Give the CAA tourney a chance this week, ok Baltimore?

March 07, 2014 | Drew Forrester

For years I campaigned with (former) Athletic Directors at Towson University to bring the CAA men’s basketball tournament to Baltimore.

They liked the idea, too, but just didn’t have the wherewithal to initiate a venue change when so many of the conference’s “power schools” were in Virginia and the annual tournament was held in the Richmond.

I’d argue that you could get more people in the Baltimore Arena (11,500) than the Richmond Coliseum (9,000) even though, having been down there for the tournament, I knew firsthand the building was almost never actually filled up with spectators.  In fact, depending on who would advance to the title game, anyone but VCU or ODU in the final would just about guarantee the place would barely be half filled for the Monday night final.  Fortunately for the conference, those two schools factored in the final a lot over the last decade.

Now, with the “big three” gone, the conference has finally shifted its sights north and the CAA tournament begins tonight at the Arena.  It’s the start of a 3-year contract and conference officials will certainly be looking long and hard at the support given to the event both by Baltimore and the schools (nine of them) themselves.

In case you’ve been in a cave since November, Towson University has a very good team and a REAL chance to be playing in the championship game on Monday night.  Jerrelle Benimon captured his 2nd straight CAA Player-of-the-Year award last night on the eve of the tournament, which begins this evening with UNC-Wilmington and Hofstra doing battle.

Towson plays James Madison tomorrow night in their opener at 6pm.

It’s win and move on, lose and go home.

For the Tigers, three wins sends them to the NCAA tournament.

The University of Delaware won the regular season crown and split two games with the Tigers.  They’re seeded #1 in the tournament, while Towson is the #2 seed.

It would be a dream setting for the CAA on several levels if those two were to meet on Monday night.  Delaware would easily travel upwards of 1,000 down I-95 for the final and Towson’s sports community might even come to life and help pack the Baltimore Arena.

On the flip side, if it’s somehow James Madison and Northeastern – for example – on Monday night, there might be 2,000 people in the place.  Might be.

It would be great to see Baltimore put its best foot forward and support the championship tournament of the CAA this weekend.

I’ll be there.  I hope you will be, too.

5 Comments For This Post

  1. charlie Says:

    right on, drew. march madness, live college hoops in a pressure situation? what’s not to like? i’m going.

  2. Mike from Half Moon Bay Says:

    Drew just think how successful it might be if anyone in town other than WNST bothered to cover/promote the event. I’m sure the Sunpapers and the other “sports stations” around town would read your piece and say “Towson plays sports?”

  3. Go Tigers Fan Says:

    Since the whole tournament is on TV, I’d rather stay home to watch then be gouged at Ticketmaster for convience fees, whatever and not pay to watch the games from the nosebleed sections and Monday night is also a work night.

    Go Towson!

  4. John In Westminster Says:

    Frankly, I’d rather see this tournament on Towson’s campus than downtown Baltimore as its more accessible,saving me an hour of travel and probably costs less. As an alum, they used to play the ECAC Conference Tourney at the Towson Center back in the day, so I wish it was held at Towson SECU Arena now. My guess is that there are too few seats now, which is very disappointing because we paid $62 million and didn’t add any seats to the place. Guess when they made the changes, they didn’t want something competing too much with the Baltimore Arena.

  5. Robert Canady Says:

    @John, the CAA doesn’t use campus sites for the tournament, they use Neutral sites. I know try telling that to George Mason, Delaware, Drexel or any other team that had to face VCU in the Richmond Coliseum. But technically it was a neutral site.

    I for one like the tournaments that are held off campus as oppossed to the Patriot Leauge and others that have them in different locations with the higher seeds hosting a home game. While something like that wouuld favor Towson in the early rounds, it doesn’t really create the excitement of four games in one day, like you have at the neutral sites.

    Either way, tickets are very affordable for this CAA Tournament, and it’s not as hard to get to First Mariner as everyone is making it out to be. There will be four great games there tomorrow night and most likely two very good ones on Sunday as well.

    Like Drew..I encourage everyone to get out to the games and support the event. Anytime Baltimore can get a big event, and a conference tourmament in basketball is a big event, it should be supported.

    @GoTigerFan, why not walk up an buy tickets then, I’m not an expert on Ticketmaster, but would there be a fee on a box office ticket. Parking is reasonable, and there will be good seats available in the arena.

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