By Zachary Baru
UNCASVILLE - The 2017 Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament began Saturday drawing fans from all over, both regionally and nationally, in the first day of the weekend-long event.
With teams from Boston College, Texas Tech, Northwestern, La Salle, South Alabama, Maine, Sacred Heart and St. Peter's, fans traveled from well-beyond Connecticut for the tournament. This was most apparent during game 2, when Northwestern faced La Salle.
One might think that an Illinois-Pennsylvania math-up in Connecticut would be dominated by La Salle fans, but the opposite proved to be the case Saturday afternoon. The stands in the 9,323-seat Mohegan Sun Arena had plenty of purple, as the game turned into a virtual home contest for Northwestern.
It was clear how passionate Northwestern fans are, only adding to the excitement of a neutral site tournament. Perhaps the number of supporters on hand helped, as Northwestern topped La Salle 82-74.
Every year at the Tip-Off Tournament seems to have a theme - one long-distance team seems to always bring in more fans than any other, many times more than some of the smaller-conference local teams.
No team, however, had more representation than game 1, when Boston College faced Texas Tech. Plenty of BC fans made the trip down Interstate 95 to Mohegan Sun, in what was the largest attended game of the night. While an official attendance was not available at the time of this article, it was clear that this game, even being the earliest of the four match-ups, was the highest attended.
The early afternoon crowd, however, was not enough to help BC, as the Eagles fell to Texas Tech 75-64.
Check back all weekend on Western Mass.Sports Biz, as there will be tournament coverage each day from the Mohegan Sun Arena.
Zach Baru can be followed on Twitter @zbaru, and reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Zach also writes for Sports Business Boston.