Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 1/24/13
  Every year Northwestern Wildcats basketball beats a couple ranked teams during the Big Ten slate. So whenever they play someone good at home you want to be there so you can see a big event, right? Like when the fans stormed the court after taking down a top ten Michigan State team last year. Well the “Wildside” student section doesn’t seem to think so. They hardly showed up at all two home games ago when NU lost even uglier than it sounds, 70-51 to the Iowa Hawkeyes. And they didn’t come out last night either. From Cosby Sweaters, who also provided the picture: Against a nationally ranked opponent, with an 8 pm start time, the Wildcats tipped off in front of about 75 students. How do I know this number? I was there and I was able to count every student in the student section one by one. For those of you quick to jump to the student section’s defense, no it did not fill up as the game went on, 75 was about it. You can count for yourself in this picture. It will be hard to make it to the NCAA tournament with home court showings like this one, but if Welsh-Ryan Arena gets full, it can really get rocking. That’s true, it’s a very very small college basketball venue, but it does shake when it reaches the 8,117 seat capacity. Reggie Hearn scored 13 points after averaging 21 in the previous two games. Tre Demps added 10 points, and NU rebounded shook off a loss to the Hoosiers and beat another ranked team to go with their victory over then-No. 23 Illinois last week. (If the Illini even deserved to be ranked at that moment) The ‘Cats won despite getting outrebounded 45-31 and hitting just 17 of 32 free throws because Minnesota simply couldn’t convert, whether the Gophers were taking layups, jumpers or free throws. They were 7 of 17 from the foul line and were a mess from the field. They shot 33.3 percent overall and were 5 of 19 on 3-pointers. Trevor Mbakwe had 14 points and 16 rebounds, but no one else stepped up for Minnesota, who is proving to not be as good as they were cracked up to be. Conference season is bringing them a reality check. As for the Cats and their poor home attendance, the team is just 7-7 at home this year, and 5-1 on the road/neutral sites. Tough to explain. And it is a small private school of transplants from all over the country, not just the Chicago area or the Midwest. Clearly attending sporting events takes a big back seat to studying at the University as well. But one way to boost attendance would be to change that AWFUL and MISLEADING commercial the program runs on television. It features Alex Marcotullio hitting a three in the final seconds to tie top ranked Ohio State in last year’s game. Then the Buckeyes went down and scored on the very next play to win it. Time to get rid of that ad. Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, a Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Chicago Tribune.com, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports A Fulbright scholar, published author and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; he’s also a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.
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