Why both UMaine basketball teams schedule D-3, D-2, NAIA2 and USCAA teams for non-conference games.

The University of Maine men’s and women’s basketball double-header was scheduled for tonght, Tuesday, December 5th at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor against non D-1 opponents.

The women now 5-4 (two wins are over a D-3 MMA team and over a NAIA2/USCAA UMFK team) beat D-3 Maine Maritime Academy now 3-3 by a 89-49 score and the men now are 2-7 (1 win over a D-3 team) beat D-3 University of Maine at Presque Isle now 3-4 by 20 points 75-55. Maine lead by 20 at the half and UMPI cut the margin to 9 early in the 2nd half and stayed even in the second half tying Maine in points scored at 35 points apiece. 2 of UMPI wins are over University of Maine @ Machias a NAIA2 division team who Maine plays later this month.

Neither MMA and UMPI offered much if any resistance to a lopsided win for both Orono teams tonight. This playing fellow in state university system teams has more negatives then they do positives.

The one positive

1. Should give coaches a chance to play all of their players and give subs a chance to show what they can do.

The men made it a positive as they played their subs more than the women’s team played theirs and the men’s game was much closer throughout the game then the women’s.

So a positive for the men’s team as their 6’9″ freshmen big played 21 minutes and played in the first half. The women’s 6’5″ freshmen big was the last sub in the game for the Maine women in the 4th quarter and only played 6 minutes. A possible positive that was turned into a disappointing negative.

The negatives

1. They both would get better competition from intra squad games in practice
2. Neither game might draw enough (approximately 800) fans are needed to break even for the cost of putting the games on at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Shiuld be able to draw 800 as it is a men’s-women’s double header and not a single game. The St. Joseph’s-Maine men’s game drew 631 at the “PIT”. The men’s and women’s doubleheader on Oct. 28th at the Cross Insurance Center drew just over 2400 for the first game of the doubleheader the Husson game and 1250 for the second game the women vs. Stonehill. This was a positive and I would say that the double header drew well because of the Husson contingent of fans that showed up for the Husson game and then many left after the men’s game. I would keep Husson on the exhibition schedule and also try to make it a Maine-Husson doubleheader for both schools men’s and women’s teams and play it at the Cross Insurance Center because you know it will draw well because Husson is right there and will always draw well because of the Husson fans supporting their team(s).
3. Possibly losing to these teams like the women did this year to D-2 Stonehill 68-49 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor and like the men did last year losing to the USCCA and NAIA University of Maine at Fort Kent 85-80 at the “PIT”. D-3’s USM (Unversity of Southern Maine) and Husson have defeated the Maine men in past years.

The reason they play these games is because it is hard to get other D-1 teams to come to Bangor or Orono for non-conference games because of the long travel.

However, the Women got 3, D-1 women’s teams….Tulane, Harvard and Dayton to come to Orono and play in the “PIT” (as the Cross-Insurance-Center in Bangor was not available) for 2 non-conference games in their early November tip off tournament. They drew 1054 for 2 semi-final games on the Friday and 855 on the consolation and championship 2 games on Saturday.

So to get enough games they have to schedule D-3 or NAIA colleges.

D-1 teams cannot play D-1 teams for exhibition games before the non-conference schedule begins so they are forced to play D-3, D-2 or NAIA teams for both exhibition games and non-conference games. The NCAA let’s them to play up to 4 non D-1 games in exhibition and non-conference games combined.

This year the Maine men played and beat D-3 Husson @ the CIC 84-63 and St. Josephs’s of Standish, Maine @ “The PiT” 66-54 in exhibition games and will play D-3 UMPI and NAIA2 University of Maine @ Machias in non-conference matchups. Neither UMPI and UMM are as strong as Husson or St. Joe’s. If you are going to play these 4 D-3 schools swap them on the schedule and put the UMPI and UMM games as exhibitions and the Husson and St. Joe’s games as non-conference games.

The women played D-2 Stonehill in an exhibition game and have already played United States Collegiate Athletic Association NAIA member the University of Maine @ Fort Kent beating them 100-40.

I would think that Maine would want to schedule as tough a competition that they can so as to get something out of the games.

Schedule the toughest D-2 schools you can find.

Also, play these games (and the D-3 and NAIA games currently) at the “PIT” on campus as you know you may not probably going to make expenses playing in Bangor for single games.

If you play these games at the “PIT” then they might take over From Fordham’s being the oldest on campus D-1 basketall facility in the country.

Maine might become the oldest on campus site in the country and could use this fact for national publicity.

Also, why not schedule all home games in basketball for both men’s and women’s teams at the “PIT”? Cut costs and create a true home court advantage and create a great atmosphere pro Maine by being able to play their home games in the same facility that they practice in. There is enough seating (1800) to cover most of the home games.

Currently with just 3 rows of bleachers on one side of the floor you could put the old bleachers back that were originally on that side and put additional bleachers on the balcony on the end where the media sit.

Put in comfort soft seats in the balconies.

It could be like the old days, if you are not there at 5:30pm then you probably won’t get in. Standing room only especially for the women’s games.That would be a true home court advantage.

If you really wanted to add more seating just take out the wall between the Gym and the field house and put in end bleacher seating.

It is tough enough to have to play these non-D-1 teams, but to possibly lose money doing so just compounds the negative situation.

Interesting, that NCAA allows the D-1 schools to count the non-conference games against non-D-1 teams (But not the exhibition games) towards the teams win-loss record and team and individual statistics.

Yet, they do not count the games in the team’s final NCAA’s official RPI’s rankings that can be used to select and seed the teams for the big D-1 Men’s and Women’s March Madness “Big Dance” Tournaments in March-Early April.

The only consistency by the NCAA in these rulings or policies are that they are consistently inconsistent.