Perhaps one of the best crowds at Carver Hawkeye Arena in the last ten years. Post season crowds can be that way in Iowa City. Its not as if the Hawkeyes want to be playing post season games at home, because that means they aren't in the NCAA field of 68. But in a year that didn't offer much promise for post-season basketball, and to reach a tournament that many didn't think they'd be selected for, the NIT is a welcome sight for one of the Big Ten's more dangerous teams.
Iowa was fortunate to host this first-round game as the #7 seed. But the #2 seed Dayton Flyers' home areana was being used to host the NCAA's First Four. The Hawkeyes were the only lower-seeded team to host their first round game. And the fans turned out to support the home town team.
Tonight's crowd was much different than the what they have in the regular season. But it wasn't because many of the season ticket holders did not attend, but it was because the students were absent due to the University's spring break, and many fans who aren't able to attend Iowa Basketball games were able to as tickets went on sale to the general public 30+ hours prior to tip. This was a crowd that was loud and on their feet from the beginning and played the 6th man role better than they have had in years.
It is college basketball and it should be about the students. But this was a livelier crowd than many others during the season and it had the feeling of what it used to be like during some of the better years in the Arena. It is too bad that the students weren't there tonight to feel what it could be like in Carver, as the alums played their role as if it was twenty years ago.
The Hawkeyes now go on the road to play Oregon.