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Chicago is 8th-best overall basketball city but ranks low in NCAA fan interest

Fans watch the game of the Loyola University Chicago Ramblers versus the University of Michigan Wolverines NCAA Final Four game at the March Madness watch party March 31, 2018, at Gentile Arena at Loyola University Chicago. Loyola lost 69-57 to Michigan. Victor Hilitski/For the Sun-Times

With the lone exception of Loyola during the month of March, Chicago basketball didn’t give fans a lot to cheer about last season. But that doesn’t mean the Windy City isn’t still a top-10 basketball city.

Of the 291 cities reviewed, Chicago is ranked the No. 8 overall best city for basketball fans, according to WalletHub.

While Chicago checked in as the No. 9 best NBA city, it was middle of the pack when it came to college basketball (No. 111).

And let’s face it: College basketball doesn’t make waves in Chicago unless a team makes the NCAA Tournament (Sorry, DePaul). In fact, Chicago has the third lowest engagement among college basketball fans, according to WalletHub.

To put it into perspective, look at the Loyola bandwagon last season.

Although Loyola upset then-ranked No. 5 Florida in December, the Ramblers didn’t capture Chicago’s attention until the team managed to pull off four consecutive upsets in March Madness, which sent Loyola to its first Final Four appearance since 1963.

Source: WalletHub

Brief breakdown of the overall best and worst basketball towns:

Best for Basketball Fans

1. Los Angeles, CA
2. Boston, MA
3. Oakland, CA
4. San Antonio, TX
5. Salt Lake City, UT
6. Miami, FL
7. Oklahoma City, OK
8. Chicago, IL
9. Cleveland, OH
10. Philadelphia, PA

Worst for Basketball Fans

282. Fairfax, VA
283. Jonesboro, AR
284. Lynchburg, VA
285. Colorado Springs, CO
286. Hackensack, NJ
287. Riverside, CA
288. Pocatello, ID
289. Clinton, SC
290. Dayton Beach, FL
291. New Britain, CT

Other findings:

The United Center is the third least accessible NBA stadium behind the Staples Center in Los Angeles and Madison Square Garden in New York.

The Bulls also have the third highest average ticket price behind the Lakers and Knicks, respectively.