Mancuso: A-10 Needs The Rams To Step Up

Thursday evening two major college college basketball postseason tournaments, the Atlantic 10 Conference and The Big East were divided by the East River.  Barclays Center in Brooklyn and Madison Square Garden played host to March Madness.

And from this perspective, the Big East has been the draw the first two days, Partly attributed to the hometown team, St, Johns, history of the Garden and the tournament, college hoop fanatics preferred Big East basketball  over the Atlantic 10.

Then again, this is all business. For the NCAA and  respective schools that are a making a run at the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament,  this is a focal point of sports in the next few weeks before the start of a new baseball season.

Barclays Center  will host the A-10 Conference championship four of the next five years. That’s a good boost for the New York City economy that also generates revenue every March with the Big East Tournament.

Overall, the crowds flock to Manhattan for the Big East. Madison Square Garden is the Mecca, though Barclays Center gives MSG a run with the competition when it pertains to other sporting events, and that has included an influx of pro boxing shows presented by Premier  Boxing Champions and Showtime. So the Barclays Center has been keeping pace.

However, this is no comparison to where college basketball fans are going. Because the Big East has St. John’s, Seton Hall, powers Marquette, and defending NCAA champion Villanova, the crowd counts at the Garden this week will once again surpass those that are attending the A-10 Tournament in downtown Brooklyn.

Rich Mancuso/ NYSD

The one local interest at Barclays Center, and the A-10, is a school up in the Bronx. Fordham University was eliminated in the opening game Wednesday in a game that went down to the final seconds.  Richmond would beat the Rams 52-50 and advance.

You listen to Fordham coach Jeff Neubauer. Listen to his team that had a rough season losing many games like they did Wednesday night.

“It’s a great venue to have our tournaments,” said Neubauer about the Barclays Center. “We’re very lucky to be here in New York and I’m very lucky to coach in New York, so thank you.”

Though the Fordham-Richmond contest was played before a sparse crowd. Two games that opened the A-10 Tournament, that concludes Sunday with the championship final, drew a little more than 4,000. The winner Sunday gets that automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, “The Big Dance.”

This by all means does not mean the A-10 Tournament is dull, or has a lack of interest. The conference has sent three or four teams to the tournament the past five years which speaks volumes.

But the Big East plays in the Garden and has that reputation as a prime league in college basketball.  The competition is the Big East across the river and that also speaks volumes. As for Fordham, the local team in the A-10, there is that continued impatience to be that premiere and home team at the Barclays Center,

“This is a great venue,” reiterated Neubauer. “And that’s regardless of where your team is from. To play in Barclays is really cool.”

The realty is simple. It is up to the Fordham Rams to be the home team in their tournament.  The alumni at Rose Hill await that day. And something says the hierarchy among the Atlantic-10 Conference are also waiting and patiently for that day to come.

Comment: [email protected]  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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