The four men’s basketball programs with the highest attendance averages in the country held their positions from the 2018-19 season to 2019-20, with Syracuse, Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee ranking No. 1 through No. 4, respectively. However, there was a new school at No. 5 and two other programs that moved into the top 10.
Here are the NCAA Division I men’s basketball programs with the highest average attendance during the 2019-20 season.
2019-20 Attendance: 21,704 per game | 390,666 total
2018-19 Attendance: 21,992 per game | 417,852 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 1
Syracuse’s Carrier Dome, which is home to the Orange’s men’s and women’s basketball teams and football team, was once again atop the men’s basketball attendance rankings. Play high-level basketball games in front of a passionate fan base in an arena that’s also fitted for college football and that’s what happens.
Syracuse was the only program to crack the 400,000-fan attendance mark last season.
2019-20 Attendance: 20,160 per game | 362,872 total
2018-19 Attendance: 21,695 per game | 390,510 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 2
Kentucky was slightly less than 300 fans per game, on average, behind Syracuse for the top spot in terms of attendance last season. The Wildcats went 16-2 inside Rupp Arena last season, only falling to Evansville and Tennessee.
3. North Carolina
2019-20 Attendance: 20,103 per game | 301,544 total
2018-19 Attendance: 19,715 per game | 315,436 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 3
By North Carolina’s impressive ACC title and national championship standards, the Tar Heels had a down season in 2019-20, going just 14-19 (6-14 ACC). But that didn’t slow down the passion or attendance among Tar Heel fans, who showed up in average numbers of more than 20,000 fans per game last season, good for third nationally.
2019-20 Attendance: 18,990 per game | 322,822 total
2018-19 Attendance: 19,034 per game | 342,615 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 4
Tennessee Orange is literally its own brand of color, which gives Thompson Boling Arena a unique look in the sport when the Volunteers have a sellout crowd. The arena’s capacity of 21,678 is the fourth-largest in the country.
2019-20 Attendance: 17,314 per game | 311,651 total
2018-19 Attendance: 15,980 per game | 303,629 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 8
Creighton’s arena, CHI Health Center Omaha, has the 17th-largest capacity in Division I, but the Bluejays’ attendance ranking was even higher than that last season, cracking the top five. The fans were rewarded, too, as Creighton shared the Big East regular-season title with Villanova and Seton Hall.
2019-20 Attendance: 16,912 per game | 270,587 total
2018-19 Attendance: 17,170 per game | 257,546 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 5
Wisconsin finished in a three-way tie atop the Big Ten standings last season with Michigan State and Maryland, and that’s in part because of Wisconsin’s 15-1 record at home inside the Kohl Center.
2019-20 Attendance: 16,658 per game | 299,846 total
2018-19 Attendance: 16,601 per game | 298,826 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 6
Louisville reached No. 1 in the AP poll in the second season under coach Chris Mack and the Cardinals have the benefit of having the second-largest seating capacity of all DI arenas thanks to the KFC Yum! Center. They went 17-1 there last season.
2019-20 Attendance: 16,388 per game | 262,202 total
2018-19 Attendance: 16,236 per game| 276,010 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 7
Kansas finished last season ranked No. 1 on kenpom.com and No. 2 in the NET rankings, so not only were the Jayhawks potentially the best team in the country, but they also play in one of the great college basketball venues — Allen Fieldhouse. Allen Fieldhouse’s capacity of 16,300 ranks 20th in Division I, but Kansas ranked in the top 20 in average attendance per game.
2019-20 Attendance: 16,312 per game | 293,622 total
2018-19 Attendance: 14,065 per game | 295,385 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 17
Memphis’ attendance per game average climbed by more than 2,300 fans per game in the first season of coach Penny Hardaway’s tenure, which saw the Tigers post 21 wins and a 15-3 record at home.
2019-20 Attendance: 16,300 per game | 309,699 total
2018-19 Attendance: 15,206 per game | 319,335 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 12
Indiana’s Assembly Hall ranks 16th nationally in capacity at 17,472 fans and the Hoosiers’ average attendance per game last season ranked even higher than that.
Indiana was one of seven schools to crack the 300,000-fan mark last season.
2019-20 Attendance: 15,605 per game | 249,677 total
2018-19 Attendance: 15,341 per game | 276,143 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 10
You only have to look at Nebraska’s consecutive football sellout streak and Husker fans’ ability to pack the house for volleyball matches to see how passionate Nebraska’s fan base is about their school. Despite the Huskers ending last season with 17 consecutive losses, Nebraska fans turned out in droves for the first year of the Fred Hoiberg era.
2019-20 Attendance: 15,487 per game | 294,262 total
2018-19 Attendance: 15,278 per game | 275,012 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 11
In the heart of SEC country, which is known for its passion for college football, Arkansas has one of the best homecourt environments in the country. Bud Walton Arena has a capacity of 19,200 and its homecourt advantage ranked as the 14th-strongest in Division I last season, according to kenpom.com.
