Looking at Cajuns’ Basketball Attendance
At first glance, the crowd of 4,491 for Saturday night's Cajuns' basketball game vs. Louisiana Tech may not seem large.
But it was.
The Cajuns drew a little more, 4,982, for the re-opening of the Cajundome against Nicholls State. The larger crowd can be attributed to the much publicized renovations as well as a larger student attendance prior to final exams.
Once upon a time, you'd see a larger attendance, even in non-conference games. But those days ended quite some time back.
How far back? The last time the Cajuns drew over 5,000 fans for a non conference game was more than 16 years ago: November 25, 2000. The opponent was Texas Tech. The Cajuns lost 94-73.
Since then the following teams have, among others, come to Lafayette without drawing that kind of crowd:
Mississippi State, Bradley, Houston, Rice, Southern Illinois, Charlotte, Oral Roberts, Cal State Fullerton, Tennessee (nationally ranked), Nevada (nationally ranked), UAB, Sam Houston State, Southern Miss, UCF (with Michael Jordan's son) and New Mexico State.
That's a pretty decent list. And, yet, the Cajuns couldn't draw 5,000 fans.
Between football season now lasting into December, final exams, Christmas shopping and holiday social events, basketball just hasn't been that much of a priority.
Now, let's put that all in perspective: The Cajuns' home average of 3,246 easily leads the Sun Belt, more than 500 per game more than second place Little Rock, a team that went to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year. And, had the Cajuns not been forced to play their first three game games at Blackham Coliseum, the number would be even higher.
The reality is, the crowds for Nicholls State and Louisiana Tech were impressive for this time of year. And, you can expect attendance to pick up once the holidays are over, especially after the next semester begins.
Especially if this team keeps winning.