How is Sioux Falls NOT on the List of the ‘Best College Basketball Cities’?
Despite the continuing trend of skyrocketing attendance at the Summit League Tournament, Sioux Falls continues to be overlooked by much of the rest of the country as a dominant player on the college basketball scene.
This week when a Summit League Tournament record crowd of 11,235 jammed in to the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center for the men’s Summit League semifinal session, WalletHub released its list of the ‘Best & Worst Cities for College Basketball Fans’.
None of the 291 cities on the list are named Sioux Falls.
It’s a bit shocking when you consider the state of the relationship between South Dakota’s largest city and college basketball.
We already mentioned the 11,000-plus for the 2017 men’s Summit League Tournament semifinal. That marked the fourth time in the last two years that a crowd of more than 10,000 has come to Sioux Falls for a men’s tournament session.
In fact, last year’s four men’s session average attendance of 9,165 was eighth nationally of the 32 Division I conference tournaments.
The same day the men’s attendance record was being broken this week, the women’s session had its third highest crowd ever – more than 6,000.
Just two years ago, the Summit League women’s title game drew 6,926, which ranked as the one of the nation’s highest totals for any 2015 Women’s Division I conference championship.
That record was broken last year when 7,218 were on hand to watch South Dakota State beat South Dakota in the women’s title game.
A few weeks later, Sioux Falls also hosted the NCAA women’s regional, and a crowd of better than 4,000 showed up to watch Syracuse beat Tennessee to go to the Final Four.
How highly regarded do you have to be to get the honor of hosting a regional? Two of the other cities to host last year – Lexington, KY (3) and Dallas (18) – made WalletHub’s Top 20.
Sensing a trend here? Sioux Falls is a pretty darn good college basketball town.
So how is it that we’re on the outside looking in on this list?
I’ll give you a hint: It’s not what we have, but what we don’t have.
Sioux Falls wasn’t even considered for the list because we don’t have a Division I school in town. That’s it.
Never mind that the 2016 Division II men’s national champions (Augustana) call Sioux Falls home or that Augie’s men and women were second and fourth in the nation in attendance last year.
And remember where the NCAA decided to hold this year’s Division II Elite Eight AND last year’s women’s Division II Elite Eight?
That’s right – Sioux Falls.
But thanks to a technicality, apparently none of that matters to the folks at WalletHub.
I think we all know better.
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