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Syracuse tops in 2013-14 home attendance; UK drew in most total fans

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

Syracuse is always at the top, or just a team below it. (USATSI)

In sum, a shade over 25 million people paid to watch college basketball in 351 D-I barns last season, according to the NCAA's recent release of its attendance records. Given the different shapes, sizes and capacities of the biggest (Cuse's Carrier Dome, which holds in the neighborhood of 33,000) and the smallest (USC Upstate's G.B. Hodge Center lists its capacity at 818) the average college basketball crowd at a given game was 4,817 people.

Not great, but not terrible. Remember, we're dealing with an array of arenas and gyms here; this is a very different sport to judge off attendance than football. The 4,817 is a somewhat signifanct dip from a year ago, though. An average of 104 fewer people attended college basketball games last season, with a total of 353,532 fewer tickets sold than what the 2012-13 season offered.

Suprising and a little curious, given there more were games in college basketball last season than ever before, and the 2013-14 barnstorm was expected to be the best season for the sport in more than five years. And that was the just the regular season; the NCAA Tournament -- which has long underperformed in attendance -- dipped more than 61,000 in tickets sold compared to 2013. (Part of this amounts to the phasing out of using stadiums for regional sites, though.)

The Final Four totaled 158,682 in attendance, which did set a record. The gargantuan alien rotunda in Arlington, Texas, is to thank for that.

In terms of who played in front of the most souls at their home venue, the top two are no surprise. For what must be the hundredth year in a row, Syracuse and Kentucky occupy the top spots.

Here are the top 10 teams in home attendance, by average:

1. Syracuse: 26,253
2. Kentucky: 22,964
3. Louisville: 21,282
4. North Carolina: 18,025
5. Creighton: 17,896
6. Indiana: 17,359
7. Wisconsin: 17,104
8. Ohio State: 16,474
9. Kansas: 16,437
10. Memphis: 16,121

But when you factor in all attendance at all games, no one draws like Kentucky. The Wildcats get peole into the building. Keep in mind the list below also factors in the postseason. Overall attendance:

1. Kentucky: 922,653
2. Syracuse: 654,165
3. Wisconsin: 625,692
4. Louisville: 623,819
5. UConn: 587,705
6. Florida: 569,509
7. Ohio State: 5 66,949
8. Michigan State: 558,871
9. Michigan: 552,980
10. North Carolina: 525,583

What about the growers? Teams each year get a bump in attendance due to recent success, a new coach, a new arena or renovations to a standing barn. That's the case with pretty much all the programs below.

Biggest gainers in attendance, per game:

1. Nebraska: +5,067
2. Syracuse: +3,813
3. Virginia: +2,281
4. SMU: +2,210
5. FGCU: +2,050
6. Utah State: +1,893
7. Utah: +1,699
8. South Carolina: +1,470
9. Iowa: +1,351
10. Massachusetts: +1,289

And conference-wise, the Big Ten has rights to boast again. The league has become the standard-bearer for putting butts in the seats. It set a new NCAA basketball record for average attendance.

1. Big Ten: 13,534
2. Atlantic Coast: 10,661
3. Big 12: 10,489
4. Southeastern: 10,353
5. Big East: 9,711
6. American: 8,776
7. Mountain West: 7,730
8. Pac-12: 7,546
9. Missouri Valley: 5,599
10. Atlantic 10: 5,558

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