Massachusetts' D-I basketball teams schedule 3-game tournament
BOSTON -- The Division I college basketball programs in Massachusetts are taking a page out of the Berkshire County high school basketball coaches playbook, and will institute a Coaches vs. Cancer tournament.
The one-day tournament will be played on Sunday, Nov. 10, at TD Garden, and will feature six of the seven D-I teams in the commonwealth. It's something Berkshire County coaches have been doing for a number of seasons.
The only team not included in this one-day hoopapalooza is the newest Division I team, UMass-Lowell, which is being coached by Dalton's Pat Duquette as it moves up from Division II.
"I want to talk to them to see how to make that possible," Duquette said. "Whether it's Providence, or get Brad Stevens and the Celtics, we need an eighth team because seven [isn't] working."
Duquette, along with the new Celtics coach and the rest of the D-I fraternity in the state, were in the Legends Room of the Garden Thursday morning for the Coaches vs. Cancer fund raising breakfast and to announce the tripleheader.
It all starts on Nov. 10 at 12:30 when Northeastern plays Boston University. Derek Kellogg's University of Massachusetts Minutemen will follow against Boston College, while Harvard and Holy Cross will finish the tripleheader at 5:30 p.m.
For UMass, it's a return to the BC schedule. The rivalry game, which has been played every year since 1997, took last year off as BC dropped UMass from the schedule. The Minutemen have only beaten the Eagles twice since 1999 -- winning in 2008 and again in 2012.
Kellogg said he's happy to be a part of this tournament, and not only because everyone knows someone who has been hit by cancer.
"The one thing I don't think they can take away, no matter what happens in conference realignment and the things that happen, is New England basketball," said Kellogg, who is a New Englander through and through after playing at Springfield Cathedral and UMass. "It's a great way to solidify, with a great cause, what basketball means. It gives us kind of a stronghold to say that we're united and we're going to stay together."
The series was kind of an offshoot of the third-annual Division I coaches media day, which has been held for reporters at Boston College and Boston University. It was at the first session where Northeastern coach Bill Coen floated the idea of a Beanpot-like tournament for the D-I college basketball teams in the state.
While the first one has yet to be played, Coen said he's got bigger plans for the future.
"If we can include teams from throughout New England and have a weekend event and invite UConn and Providence to come in and Rhode Island," said Coen, "and make it a really special college basketball event."
All of the D-I coaches involved -- from Kellogg to Holy Cross' Milan Brown and Boston U's Joe Jones -- believe the tournament will be a good thing for basketball.
Boston College coach Steve Donahue, a Philadelphia native, said while this tournament won't rival Philly's Big 5 as far as basketball rivalries is concerned, it will expose fans to high-caliber play.
"I think we're a good basketball team. UMass is a Top 25 team in my opinion. Harvard is a Top 25 team," said Donahue. "Northeastern has a chance to win the [CAA]. We have really good basketball. I think we need to expose the fans in this area to it."
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