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Iowa had twice as many fans as any of the other eight NIT games Tuesday

This news story was published on March 14, 2012.
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Mike Hlas, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa –

NIT Fever was contained to one place in America Tuesday night, though the National Invitation Tournament had nine games from coast to coast.

That place? Iowa City, Iowa.

The Iowa-Dayton game drew a crowd of 13,190 hungry-for-postseason-basketball Hawkeye fans. It was the first postseason game Iowa had played since 2006, and the fans’ hunger was sated with the Hawkeyes’ 84-75 triumph.

No two other NIT crowds Tuesday added up to as much as 11,447. Many were played in gyms that can’t hold 13,190 fans, but no one but Iowa had anything resembling a near-sellout. Well, Seton Hall played its game in its 2,600-seat Walsh Gym as opposed to the 18,000-seat Prudential Center in Newark that it usually uses. The Pirates were almost 1,000 shy of a sellout, though.

Iowa’s crowd was larger than the smallest five combined, as the following numbers detail:

The crowds:

Iowa 13,190 for Dayton

Tennessee 6,289 for Savannah State

Oregon 5,189 for LSU. Oregon hosts Iowa in the quarterfinals Sunday at 4 p.m., Central time.

Middle Tennessee State 4,556 for Marshall

Washington 2,801 for Texas-Arlington. Washington was the regular-season Pac-12 champion, and is the No. 1 seed in Iowa’s region.

Mississippi State 2,507 for Massachusetts

Northwestern 2,319 for Akron

Seton Hall 1,674 for Stony Brook

Stanford 1,339 for Cleveland State.

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