The 2014 year for college basketball was quite extraordinary. It began with an influx of arguably the most talented freshman class in over a decade. Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid brought their games to Kansas, while Jabari Parker and Julius Randle planted their flags at storied programs Duke and Kentucky, respectively. All four freshmen lived up to the extraordinary hype, leading their respective teams to the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately for Wiggins, Embiid and Parker, the tournament did not bring the same amount of success as the regular season as both teams failed to make it to the second weekend. Randle, however, led his team all the way to the championship game and it appeared the freshman would be able to cut down the nets, a la Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from two years previous.
But it was not to be, as the Cinderella Connecticut Huskies, a 7th seed led by the outstanding play of Shabazz Napier, held off the Wildcats for a 60-54 victory. The Huskies began the year on a torrid winning streak, including an impressive home victory over the Florida Gators, which catapulted them into the top 10. They struggled a bit midseason, falling out of the top 25, but regained some steam later in the year and ended up ranked in the top 20 for most of February and early March.
Though they were given a 7 seed, UConn looked like a formidable foe entering the tournament. After narrowly defeating St. Joseph’s in the second round, they beat #2 seed Villanova to advance to the Sweet Sixteen and never looked back. They delighted the UConn following at Madison Square Garden for the regional finals with victories over Iowa State and Michigan State. And in Dallas, they defeated Florida for the second time of the season, and deposed of Kentucky to take home the university’s fourth Men’s National Championship.
For a team that was frequently positioned well during the season, UConn never saw much of an increase in ticket prices on the secondary market. Their highest prices home game was against the Louisville Cardinals on January 18th at $168 and tickets remained rather steady throughout the season. And fans can probably expect 2014-15 to be somewhat similar. Although they are coming off of a national championship run, Napier and Deandre Daniels, another key cog in last year’s team, have both moved on to the NBA.
Several teams saw pretty significant increases in average ticket price as last season progressed, especially teams with rivalry games taking place towards the tail end of the year. For example, Parker’s Duke squad had just one game with an average ticket price above $200 before conference play kicked in (that one game was against Michigan on December 3rd.) Once conference play began, every game had an average ticket price north of $315 except for a matchup against Wake Forest on February 4th.
Similarly, Kentucky tickets had an average ticket price of just $117 before Christmas. However, each game in 2014 had an average ticket price north of $125, as well as the December 28th showdown with Louisville that had an astounding $899 average ticket price. With the Wildcats expected to field another good team in 2014-15, chances are you’ll see a similar increase in ticket prices as the season progresses.