BLOG: Surprising number of empty seats for the final

BLOG: Surprising number of empty seats for the final

March 9th, 2009 by David Uchiyama in Blogs

In McKenzie Arena, less than five minutes before tipoff of the Southern Conference basketball championship, there must be an auto accident downtown or a lot of people plan on showing up at halftime.

There are plenty of good seats still available for the game between the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the College of Charleston.

ESPN broadcasters Brad Nessler and Jimmy Dykes form one of the best duos on the network, but there's nothing like watching a championship game live and in person.

In 2005, when the Mocs beat UNC Greensboro for the championship, the attendance was 7,243. There's not quite that many empty seats as of 6:57 p.m.

Tournament and championship games are loaded with interesting stats. Here's a few floating around:

- Tonight's officials are Tony Greene, Jamie Luckie and Gary Maxwell, an experienced and respected crew. They've combined to officiate 66 NCAA tournament games since March of 1997.

Here's some game-specific stuff.

- This is UTC's 17th final appearance in 32 tournaments, and UTC is 9-7 in the previous 16. Five of those appearances have come this decade, and UTC is 1-4 in those title tilts.

Here's some individual information.

- Stephen McDowell loves McKenzie Arena. The senior guard is averaging 21 points and shooting 50.8 percent from the field and 49.7 percent from the arc and averaging 4.6 3s per game on his home floor.

And here's something for the UTC record book.

- Nicchaeus Doaks and Khalil Hartwell have combined for 526 rebounds this season. The senior starters passed the duo of Chris Mims and Johnny Taylor, who had 514 between them in the Sweet 16 run of 1996-97.