The NCAA released the attendance figures for the 2010-11 basketball season yesterday and the Southeastern Conference placed two teams in the Top 5 nationally — Kentucky and Tennessee.
The top-ranked Wildcats will no doubt draw huge crowds to Rupp Arena next year as John Calipari’s next wave of star youngsters arrive in the Bluegrass State. But no one knows what to expect at fifth-ranked Tennessee, where the Vols have dismissed a wildly popular coach and face a year of uncertainties when it comes to NCAA sanctions and a thin roster.
The SEC by the numbers:
* Arkansas finished outside the Top 25 in attendance for the first time since Bud Walton Arena opened. That likely won’t be the case next year with Mike Anderson now on the sideline.
* Kudos to South Carolina fans for finishing in the top half of the league in attendance despite a last-place finish in the SEC East.
* Florida fans should be ashamed. Sure the O’Connell Center only seats 12,000, but Gator-backers didn’t even fill their bandbox. Billy Donovan has won two national titles and led UF to an SEC outright title this past year. What’s it take to pack a Florida basketball game?
* Good basketball or not, the fans at LSU, Ole Miss and Auburn were bested in attendance by schools such as Utah State, Bradley, Old Dominion and Siena. That’s a Hall of Shame performance.
* Rick Stansbury is lucky to still have his job. Not only did his Bulldogs wildly underachieve this year, but State’s attendance was the lowest in the league and ranked below that of UCF, St. Louis, George Mason, and Weber State. That’s an embarrassment to the SEC.