2019-20 Attendance: 15,336 per game | 260,720 total
2018-19 Attendance: 14,009 per game | 252,155 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 18
Thanks to an impressive 16-1 record at home last season, Maryland shared the Big Ten regular season title with Michigan State and Wisconsin. The Xfinity Center has the 14th-largest capacity in the sport and the Terrapins’ average attendance last season ranked one spot better nationally.
14. NC State
2019-20 Attendance: 15,150 per game | 272,701 total
2018-19 Attendance: 13,897 per game | 305,744 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 20
The basketball crazy state of North Carolina has two programs that ranked in the top 15 nationally in average attendance, with North Carolina at No. 3 and rival NC State at No. 14. Last season at home, the Wolfpack beat Duke by 22 points and Wisconsin by 15.
2019-20 Attendance: 15,145 per game | 242,324 total
2018-19 Attendance: 15,611 per game | 296,611 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 9
Marquette’s Fiserv Forum has the 15th-largest capacity in Division I, which is exactly where the Golden Eagles ranked in terms of average attendance last season. Marquette went 13-3 at home during the 2019-20 season.
2019-20 Attendance: 14,804 per game | 236,864 total
2018-19 Attendance: 14,467 per game | 217,005 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 14
Purdue’s arena capacity and home-court advantage rank in the top 35 nationally, according to kenpom.com, but the Boilermakers’s average attendance ranks twice as strong (16th) as their home-court advantage (32nd).
17. Michigan State
2019-20 Attendance: 14,797 per game | 221,955 total
2018-19 Attendance: 14,797 per game | 236,752 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 13
Michigan State’s attendance-per-game average remained the same from the 2018-19 season to 2019-20, but the Spartans’ national ranking dropped from No. 13 to No. 17. They’re always a tough out at the Breslin Center, where they were 12-3 last season.
18. Ohio State
2019-20 Attendance: 14,531 per game | 261,561 total
2018-19 Attendance: 13,922 per game | 250,595 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 19
Ohio State’s attendance average climbed by more than 600 fans per game last season in Year Three of the Chris Holtmann era. At Value City Arena, the Buckeyes defeated the likes of Maryland, Michigan, Villanova, Illinois, Penn State, Rutgers, Indiana, Cincinnati and Purdue during the 2019-20 season.
2019-20 Attendance: 14,090 per game | 239,531 total
2018-19 Attendance: 14,087 per game | 225,392 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 16
The reigning national champions saw a small uptick in their home attendance last season. Inside John Paul Jones Arena, the ‘Hoos beat Duke, Louisville and Florida State.
20. Texas Tech
2019-20 Attendance: 14,057 per game | 238,962 total
2018-19 Attendance: 12,098 per game | 217,771 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 26
It’s fitting that the two national finalists from 2019 hold back-to-back positions in these rankings, however, Texas Tech saw a much larger year-over-year jump as the Red Raiders’ attendance climbed by nearly 2,000 fans per game after their national runner-up finish.
21. Iowa State
2019-20 Attendance: 13,954 per game | 237,223 total
2018-19 Attendance: 14,099 per game | 225,578 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 15
There’s a reason Iowa State’s play inside Hilton Coliseum is often referred to as “Hilton Magic,” and the hometown fans are a big reason why. Last season, the Cyclones beat Seton Hall by 10 points in Ames, plus Oklahoma, Texas and TCU.
2019-20 Attendance: 13,654 per game | 232,114 total
2018-19 Attendance: 13,744 per game | 233,645 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 21
Arizona is one of the strongest programs out West and the Wildcats have the home-court advantage to match. Their McKale Center ranks 34th nationally in terms of capacity and they went 13-4 there last season.
2019-20 Attendance: 13,364 per game | 227,186 total
2018-19 Attendance: 12,957 per game | 220,277 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 22
Nationally, Dayton’s home arena, the University of Dayton Arena, gets the most attention for hosting the First Four games in the NCAA tournament, but in 2019-20, it was where the Flyers went 17-0 amid their historic 29-2 season.
2019-20 Attendance: 13,041 per game | 234,730 total
2018-19 Attendance: 12,456 per game | 199,303 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 25
Illinois went 15-3 at the State Farm Center last season, which included wins over Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Rutgers, Indiana, Purdue and Minnesota.
2019-20 Attendance: 12,626 per game | 189,392 total
2018-19 Attendance: 11,958 per game | 191,322 total
2018-19 Rank: No. 27
BYU had one of the highest-octane offenses in the country during the 2020 season, as the Cougars finished seventh nationally in offensive efficiency, per kenpom.com. BYU fans turned out in full force as the university averaged nearly 600 more fans per game compared to the 2019 season.
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