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Texas Tech Hoops | VTM Staff Weekly Roundtable (Week #10)

Different thoughts and opinions from the VTM staff members on certain questions and topics about the Red Raiders basketball team. This week we discuss spectacular student turnout and fan excitement at the Baylor game.

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Tubby Smith bought lunch for students in the SUB on Wednesday and really tried to spread the word around campus about the basketball game against Baylor. Everyone that cared, including football players, got behind him and promoted the game. An astounding 3,320 Tech students showed up (2nd largest student crowd ever at the United Spirit Arena). Tech stunned #12 Baylor and came away with a convincing victory. After the game much of the thanks by the coaches and players were to all the rowdy fans that came out and supported the effort. How do we replicate the fan excitement and turnout for home games? Will the United Spirit Arena be pumped up like it was for the Baylor game in any other home games this season?

Seth - Fans are fickle, so they tend to follow teams that win. For Texas Tech and Tubby Smith, getting out with the fans and buying them lunch is just a fantastic idea to get the students involved. I've always thought that student attendance is so easy and the players work hard and are likable. The fact that Smith is out there pounding the pavement and buying students lunches is exactly what this program needs. The more I think about it, the more I think that Texas Tech is pretty danged lucky to have a head coach in Tubby Smith. In writing my game analysis, I didn't even talk about the masterful coaching job that he did in carving up that Baylor defense. Just have to be patient, but it's gong to happen.

SARR - I think it's almost a chicken and egg sort of thing. The teams want to stands to fill up so they can feed off of the energy, but the fans want to watch a quality product. There's definitely some give and take there. I bet if you graphed it out you'd see a correlation between an increase in attendance and improved play on the court. Hopefully the win over Baylor will serve as the catalyst for the graph lines to begin trending upwards. Better play leads to more fans leads to better play leads to more fans...

I remember in the 80's there would be about 3 people at a Lady Raiders game. But in the early 90's it was the hottest ticket in town. Marsha Sharp built her program and everyone wanted to see it. I really hope this is what Tubby is building towards.

MikeTTU - Usually I arrive the games about 15 minutes before tip-off, get pretty close seats and cheer on our Red Raiders.Not this time. I had to stand in a line with a few hundred people to get in the area. Luckily I will able to navigate my way through the crowd and find good seats. The atmosphere was like that of a football game, with constant standing, cheering and every positive moment and booing stuff that shouldn't have been booed. When the buzzer rang, I rushed on to the court with my fellow students and celebrated the most meaningful victory in Lubbock for a long time. Now, I don't see Tubby going to the SUB to buy Chick-Fil-A for every home game to get people to come out, but I think the attendance won't die back down to of that before the season. It's conference play, the students now know we can win, and the constant promotions always brings in students. It won't be like we saw on Wednesday, but expect to see a good amount of students there the rest of the way.

kevinkinsler - The crowd looked fantastic on tv! I think that it will slowly get a little easier to get a raucous crowd after that showing, as winning a game like that can give the student base a much stronger reason to believe they'll be a part of something special in the future. That said, I don't know that this one game will give us enough momentum to get great crowds without that extra effort yet. Next home game will be better than before Baylor, but we'll need to keep some momentum for the crowds to build more organically. Still gonna be a fight to keep all those paying customers around...

DanSwany - Of course part of the answer is always to win games and people will come. But, I think it is more than that with our basketball program. I applaud the efforts put forth by Tubby Smith and supporters to go out and spread the word on campus that #12 Baylor was coming to town. He had to make a statement besides just walking around talking to students; he whipped out his credit card and bought a whole lot of students free lunches. Who doesn’t appreciate a free lunch? It worked, but I don’t see Coach Smith handing out free lunches for every home game.

Tech needs to run some more promotions to get fans interested in going out to the games. The other night SMU rolled out a “Let it Ride” promotion for their basketball team. The fans bought a ticket to the game for $30 and if the Mustangs won the fan would get a free ticket to the next home game (and on, and on) until the team loses. Right now Tech could get creative with getting fans to the arena. Tech should not be interested in making a profit on selling seats right now, they should be interested in getting fan support and excitement back at the games like on Wednesday night.

The higher ranked teams will always bring in a bigger crowd. I don’t expect as big of a turnout to all the home games, though students will always show up to see a rivalry game like UT. Our home court crowd is a huge advantage because we have some of the most passionate fans in the nation. I would like to see Tech create a way to make everyone aware of how awesome our basketball team is to watch.