June 14, 2007
Park Ridge, Ill. - For the 31st straight season, Big Ten men's basketball has led the nation in attendance, according to numbers released by the NCAA. The Big Ten ranked first among all conferences with an average of 12,760 per game/session, 788 more than the national runner-up (SEC - 11,972). The NCAA's final attendance numbers and rankings include both regular-season and conference tournament attendance.
The Big Ten also broke the two-million mark in total attendance for the 15th consecutive season as the conference welcomed 2,470,250 fans through the turnstiles in 196 games for an average of 12,652 patrons per contest.
Individually, the Big Ten registered five universities among the country's top 25 in average attendance, highlighted by three programs among the top 10. No other conference placed more than four teams among the top 25. Ohio State led the Big Ten contingent, ranking sixth nationally with an average of 17,530 fans per game. Two other schools finished among the top 10 as Wisconsin rated No. 7 with 17,190 fans per game and Illinois ranked 10th with 16,618 patrons per outing. Other conference programs among the top 25 included No. 11 Indiana (16,474) and No. 15 Michigan State (14,759).
In addition, the Big Ten played host to the 2007 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship First and Second Rounds at the United Center in Chicago, Ill., as 58,427 patrons flooded the facility for the three sessions. That total ranked third on this year's list of highest paid attendance figures for the NCAA First and Second Rounds, as Rupp Arena drew 62,450 fans in Lexington, Ky., and Nationwide Arena followed with 59,748 patrons in Columbus, Ohio.