Was 2017 Summit League Tournament Best Sioux Falls Has Seen?
The 2017 Summit League Tournament saw a multitude of close games, buzzer-beaters and overtime finishes, but was it the best tournament Sioux Falls has seen yet?
I took a look at each Summit League Tournament basketball game since the tournament made Sioux Falls its home in 2009. Using the criteria for describing a close, competitive game as any contest that finishes with a six-point disparity or less, the numbers are fairly clear.
Statistically speaking, the 2017 Summit League Tournament is up there as one of the best we've seen in Sioux Falls.
On the women's side of the bracket, this year's tournament saw three close games in seven total contests and two games that went into overtime. Using these standards and results, only the 2010 Women's Summit League Tournament can compare in terms of competitive level and entertainment value.
The men's tournament brought the highest competitive level since 2012. This year saw three close games in seven total contests, while 2012 featured five close contests, including one game that went into overtime.
When you factor in the excitement of the men and women's championship games this year, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more appealing Summit League Tournament. Western Illinois topped IUPUI in overtime and No. 4-seeded South Dakota State survived a last-second heave from Omaha to claim the Summit League crown.
Attendance at the 2017 Men's Summit League Tournament reached all-time highs. Not only did we see the largest single-session attendance in Summit League Tournament history at the semifinal matchup between SDSU and South Dakota (11,235), but also we saw the largest attendance numbers in men's Summit League tournament history (39,912).
Overall attendance for the entire tournament totaled 61,004. That number is the second-highest overall tournament attendance Sioux Falls and the Summit League has ever recorded, only behind last year's attendance of 65,000-plus.
Is there some recency bias in play? Sure. But that doesn't take away from the numbers and the overall level of competition and excitement at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in 2017.
The games and product on the court, as well as the added atmosphere and attendance, made the 2017 Summit League Tournament arguably the best Sioux Falls has ever seen.
***Source: The Summit League