* The what seemed low attendance for the Wesleyan/Augie game Friday night. I was very surprised with the large number of open seats during that game especially given that, with two wins, IWU had a great chance to cement a top regional ranking.
I was struck by the sight of so many empty seats for that game as well, so I went back and looked at the attendance numbers for CCIW tourney games involving the host school:
|2013|| Shirk Center (Illinois Wesleyan)|| 1475 (AC @ IWU)|
|2012|| Merner Field House (North Central)|| 1778 (AC @ NCC)|| 2050 (WC @ NCC)|
|2011|| Merner Field House (North Central)|| 1458 (IWU @ NCC)|
|2010|| Tarble Arena (Carthage)|| 1875 (AC @ CC)|| 2410 (IWU @ CC)|
|2009|| King Arena (Wheaton)|| 2537 (NCC @ WC)|| 2589 (EC @ WC)|
|2008|| Carver Arena (Augustana)|| 1203 (EC @ AC)|| 1723 (IWU @ AC)|
|2007|| Carver Arena (Augustana)|| 703 (NCC @ AC)|| 364 (EC @ AC)|
|2006|| Carver Arena (Augustana)|| 1547 (IWU @ AC)|
What happened in 2007???
Distance, probably. Augustana and Millikin are the two most remote outposts in the CCIW. They don't tend to draw as much in the way of road crowds as do the other six schools in the league, owing to the fact that Rock Island and Decatur are so far away from the league's Chicagoland demographic base. Illinois Wesleyan does travel well to Augie and Millikin for various sporting events (as is indicated by the IWU @ AC contests in '06 and '08), but, unlike the fans of the four schools based in the Chicago area (which is actually five, given how many Carthage fans live south of the Halas-Lombardi Line), Titans fans are used to the idea that they have to spend a lot of time in a car in order to get to a road CCIW game.
The alternative explanation is that it might've been a bad weather weekend in northern Illinois back in 2007.
In addition to distance, there is one other factor that potentially played a role, which you indirectly alluded to: the Titans finished 4-10 in conference play that year and sat out the tourney. The Titans' busloads of, ah, young at heart fans weren't present on either night. I expect that this impacted the gate. I don't know how early the bus would typically arrive if the Titans had the late game (or, how quickly it would leave if they had the early game), but there was zero spillover to count in the gate of a non-Titan game that year because they were *all* non-Titan games.
The dichotomy between 1500+ fans when the Titan did play and less than 400 when it was Augie versus Elmhurst makes me wonder just how much home court advantage there was at Carver when the Vikes played IWU those other years.
Augie's spring beak is usually that week so almost no students and less college affiliated fans too. Throw in the lack of IWU and that explains it all.
Good luck to the 3 teams in the tourney. Now that I live in ODAC country, I hope to see at least one CCIW team in Salem.