What we didn't expect - though perhaps we should have with season tickets selling out and down-payments on season tickets increasing so quickly immediately after the hire - that Auburn's attendance would increase to the point that it was the second highest increase in attendance average in the nation.
Auburn fans showed up to see Bruce Pearl's first team. They packed Auburn Arena in the early going. Even crowds during the winter break were fairly large, if a bit quieter. What's biggest (and proven by this ranking) is that they kept coming even when the Tigers struggled.
Auburn's SEC record was less than stellar this season, and the Tigers struggled mightily at times. However, they never appeared to give up. That fight - along with the fiery new head coach - kept the fans coming and kept them in their seats. It was a great sign and hopefully proof that the fans won't abandon this team at the first signs of adversity as many Tiger fans have in the past.
I've seen beat writers say Auburn has proven that if you put a winning product on the court, then the fans will show up. I think last season's team proved that if you just put an exciting product on the floor and a passionate coach to drive the team and the fans, then they will come in droves and give it their all
Football season is right around the corner, but so is basketball season. I know plenty of folks who are anxious for both, now!