Brownell hoping for a bounce-back in the student section for tonight's Miami game

'Our students have been kind of come and go. We have to continue to motivate them and...make sure they understand what we have'

Basketball - Over 9,800 fans filled Littlejohn Coliseum for the Duke - Clemson game

Photo by Mark Crammer

Basketball - Over 9,800 fans filled Littlejohn Coliseum for the Duke - Clemson game

There's nothing wrong with the color purple.

But it's the last thing that Brad Brownell and his Tigers want to see when they leave the tunnel and enter the arena at Littlejohn Coliseum.

Littlejohn's purple seat backs were in plain view on Saturday, particularly in the student section, when the Tigers nabbed their ninth ACC victory of the season and secured a first-round bye in the upcoming ACC tournament.

While the Tigers have bounced back this season, attendance has not. Clemson averaged 9,465 per game in Oliver Purnell's final season, and 8,289 in Brownell's first year at the helm. Both teams went to the NCAA tournament.

Attendance dropped again to 7,828 in 2011-12, increased slightly to 7,887 last season, and now has dropped again this year, to 7,236 with two home games remaining.

Brownell is hoping for a better crowd tonight when Miami visits for an 8 p.m. game, with the Tigers trying for their 10th league win and a return to the NCAA tournament still in play.

Brownell was asked about the attendance issue during the ACC coaches' teleconference on Monday.

"We don't have bad crowds, but we're not 10,000 strong every night either," Brownell said. "Student attendance has kind of come and gone. We've had some good nights where we've had really good student attendance and then there have been others like (Sunday) where it was just okay."

Brownell noted that late-season college basketball is competing for attention in an area "where there's a lot of things for people to do right now."

"There are a lot of things going on," he said. "It was a gorgeous day down here. It was 70 some odd degrees and people were outside. There was a baseball game against South Carolina just after the basketball game so I'm sure some people were doing that. I don't think it's unique to our situation. I look at games on TV and go to other arenas and I do think everybody struggles at times to garner student attendance."

While student attendance has been inconsistent, support from season ticket holders has remained strong, Brownell said.

"I think our traditional fans have been very good this year, our season ticket holders, the people that come and support us that aren't students – that fan base has been great all year and really come out pretty well," he said. "I think our students have been kind of come and go. We have to continue to do our best to motivate them and market them and make sure they understand what we have.

"I think with basketball sometimes that we have so many games going on. It's not like with football where everybody comes on a Saturday and there's only one a week. Sometimes it surprises people (that there's a game). This week we have three games in a row. We didn't play at home for a month - we had one home game in 20 ¬some odd days. I think that can lose interest too when all of a sudden your basketball team isn't home for so long and you forget about it a little bit. It's a bunch of different things and I don't think it's unique to Clemson."

Brownell believes fans will like what they see if they'll give the Tigers a chance.

"I think this is a team that plays really hard and has been fun to watch," he said. "Certainly we have one of the most exciting players in all of college basketball in K.J. McDaniels. I said that earlier in the season that if our fans aren't careful, they are going to miss one of the most athletic and special players to play at this school.

"There's not a game that goes by that he doesn't do something that makes you shake your head in amazement. To watch him is special. To watch our team, we kind of have an over-achieving group. Our team competes hard. The collective parts have really blended well together. If you appreciate guys who compete hard and play well together, then you will appreciate this team."

Follow Kerry Capps on Twitter @oandwkc

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Comments » 2

lhaselden writes:

When I was at Clemson we would pick up tickets the day before the game like they do for football the week before. Do they still do that.

84tele writes:

I got three words for the student attendance at bball games this season:

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