IOWA CITY, Ia. – Devyn Marble’s scoring average has increased in each of his three seasons at Iowa. The Hawkeyes’ victory total has grown annually, too. So has average attendance at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“When I first got here, there weren’t too many people in the seats,” the Hawkeyes’ junior guard said. “I think that makes me appreciate them coming out even more. When I came here, we were struggling as a program. And now we’re playing a lot better. We’ve shown some promise.”
A program that won a total of 21 games over the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons combined will be trying to improve to 20-11 when it hosts Nebraska at 1:20 p.m. Saturday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery, who can record his 300th career victory Saturday, inherited a program that drew an average announced attendance of 9,550 fans at home in 2009-10. The actual scanned attendance average that season was 5,160 in the 15,400-seat arena.
According to figures provided by the Iowa athletic ticket office, the announced attendance has grown nearly 30 percent during the McCaffery era. The actual scanned attendance has grown nearly 40 percent. Iowa is averaging 13,312 fans this season, and 14,258 for Big Ten games. The actual scanned attendance is 8,314 this season, and 10,188 for Big Ten games.
Saturday’s game will be Iowa’s fourth sellout of the Big Ten season, matching the previous five seasons combined.
“It’s great to see Carver full again,” Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said. “Fran and our players have made it fun for the fans, which feeds on itself and makes it fun for players and coaches and leads to a home-court advantage we haven’t had for awhile.”
Mick Walker, Iowa’s chief financial officer for athletics, said that revenue from men’s basketball ticket sales this season will exceed the budgeted $2,740,420. Revenue from men’s basketball ticket sales brought in $2,239,300 in 2010-11 and $2,519,580 in 2011-12.
“They have been loud,” McCaffery said. “They have been engaged. I think they have appreciated this team. They have stuck with these kids. And I appreciate that.”
Marble, whose scoring average has grown from 5.7 points as a freshman to 11.5 as a sophomore and 14.4 this season, is also on the doorstep of a milestone. He needs just two more points to reach 1,000 for his career. His father, Roy, is Iowa’s all-time scoring leader with 2,116 points. The Marbles would become the first father-son tandem in Big Ten history to reach the 1,000-point mark.
Iowa won at least 20 games in each of the four seasons Roy Marble played from 1983-1987, and Carver-Hawkeye Arena was usually sold out. Twenty-win seasons and NCAA bids were taken for granted.
But things had taken a dramatic turn south when Devyn signed a letter of intent with the Hawkeyes in the fall of 2009. Asking about playing in the morgue Carver-Hawkeye Arena had become during his freshman season, and Marble acknowledged the atmosphere with a smile and a chuckle.
But there’s a pulse in the arena now, and it’s made it easier for the Hawkeyes to win games.
“It makes everybody’s job a lot easier when you have that kind of support behind you,” Marble said.
WHO: Nebraska (14-16, 5-12 Big Ten) at Iowa (19-11, 8-9 Big Ten)
WHERE: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City
TIPOFF: 1:20 p.m.
TICKETS: Sold out
TELEVISION: Big Ten Network
RADIO: WHO-AM (1040) and Hawkeye Radio Network
STAT LEADERS: For Nebraska — Dylan Talley 14.3 ppg, Brandon Ubel 6.7 rpg, Talley 2.5 apg; for Iowa — Devyn Marble 14.4 ppg, Aaron White 6.2 rpg, Anthony Clemmons 3.2 apg.
ABOUT THE CORNHUSKERS: Nebraska is 11th nationally in fewest turnovers, averaging just 10.8 per game.
ABOUT THE HAWKEYES: Iowa is 15-2 at home this season, with both losses coming to rated foes Indiana and Michigan State. The Hawkeyes have a 16-game winning streak against unranked foes. Nebraska won at Iowa last season, 79-73.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Marble needs two points to reach 1,000 for his career. He will join his father and Iowa’s career scoring leader, Roy, as the only father-son tandem in Big Ten history to reach 1,000 points. “I think that would be awesome for Dev, and for Roy,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.
TRUTH IN NUMBERS
How Iowa’s attendance has headed north since Fran McCaffery became coach in 2010-11:
All Games — Big Ten Games
2009 -10 —– 9,550 — 10,266
2010-11 —– 11,635 — 12,191
2011-12 —– 11,908 — 13,254
2012-13 —– 13,312 — 14,258
Actual scanned attendance
All Games Big Ten Games
2009-10 —– 5,160 — 6,482
2010-11 —– 7,256 — 7,823
2011-12 —– 7,280 — 9,512
2012-13 —– 8,314 — 10,188
Statistics provided by University of Iowa athletic ticket office
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball