Morgan State @ Towson, Towson Center, Towson, MD – February 21
UMBC @ Rider, Alumni Gymnasium, Lawrenceville, NJ – February 21
Loyola College @ Drexel, Daskalakis Athletic Center, Philadelphia, PA – February 21
In case you missed it, earlier this week ESPNU announced the pairings for their seventh annual BracketBuster event. The two-day slate of games featuring 51 games including teams from 17 different conferences is truly a celebration of mid-major college hoops. The weekend of February 20th and 21st will be ruled by college basketball’s little guys and Baltimore will be right in the middle of the action.
It’s phenomenal that the folks at ESPN decided to match-up Todd Bozeman’s Bears and Pat Kennedy’s Tigers. These two North Baltimore foes will lock-up for the 23rd time with the series tied at 11 games apiece. Bragging rights are directly on the line
The reason why I think it’s so great is because it gives a team like Towson something else besides their conference tournament to look forward to. It’s an impromptu late-season big-time backyard rivalry game.
While I love spontaneity as much as the next guy, I suggest taking this game and really running with the idea of a late year Baltimore-Baltimore match-up, sans the surprise.
Wouldn’t it be great to break up late season monotony with a battle for Baltimore bragging rights?
Imagine a triple-header of games at the 1st Mariner Arena in early February. Take the five Division 1 schools around town, Coppin, Loyola, Morgan, Towson, and UMBC and that leaves you with one spot. While this event would need great organizing to succeed, what would make it great would the participation of the big boys… the University of Maryland Terrapins.
I know, I know, what’s in it for Gary? Why should he leave Comcast during his ACC conference schedule to play a “nothing good can come from this”-type game? Well, I’ll simply offer, it might be good for Coach Williams to show his face around the Harbor a little bit more often. Throughout his whole tumultuous January the center of discussion was recruiting, and more specifically, not recruiting the city well enough. This would be a great event for kids from all over the greater Baltimore area to enjoy. I don’t see how playing an in-state opponent in front of 11,000 people in his state’s largest city could possibly be a bad thing for a program attempting to re-grow some of those grassroots.
The benefit for the locals is obvious in exposure alone. Any local media outlet would be crazy not to ant to put their name on the event and its content in their programming. Not everyone can go to the University of Maryland and play so this would be a great chance for young players to see the unique styles of our area’s coaches and become familiar with their distinct personalities.
You could even involve the high school teams in an All-Baltimore Basketball weekend. The collegiate triple-header could be played on a Saturday or Sunday with varsity squads from all over Baltimore County going out of conference to play on the preceding Friday night.
I don’t know, just a thought…