alternate reality.

Changes things a little, right?  Twenty-one of the top 100 schools in average attendance were at 90% or higher in capacity last season.  And although some of the bigger arenas such as those at Kentucky (#3), Louisville (#8) and Memphis (#19) are still represented, this metric gives some love to the smaller-capacity schools like K-State (#1), Gonzaga (#5), Wichita State (#7) and others who consistently sold out (or nearly did so) every night the home team took the floor.  Some extra props need to go to the high-mids who support their teams through thick and thin, as seven of the top 21 on this list came from non-BCS conferences.

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