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Boston U dilemma: Is two hoop homes better than one?

Is it a good idea that Boston University plays home basketball games at two places?
Boston University has a luxury few schools can claim. They have two facilities that can be used for basketball home games. Most of the men’s and women’s games are played at cozy 36-year old Case Gymnasium, an 1,800 seat facility that rarely seems to fill up.

A couple of times each winter, the Terriers move over to three-yeard old Agganis Arena to play a game. Although this facility is used mainly for the school’s powerhouse men’s hockey team, it can hold 7,200 for basketball and has something Case doesn’t have: suites.

Last year, the Terriers played two games at Agganis, drawing 6,237 folks. They played 11 times at Case, known around town simply as The Roof, and assembled 9,109 spectators. You don’t have to be a math major to figure which place draws better.

As the 2008-09 season approaches, Matt Whitrock, a columnist for the Daily Free Press, the independent student newspaper at BU, has decided to make the case the school should forget about Agganis and stick with Case.

It’s an interesting theory but one that ignores some basic math: it’s hard to keep D-I basketball programs afloat when you average 828 spectatoras a home game, last year’s numbers at Case.

When it comes to basketball, BU ranks near the bottom of the totem pole in fan interest. And, while there is always something to be said for atmosphere, ADs need to balance the checkbook at the end of the year. Playing a few games in the bigger arena (with bigger crowds) helps achieve that goal. The school hasn’t released its entire 2008-09 schedule yet. But the six-game non-conference home slate is even divided between the two homes. Case will be host to St. Peter’s, Yale and Delaware while some bigger basketball names — George Washington, Marshall and Holy Cross — will play at Agganis.

Whitrock, however, seems undeterred. His case for moving all games to Case is here.