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August 14, 2013The Indiana men's basketball team set a school record, finished No. 1 in the Big Ten and fifth in the country in average attendance at home games in the 2012-13 season.
In attendance figures released today by the NCAA, Indiana averaged 17,412 fans for 19 homes. The previous school record was 17,148 in 11 home games in 2001-02. Assembly Hall's seating capacity is 17,472.
It was just the second time since 1985 Indiana ranked in the top five in the nation in attendance and first time since 2002. It also is the first time IU led the Big Ten in attendance since 2002.
The big Ten led the nation in attendance per game for the 37th consecutive season, averaging 13,114 fans per game.
"With all the great teams who have played in Assembly Hall, this is a wonderful tribute to coach Tom Crean and a group of young men who have helped bring back a historic college basketball program on so many levels," athletic director Fred Glass said.
"I'm so proud of Hoosier Nation. Our fans supported the program through difficult times and have always played a major role in its success through the years."
This past season, IU spent 10 weeks ranked No. 1 this past season, hosted ESPN's GameDay in a victory over then-No. 1 Michigan, one of its five home victories over ranked teams behind future top-four NBA draft picks Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller.
"I continue to be overwhelmed by the spirit and generosity of so many who support our program every day," Crean said. "Our season-ticket holders are as loyal a group as you will find. You really had a sense early in the season that our players had forged a strong bond with our fans, young and old alike.
"That was very evident starting with Hoosier Hysteria, the North Carolina game and all of the great battles we had during the Big Ten season."
The Hoosiers blew out the 13th-ranked Tar Heels 83-59 on Nov. 27 at Assembly Hall in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
They followed with home wins over No. 8 Minnesota, No. 13 Michigan State, No. 1 Michigan and No. 14 Ohio State.
Indiana went on to win the school's first outright Big Ten regular-season title since the 1992-93 season.
Indiana was buoyed by the largest student section in the country.
While Hoosier Hysteria wasn't a part of the attendance figures, IU had to turn away fans and close Assembly Hall doors for the first time ever for a Hoosier Hysteria event.
Sixteen of Indiana's 19 home games were listed at capacity.
One of keys was an average of 17,269 fans attended the four non-conference home games over the holiday break. The previous year, IU averaged 14,317 for games while students were on break, even though two Big Ten games - Ohio State and Michigan - were played over break.
"Our fans really came through for us during the games over the Thanksgiving and Holiday breaks," Crean said. "There is a very different feel when you walk out and see so many generations of families here at Assembly Hall who may be attending their first game ever.
"The gratitude and enthusiasm they bring is prevalent. I hope we continue to attract those Hoosier fans who come early and enjoy the campus, visit Cook Hall and then spend an evening in Assembly Hall building memories that last a lifetime."
Indiana sells 7,800 tickets to students, making it the largest student section in the country by more than 2,500. This year, Indiana already has sold 14,580 student tickets, with students receiving tickets to eight of the home games.
Among schools that ranked in the top 10 in attendance, only Kansas, with Phog Allen Fieldhouse, has an older basketball arena that Indiana with Assembly Hall.
"All of our fans from the community, to our alumni, faculty/staff and students, give Assembly Hall a true home court advantage," Crean said. "Everyone associated with the program on game day, our ESG staff, public safety, the cheerleaders and band, our Varsity Shop, concessions, they really make an IU game experience unique. When we lost about half our students that first year, our hope was to find a way to get them back as quickly as possible The Varsity Club, our ticket office, marketing and those who handle our social media really stepped up to make this happen and deserve our gratitude."
The 2012-13 Hoosiers finished 29-6, the fifth most victories in school history, three shy of the school record held by the 32-0 1976 national championship squad.
The Big Ten led the nation by a considerable margin. The league's 13,114 per-game attendance was well above second-place Big East's 10,699. The SEC was third (10,571), Big 12 fourth (10,289) and ACC fifth (9,990).
Overall, the average home attendance for a Division I men's basketball game was 4,921. There were 345 Division I men's basketball teams last season.
Top 10 Division I attendance for 2012-13 by school:
1. Kentucky, 23,099
2. Syracuse, 22,439
3. Louisville, 21,571
4. North Carolina, 19,350
5. Indiana, 17,412
6. Creighton, 17,155
7. Wisconsin, 16,843
8. Tennessee, 16,635
9. Ohio State, 16,524
10. Kansas, 16,438
Top 10 Division I attendance for 2012-13 by conference:
1. Big Ten, 13,114
2. Big East, 10,699
3. Southeastern, 10,571
4. Big 12, 10,289
5. Atlantic Coast, 9,990
6. Mountain West, 8,720
7. Pac-12, 7,631
8. Missouri Valley, 7,270
9. Atlantic 10, 5,947
10. Conference USA, 5,394