If you’re a college basketball fan, get in your car tonight and head over to Wilkens Ave. and make your way to the RAC Arena on the campus of UMBC.
It’s Towson vs. UMBC at 7:05. Battle of the point guards. Battle of the power forwards. Battle of the coaches.
Battle of the Beltway.
Towson comes into the game in dire need of a victory. Even though it’s a non-conference game, this represents another major test for Pat Kennedy’s team and could get them back on solid footing after a dismal weekend in Philadelphia that saw them lose by 17 to Villanova (Friday) and 24 to Penn State (Saturday) in the Hoop Group Classic at The Palestra. On top of that, Towson’s CAA schedule starts on Saturday night when Hofstra visits the Towson Center.
It’s time for the Tigers to start making some noise.
But the RAC and the UMBC Retrievers aren’t gracious hosts these days, as Towson will most certainly find out on Wednesday night if they’re not ready to play at tip-off.
UMBC boasts two of the America East’s best players in guard Jay Greene and forward Darryl Proctor…guys that could play for any team in the CAA…and even though they’re not as deep as the team that advanced to the NCAA tournament last spring, this year’s edition of UMBC hoops is experienced and well-connected to coach Randy Monroe’s style of play.
Towson’s point guard situation remains unsettled as Kennedy and his staff have given the job to freshman Troy Franklin, but the Mt. Carmel HS product has been hot and cold early on in ’08-09, getting into early foul trouble in a couple of games and lacking the size to go against bigger guards at the Division 1 level.
Size won’t be an issue on Wednesday though…Jay Greene might be a hair smaller than Franklin, actually, but what he lacks in size Greene makes up for in skill, effort and court savvy.
The battle between Proctor and Towson’s Junior Hairston should be interesting. Proctor is bigger, Hairston more athletic. Both are workhorses. Hairston was the one guy in Philadelphia last Friday who didn’t seem afraid of Villanova. They needed five or six more Junior Hairston’s last Friday night at The Palestra, unfortunately. Proctor can finesse you if necessary – and fight you on the next trip down the court. If Greene is the engine of the UMBC team, Proctor is the chief mechanic. When something breaks down, he’s always there to fix it.
These “Beltway Battles” don’t come along often, so take advantage of this opportunity tonight to see two of Baltimore’s best local programs go head-to-head at a terrific college basketball venue on the campus of UMBC.
It’s “WNST Night” as well. You can go to WNST.net and download a $6.00 coupon that you can redeem at the RAC box office tonight – and the first 100 people to redeem the coupon get a $10.00 gift card to Uno Chicago Grill.
The red-hot UMBC women’s team led by back-to-back America East Rookie of the Week Katie Brooks will play host to Navy at 4:30 pm, so come out early and watch Phil Stern’s Lady Retrievers (the school would rather us not call them that but, frankly, I don’t know what else to call them…) in action before the big showdown between Towson and UMBC.
Oh, and one more thing: A few of the UMBC women’s players will take on Nestor and Brian Billick in a shooting contest during halftime of the UMBC-Towson game. There’s a rumor that Bob Haynie might be in attendance and maybe, just maybe, “Hoops Haynie” will make a halftime appearance to rescue the good name of WNST in the shooting contest. I’m not expecting much from Nestor and The Coach.
Please join us tonight for a great evening of college basketball. Download your $6.00 ticket coupon and exchange it at the RAC Box office tonight and we’ll see you at the game!