When it comes to a home-court advantage, few fan bases anywhere have built a better one than at the University of Arizona's McKale Memorial Center, where fans continue to fill the facility at an enviable rate.
Over the last six seasons (2006-07 to 2011-12), the Wildcat men's basketball team has drawn a total of 1,399,955 fans for an average of 13,861 in 101 home dates. In that span, Arizona is the only school in the western half of the U.S. to rank in the top 20 in attendance in each of those seasons (final 2011-12 rankings will not be available until mid-April).
"One of the wonderful things about the University of Arizona is the passion our fans have for our programs across the board," said UA Athletics Director Greg Byrne. "Our men's basketball attendance is just another great example of that passion and support."
Of the 10 arenas in the Western U.S. with capacities of 12,000 or higher (Oregon's Matthew Knight Arena was excluded because it opened in Jan. 2011), Arizona's seating capacity of 14,545 ranks sixth in the region, yet its cumulative attendance and average ranks third, meaning Cat fans fill McKale Center far more efficiently and consistently, as it's 95 percent of capacity figure easily outdistances other facilities that are on average 62-percent full.
In a time of transition for Arizona, where four head coaches have served in that six-season span, no program in the West has filled its arena more consistently, as Arizona is the only school above whose percent of capacity has not dipped below 93 percent of capacity. In fact, the UA's low point in those six seasons is still more than 20 percent better than its nearest competitor.
Arizona's percent of capacity is so strong that it rates more than favorably against college basketball's attendance leaders. Of the five top-finishing schools in the NCAA's men's basketball attendance listings from 2007-2011 (Kentucky, Syracuse, Louisville, North Carolina, Tennessee), only one of those programs – Kentucky – has a higher percent of capacity than Arizona.