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South Carolina basketball games were surprisingly well-attended in 2013-14

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Fan support for the Gamecock basketball program appears to be growing right on schedule even if the quality of the product on the court isn't progressing as linearly as the fans themselves might have hoped when Frank Martin arrived two years ago.

Lance King

In a disappointing year for attendance at SEC basketball games as a whole -- the 10,380 average attendance was the worst since 1984-85 -- South Carolina demonstrated remarkable year-over-year growth. Paid attendance at the Colonial Life Arena increased by 17 percent during the 2013-14 season, a boost that vaulted the Gamecocks into the top half of the league in average attendance.

SEC Basketball Attendance
Team 2013-14 Average +/- Last Year
Kentucky 22,964 -1%
Tennessee 15,475 -7%
Arkansas 14,597 +6%
Florida 11,471 +7%
Alabama 10,754 -4%
South Carolina 10,074 +17%
Vanderbilt 9,534 -10%
Missouri 9,402 -22%
LSU 8,910 +16%
Ole Miss 7,328 +21%
Mississippi State 6,875 +2%
Georgia 6,429 +4%
Auburn 5,823 -7%
Texas A&M 5,367 -15%

Let's go ahead and address the caveat that anyone who has actually witnessed a South Carolina basketball game already knows is coming. These figures represent paid attendance, not actual attendance. If you've seen the Gamecocks play at any point this season, you have likely come to think of the nearly empty CLA as a lovable but extremely ineffectual sixth man.

But let's not lose sight of the fact that paying for a ticket is, after all, a necessary condition of attending a basketball game. South Carolina fans appear to possess the financial means and minimum level of interest required to support a reasonably well-attended home basketball game, which is an accomplishment of sorts. Now we just have to solve the problem of getting these people who have purchased tickets to show up at the games.

And if fans were willing to buy tickets to see but not actually see a team that narrowly avoided a last-place finish in the SEC, just think of how many tickets they will buy to not see but not actually see team that is expected to be significantly improved but not seen during the 2014-15 season.