Old Exhibitions Head to Storage; Schools Scrimmaging Instead

Article excerpt

Byline: Patrick Stevens, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

There is little doubt Maryland is eager to receive its first look against outside competition when it welcomes Indiana (Pa.) to Comcast Center on Tuesday for an exhibition game.

Fans will be there (along with their money). So too will media members. Yet it's a glimpse fewer schools provide thanks to the ascent of the popularity of closed scrimmages.

The Terrapins dabble in both, and a handful of schools, such as Duke, still play a pair of traditional exhibitions - now against lower-division schools rather than traveling all-star teams. Others, such as Virginia Tech, have embraced a scrimmage-only outlook in the preseason.

It doesn't have the same limitations as an exhibition game, Hokies coach Seth Greenberg said. You play an exhibition game, and you never really know who you're playing. You can play three guys who have Seth Greenberg's hairline and two guys that played 20 years ago in America and are just hanging on to a paycheck. If you're scrimmaging Georgetown, you know what you're getting.

The setup is simple. According to NCAA rules, no fans are permitted in the building for scrimmages. Same goes for reporters and recruits, and schools cannot send out releases on the results.

Scrimmages take away a moneymaking opportunity. But down a rung on the college basketball food chain - such as at Drexel, which plays in the 2,532-seat Daskalakis Athletic Center - there isn't the same financial incentive to play an exhibition.

Nobody's going to come watch an exhibition game in the DAC, Drexel coach Bruiser Flint said. Be realistic. When I was at UMass and you were getting 8 to 10,000 people, I can see exhibition games. When you're in the DAC, you're getting 500 people to come see a game that's going to be 105-100 and no defense and you're ticked off at your kids.

There's also a preparation facet involved. Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio, whose team plays one scrimmage and one exhibition, sets up an itinerary before a scrimmage. Ten minutes could be devoted to facing man defenses. Another 10 minutes could be allocated to using role players. There also could be shorter periods for working on specialty situations, such as inbound passes. …