Attendance at WVU home games should improve - The Daily Athenaeum: Sports

Attendance at WVU home games should improve

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Posted: Monday, December 9, 2013 3:41 am

Attendance at home men’s basketball games has been incredibly low – averaging just less than 5,000 people in the six games held so far at the WVU Coliseum this season.

Part of the reason is the lack of competition WVU faces at home, with an average margin of victory of more than 26 points. West Virginia defeated Loyola last week 96-47.

“We have great fans – there’s just 4,000 of them,” said WVU head coach Bob Huggins. “Some teams have 16,000, we have 4,000. I’m happy with the people who (come). I keep hearing this team is exciting, but it must not be exciting enough. There’s a lot of factors, I’m sure.”

While 50-point blowout victories are certainly encouraging, it’s difficult to gauge the talent of this team with a weak non-conference schedule at home.

That should change tomorrow night when No. 19 Gonzaga comes to Morgantown for a 9 p.m. tip-off.

West Virginia is 0-2 all- time against the Bulldogs, with both losses coming in blowout fashion.

It’s the first ranked opponent to come to Morgantown this season, and the first since Feb. 13 against Oklahoma State.

“(I’m) excited the response for a big crowd Tuesday night,” Huggins tweeted. “(The fans) need to play a huge part in helping us win.”

Given the weak turnout at the Coliseum so far, fans haven’t been able to see just how improved this team is from last year.

At 6-3, West Virginia is seeing improved play from guards Eron Harris and Juwan Staten.

Harris trails only Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart for most points per game in the Big 12 Conference (18.9), while Staten averages just more than 16 per contest.

West Virginia is also immensely better from the 3-point line this season, with forward Remi Dibo shooting 45 percent from downtown. As a team, WVU leads the conference at 44 percent.

“It’s a lot more fun when they actually sit down and listen,” Huggins said. “When they (ignore) you, that’s not a lot of fun. These guys have been great. They listen, they’re trying to learn, they ask intelligent questions. You go from guys who ask questions just so they can get a break to guys who ask questions because they actually want to know (the answers).”

The Mountaineers will play Purdue at home Dec. 22 before playing their remaining home games against conference opponents.

“We’re getting ready to play more competitive teams,” Huggins said.

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1 comment:

  • iceberg posted at 9:53 am on Mon, Dec 9, 2013.

    iceberg Posts: 7

    For how long and in how many ways must we explain the basketball situation to the various presidents, ADs and coaches?

    1) Parking. There isn't enough. Never has been. West Virginians are a hardy people so they do their best, precariously balancing $40,000 vehicles on berms and hillsides or parking on neighborhood streets and in faraway lots and hoofing it. Having the Coliseum at a T-junction i.e. a dead end of a major thoroughfare with one way in and out was always going to be problematic but considering it was built in 1970 it beggars belief that nobody has taken steps to improve the situation, starting with a multi-story parking deck at bare minimum. A large swathe of space in Krepps Park (where parking used to be free, but suddenly came at a premium when Beilein's teams began winning) was eaten up by a child care center plunked down in a ridiculous location. Town and gown alike protested but WVU's brain trust was more worried about the assistant executive secretary to the deputy chair of the chewing gum department dropping her toddler off on weekdays.

    2) Access (beyond parking). The approach roads are already choked with commuter and retail traffic on non game-days. Pedestrians take their lives in their own hands getting to the Coliseum, where a paltry complement of police/security do their best in all weathers to barely hold anarchy at bay. Zoning decisions along Patteson Drive have apparently been contracted out to Chestnut Ridge inpatients.

    3) Weather - the meat of basketball season is January and February, also known as winter. Snow and ice only make matters worse and certainly affect people's decisions to attend. Winter used to be something we contended with but when public schools are cancelled with less than one inch of snowfall it seems modern society has elected to hide under the bed.

    4) The Big 12. Time for another media guide or press release telling us how great our new conference is! When's the Pitt game? Oh, there isn't one. We get Iowa State instead? Lovely. Where is that school exactly? And why am I supposed to care about them, even dislike them?

    Every year, the problems persist. In the case of the Big 12, they've even added one. We get conciliatory quotes from assistant ADs acknowledging the problem and promising improvements but any changes to date are invisible or inadequate. To make matters worse, a load of little dictators in local and state government decided to ban parking along the roadside, citing a 'danger' that produced 0 (zero) accidents. Meanwhile, the little dictators thought another Sheetz at the bottom of a long, steep, heavily-traveled hill would be a wonderful idea.

    Take it up with your colleagues and city leaders, Huggs.