For the first time, the Baltimore Arena will host the Colonial Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament beginning this Friday night as the #8th seeded Hofstra Pride takes on #9 seeded UNC Wilmington for the right to be smashed real good by the #1 seeded Delaware Blue hens Saturday at noon.
Another game of note on Saturday’s card includes the hometown #2 seeded Towson Tigers taking on James Madison (11-19, 6-10) with an approximate 6 PM tip-off. The Tigers (22-9, 13-3) are riding a monster heater heading into the tourney as they finished up a fantastic regular season with a dramatic buzzer beating win over William & Mary 70-68 on Senior Day. They swept both regular-season matchups with JMU (80-71, 69-66).
The Tigers enter the tourney riding a modest six-game winning streak, but have won 15 of their last 18 games overall. In fact, since losing at Delaware January 25, the Tigers have only lost a rescheduled game at UNCW that was postponed because of a — wait for it — snow event.
But their overall record and two-month heater probably wont get them an at-large bid to the NCAA’s as their all important RPI is 104 at print time. Even the #1 seeded Delaware squad is only guaranteed an NIT invite as the regular season champion, but would still need to win the CAA tournament to receive the automatic bid.
So with all this being said, Coach Pat Skerry and the best under the radar player in the country, Jerrelle Benimon, need to use the old adage of “survive and advance” this coming weekend. If they find a way to get by the Dukes of JMU, they would advance to play the winner of the William & Mary/College of Charleston winner Sunday at 5 p.m. And of course if they survive and advance in that one, they would play for all CAA marbles and an automatic NCAA bid Monday at 7 p.m. televised on ESPN 2. (Full schedule below).
So get out and support the team with the best local shot at making the dance right here.