Monday, March 22, 2010

ODU a winner in NCAA Tournament

Sunday's big winner at the Constant Center wasn't Temple and it wasn't even UConn. It was Norfolk, which had the moxie to put 6,325 fans in the seats despite the disappointment of the host team, Old Dominion, not being on the floor. Point the finger to the Huskies if you will, but if you were sitting in that arena, it was obvious UConn fans weren't making all the noise. As loud as the Southern band was, it appeared nobody made the trip from Baton Rouge, either. CAA neighbor James Madison added heavily to the turnstile count, but the terrific turnout relied heavily on these three letters: O-D-U.

Old Dominion fans filled plenty of those seats despite no rooting interest on the floor. These weren't fans of the Huskies or the Jaguars or the Owls or the Dukes -- they were women's basketball fans who took advantage of the national stage coming to their back yard. How envious must the folks in Durham be considering the 3,812 attendance for their pair of games that included Duke? And consider Stanford, make that No. 1 seed Stanford playing at home in Palo Alto, bringing in 5,645. That's not a shabby number by any stretch, but 680 more bodies made it to Norfolk.

The six other sites without host teams didn't fare nearly as well, specifically Tempe, Ariz. (1,455). Tallahassee had Florida State, but only brought in 2,357 and Austin was lucky to have Texas, yet just 3,178 showed up.

Credit ODU for doing the kind of job that makes us think back to the 2004 region featuring Minnesota vs. Duke in a REGION final that sold out the Constant Center.

So fear not, ODU fan. Given a turnout like Sunday's, the Constant Center will be hosting the first and second rounds of this tournament for years and years to come. And we have no doubt that next time, the Lady Monarchs will be part of the party on the floor.

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