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ACC Basketball Attendance Way Down And The Big Finish

Brian: The Wall Street Journal recently took a look at ACC basketball's declining attendance. As of Monday, average home attendance at men's games is 13.5% below the final average from 2006. At Duke, the "Cameron Crazies" aren't selling out their full student ticket allotment this season. And at Maryland, attendance has dropped 24 percent in six years.

On Thursday night, the Terps drew just 12,465 (out of 17,950) for their game against BC.

Even the ACC Tournament's attendance has dropped by a whopping 14 percent since 2004, the largest for any of the six major conferences.

The WSJ's Rachel Backman offers up some theories to explain the ACC's declining attendance.

-- Blame Conference Hopping. The additions of Miami, Virginia Tech and BC and the death of the round-robin scheduling format.
-- A Charisma Deficit. Unfamiliar head coaches borne out of "chemistry labs." Today's coaches don't have any personality, apparently.
-- The 14-Step Commute. The proliferation of TV broadcasts, bigger home TVs and younger fans not wanting to go into arenas where they don't get cell service?
-- Lousier Teams, Period. The ACC is just the fifth best conference this year, and outside of Duke and Carolina is pretty 'meh.'

So which of these theories can best explain ACC hoops declining attendance? Or is it none of the above? Something else? Your thoughts?

Jeff: I blame the overall drop in popularity of the sport and the fact that the quality of the league has declined. It is no secret that college basketball has dropped in popularity as fewer great players have gone to college for more than a season. This effects the ACC as much as any league out there and when you think of players leaving early for the NBA you probably think of Duke and North Carolina who regularly have the most NBA talent. But those programs are at least able to reload with great young talent each and every season. It's Reggie Jackson leaving BC early, Iman Shumpert leaving Georgia Tech early and Jordan Williams leaving Maryland after just two seasons that is really hurting the league. The programs in the league that are not named Duke and Carolina can't reload fast enough when the big power programs are already having extra scholarships opening up from early departures.

In the past, in the ACC there would be season that every team would be around the top 50 in RPI and better and the league would easily rank #1 in overall RPI. This meant every fan base had dreams of their team going to the NCAA tournament entering March. Here in the 2011-12 season, we already know that six teams -- half the league -- would have to win the ACC Tournament in order to get into the dance and have no chance at an at-large bid despite still having several weeks in the season left.

There is no surprise that attendance is down in the ACC. The question is though, will it come back?

Big Finish

Brian: Spring football practices start today. What player are you most looking forward to following this spring?

Jeff: Obviously Montel Harris. If he is back to 100% we will be a much better team.

Jeff: HD is loving the extra work that Steele Divitto put in over Christmas. Are you?

Brian: Yup, though linebacker is the position I'm least worried about going into spring practice.

Brian: Jerry York earned career win no. 900 last night with a 4-2 victory over Merrimack. Does he get 901 tonight in the regular season finale at Merrimack?

Jeff: Yes, it's the time of year that the Eagles play their best hockey.

Jeff: After starting conference play 0-11, the lady Eagles earned their first ACC winning streak Thursday night against Clemson. Surprised?

Brian: Hats off to the women's hoops team. I was starting to think it was going to be 0-16 this year.

Brian: BC alum Mike Mayock thinks Luke Kuechly would be a "slam dunk" for Philadelphia. Will he still be on the board at 15?

Jeff: It still sounds like there is a good chance he won't still be around.

Jeff: The baseball team opened their season with a win yesterday. After disappointing results last season, what are your expectations this year?

Brian: I literally have no expectations for this year's team, but opening with a win over a ranked opponent is a pleasant surprise.

Brian: Last one. BC-Duke on Sunday. Do the Eagles keep it respectable?

Jeff: Yes, Duke has let every team hang around lately it seems.