Well, it's time again to start thinking about the Top 100 Programs in Women's College Basketball. (I can hear the reader knives sharpening right now.) In order to think about top programs, you have to think about attendance, and my magic spreadsheet now has the 2012 attendance numbers for all 342 or so programs.
We're going to concentrate on the "Power Conferences" and see which programs are the big winners and losers. But first, some honorable mentions across all of women's college basketball.
Best Attendance Jump Among Non-Majors: The award goes to Delaware, which lept from 2,191 per home game to 3,907 per home game in Elene Delle Donne's final year as a Blue Hen.
Biggest Attendance Drop Among Non-Majors: Murray State in the Ohio Valley Conference: Attendance dropped to about a third of the previous year, from 3,758 per home game to 1,413 per home game.
Cast Your Bread Upon The Waters: Marshall's jump from 324 last year to 1,234 per home game this year. Maybe we just added a digit by accident in 2012 - I looked at Marshall's attendance from 2011-12 and aside from big draws from Cincinnati and Longwood home games, that 1,234 number does not look right to me.
Moving on Up Awards: There are 32 teams that share the award for having attendance go up every year since 2009. The biggest winner is Notre Dame, which edged out Baylor by a grand total of eight extra persons per home game in 2012. (8,571 vs 8,563) Maybe Baylor can count Griner as eight people.
Sunday Morning Coming Down: On the other hand, there are 31 teams that have had attendance fall every year since 2009. Utah, Boston College, Illinois, Florida, Washington, Pittsburgh, Florida State, Rutgers, North Carolina, and Minnesota are among the suspects. The big winner is Texas, which went from 5,288 per home game in 2009 to 3,988 per home game in 2012.
But enough of the side show. Let's look at the Power Conferences and see which teams won - and lost - the most attendance in 2012:
|Tennessee||12599||14414||1815||We back Pat|
|Oklahoma||5490||6851||1361||Even with a tough year for the Sooners|
|LSU||3289||4315||1026||Nikki Caldwell era in effect|
|Colorado||1880||2679||799||Looking up in the Pac-12|
|California||1430||2076||646||The fans are not laid back|
|Baylor||7933||8563||630||Attendance rises like Griner's stock|
|Nebraska||4333||4957||624||Almost stole Big 10 Championship|
|Miami (FL)||925||1407||482||Canes in 4-digit attendance now|
|Texas A&M||6104||6555||451||No relapse after championship|
|Washington State||608||1056||448||Cougars made it to Pac-12 semis|
|Arizona State||3486||1804||-1682||Sun Devils almost halve attendance without CTT|
|Oregon||3100||1789||-1311||Shine off Westhead era|
|Georgia Tech||2118||1042||-1076||Forced to relocate while building new arena|
|Iowa||5823||4846||-977||Regressing to mean, still better than '10|
|St. John's||2200||1260||-940||Why so sad in Queens? Arico to Michigan|
|UCLA||2018||1110||-908||Previous Bruin fans attending LSU games|
|West Virginia||3103||2223||-880||Future worst attendance in Big 12?|
|Michigan||2495||1773||-722||Hopefully better attendance than St. John's|
|Texas||4710||3988||-722||Falling attendance over 4 years|
|Minnesota||3540||2835||-705||Less than 1/2 of '09 attendance|
So here's a question: given these two lists, what do you think are the best reasons why certain teams have lost or gained attendance, other than the ones stated?