ANN ARBOR — It was no surprise that Crisler Center was full for Michigan’s matchup with North Carolina in November. Ditto for the Big Ten opener against Purdue the following Saturday.
Then Michigan sold out of tickets for the game against South Carolina, a team that arrived with a .500 record. The same thing happened when Western Michigan visited on Saturday. And Michigan has announced that the next two home games, Saturday against Air Force and Dec. 30 against Binghamton, have also sold out.
That gives Michigan six straight home sellouts, the longest streak since the 2013-14 season, according to a team spokesperson, when the program sold out 11 consecutive games at Crisler. The program is on pace to exceed the 14 sellouts recorded that season.
The Wolverines’ success last season, when they won a program-record 33 games, captured the Big Ten Tournament title, and reached the national championship, certainly helped.
Michigan sold nearly 11,000 season tickets for this season, the most since the 2000-01 season. The figure represented 85 percent of Crisler’s capacity of 12,707.
The Wolverines started the season ranked No. 19 in the AP poll and have exceeded voters’ expectations.
They won at Villanova in the third game of the year, dominated North Carolina, and are 11-0 after Saturday’s win. Michigan is ranked No. 4 in the country.
The success has left many fans searching third-party sellers for tickets. The cheapest tickets on those websites went for about $30 for the Western Michigan game. Tickets are closer to $20 for the games against Air Force and Binghamton.
On his radio show Monday night, Michigan head coach John Beilein was asked about the Crisler crowds. “When I walk out of the tunnel, the first thing I can see is the second deck,” Beilein said. “There have been a few days — not many of them — that that’s been empty. When I see it full, it’s great. You can feel it right at the beginning.”
Michigan is 7-0 at home this season. In addition to the two remaining nonconference games, Michigan has nine Big Ten home games left, starting with Penn State on Jan. 3. Indiana, Northwestern, Minnesota, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Maryland, Michigan State, and Nebraska also visit Crisler.
Between the North Carolina and Purdue games, Beilein was asked about the potential of consistently filling seats at Crisler. “As long as we’re winning at the rate we’ve been winning at, it’s going to stay pretty strong,” he said. “But fans have a lot of other options. We’ve got to keep winning.”