Wednesday, February 18, 2009

UHart to host tournaments

As expected, America East announced today that the first combined men's and women's basketball tournament will take place next year at the University of Hartford's Chase Arena. The tourney is set for March 4-7.

The play-in games, quarterfinal and semifinal rounds will be played in Hartford, Thursday through Sunday, before the championship games are played the following weekend at the home of the highest seed.

Both men's and women's play-in games (featuring the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds) will be held Thursday, March 4, while the women’s quarterfinals will follow on Friday, March 5. The men’s quarterfinals will be scheduled for Saturday, March 6 and both the men’s and women’s semifinal tilts will take place Sunday, March 7.

The highest seeds remaining in both the men’s and women’s tournament will host the championship games with the men’s title game on Saturday, March 13 and the women’s final on Sunday, March 14.

A nice move by America East. The decision to combine the tournaments just might provide a short-term boost to both events, both economically and in interest. Fans who would otherwise attend only the men's or women's tournament will be given an opportunity to take in some extra games and it could positively impact their attendance during the following regular season.

For myself, I'll certainly be very interested in attending the Black Bears women's games. Because of time, distance and cost constraints, it just hasn't been possible for me to attend as many other UMaine events as I'd like. It forces some fans to focus their interest. This move will bring more basketball under one roof. And, for a hoop junkie, that's a win-win.

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