INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The build-up for the 2007-08 University of Memphis basketball campaign began last summer, and Tiger Nation responded in a big way all season long.
For the fifth time in John Calipari's eight years, the Memphis ranked among the NCAA's top 10 in basketball attendance, as the Tigers' set a school record for total paid attendance in 2007-08. Memphis drew a record 351,718 in paid attendance over 21 games during the season. The Tigers' previous season paid attendance record was 340,723 in the 2001-02 year (21 games).
Last year, the Tigers averaged 16,748 per game to rank 10th nationally. The average attendance was the second-highest mark in Memphis school history, as the Tigers averaged 17,110 in Calipari's first year in 2000-01 (17 games).
Since Calipari's arrival in 2000-01, Memphis also ranked in the top 10 in NCAA attendance in 2000-01 (6th), 2001-02 (10th), 2002-02 (7th) and 2003-04 (10th). The 2005-06 (13th) and 2006-07 (16th) seasons both ranked in the top 20 in NCAA attendance.
The attendance figures have translated into a huge homecourt advantage for the Tigers. In the Calipari era, Memphis has a 134-18 record (.882 winning percentage) at home, including games at The Pyramid and FedExForum. In their four years at FedExForum (2005-08), the Tigers have a 74-9 mark (.892 winning percentage).
In 2007-08, Kentucky led the nation in attendance, averaging 22,554 fans per game. North Carolina (20,497), Syracuse (20,345) and Tennessee (20,267) were second, third and fourth, respectively, in attendance.
Last season, Memphis had nine games that drew over 17,500, including a FedExForum record crowd of 18,864 for the Tigers' thrilling 85-71 win over Georgetown.
For all-game attendance (home, road, neutral), Memphis ranked third nationally with total attendance of 644,435. Kansas and North Carolina were first and second, respectively, in that attendance category.
The Tigers drew record attendance on the road all season, especially in Conference USA play. Memphis played six of its eight C-USA road games before capacity (or larger) crowds at Marshall, Tulsa, Houston, UAB, Tulane and Southern Miss.
Memphis finished the 2007-08 campaign with an NCAA record 38 wins (38-2 record) and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament championship game. The Tigers, ranked No. 1 in both national polls for a school-record five-straight weeks during the season, swept the Conference USA regular season and tournament titles for a third-straight year.