Tip-Off Tournament rides back into Springfield
Published: Saturday, November 06, 2010, 6:15 PM Updated: Saturday, November 06, 2010, 7:08 PM
The return of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame's Tip-Off tournament will provide a sneak peak of what's in store for Rider University in 2012.
The Broncs will be a major player in the Tip-Off, playing two games at campus sites and two at the MassMutual Center, and come 2012 will compete at the MassMutual Center in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament.
"That was part of the attraction, the fact that the MAAC is the host and we were going to represent our league there was important to us," Rider coach Tommy Dempsey said. "We represented our league in the Old Spice Classic a couple of years ago down in Disney and now to have an opportunity to again represent the MAAC in a tournament with really some quality teams in it.
"And just to get a little bit of a sense of our surroundings up there in Springfield, to just get a feel for the lay of the land and the arena, hopefully get to play in there a couple of times this year so when we go up there to play in the MAAC tournament it will be more familiar to our guys," Dempsey added. "It will be a good opportunity to show the people in the Springfield community that we're a good basketball team and that we play really good basketball in the MAAC."
The Broncs will open play in the Tip-Off at the University of Massachusetts on Friday. They'll return to Lawrenceville, N.J. for their home opener against Lafayette on Nov. 14, then fly across the country for a Nov. 17 game at the University of Southern California in their second Tip-Off.
Three days later, Rider will be in Springfield for the first of two games at the MassMutual Center, first on Nov. 20 against Texas Christian and then Nov. 21 against Loyola Marymount.
"We have a team that should be very competitive even against a tough schedule," Dempsey said. "We have six juniors and seniors that have played a lot of minutes and won a lot of games so I think that gives you the confidence to go out and play in these types of tournaments."
The Broncs are a team on the rise under Dempsey. The last three seasons have produced 59 wins, the most victories in a three-year span in program history.
The Tip-Off returns to Springfield after a four-year hiatus, reborn as a multi-team tournament after 26 years as a single-game format.
Five games will be played at campus sites before taking over downtown Springfield with 10 games in three days at the MassMutual Center, beginning Nov. 20.
The first and second days will feature all Division I competition. The final day, Nov. 22, will feature the three area teams competing, beginning with Division III Springfield College against Lyndon State College, followed by Division II American International College against LeMoyne.
The final game will feature UMass and TCU, the third game in as many days for the Horned Frogs.