Jun 13, 2014, 6:35 PM EDT
The 2013-14 season was a huge success for Nebraska and head coach Tim Miles. The Cornhuskers made their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1998 and they also opened the brand-new Pinnacle Bank Arena, which sold out every single game before the season even began.
Thanks to the shiny, new arena — and an improved product on the floor under Miles — Nebraska had a dramatic increase in attendance during the 2013-14 season as the Cornhuskers saw the largest average attendance increase in college basketball over the last seven seasons, according to a release from the school.
Nebraska averaged a school-record 15,419 fans per game last season, which was an increase of 5,067 fans per game from the 2012-13 season. It’s the largest attendance increase in college basketball since Virginia opened the John Paul Jones Arena and averaged 5,725 more fans per game during the 2006-07 season.
The increase in attendance also means Nebraska finished 13th in the NCAA attendance rankings, the first time the program has been in the top 20 in that category since 1993-94.
Virginia has seen its men’s basketball program steadily rise since the opening of John Paul Jones Arena, culminating in a No. 1 seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. The beautiful on-campus facility is a major attraction for recruits and fans of the program and Virginia has made three NCAA Tournament appearances since opening the arena after only making the tournament one time (2001) between 1997 and 2007.
Miles and the Cornhuskers are hoping to follow a similar blueprint to success, although winning games and making tournament runs is far more involved than simply building a new arena.
With Nebraska returning all five starters, including Big Ten leading scorer Terran Petteway, the Cornhuskers will be in position to keep Pinnacle Bank Arena rocking again next season as the new arena is quickly becoming one of the most difficult places to play in the Big Ten.
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