They may not be a part of the madness, but Georgia Tech sure is having fun in the NIT postseason tournament.
While a lot of it has to do with the play of the Yellow Jackets, who have advanced to the NIT quarterfinals, head coach Josh Pastner has been doing his part to bring a rejuvenated energy to McCamish Pavilion.
Sunday, the Yellow Jackets played a noon game against Belmont. With such an early start and the students beginning their spring break, Pastner took it upon himself to come up with some incentives to draw a good crowd.
Pastner purchased 1,800 Krispy Kreme doughnuts to giveaway as students entered the stadium; Krispy Kreme doubled the amount for free, according to the team. Considering that a dozen doughnuts cost $7.99 from the popular doughnut chain, plus an 8% percent tax, Pastner must have spent roughly $1,295 just on doughnuts.
That's on top of him paying for the students' tickets for the last two games. Student tickets are $4. The last two games had 1,825 total students attend. That's $7,300 out of Pastner's pocket if he really did pay for the tickets like he claims.
That means Pastner has paid about $8,595 to draw good crowds to the tournament not known for its madness.
It appears to have been worth it.
“I cannot say enough about the crowd. There was so much positive energy in the building.” - @GTJoshPastner— GT Men's Basketball (@GTMBB) March 19, 2017
Pastner said he's willing to go broke to get these crowds. But he's no where close to that. This year alone, he's made $1.6 million, according to his contract, plus bonuses from making the NIT, winning ACC Coach of the Year and other accomplishments.
The Jackets go on the road to Oxford, Miss. to face Ole Miss in the NIT quarterfinals on Tuesday. Who knows what Pastner will pull to draw a good road crowd.
Our best guess: Paying for busses to transport the students to Oxford and back.
*Editor's note: An earlier version of this story used an incorrect price for the student tickets. The general admission price was accidently used.
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