By Christian Kendzierski
There are many extreme, die-hard sports fans out there, but many of them don’t compare to college basketball fans this time of year. College basketball is often described as exciting, unpredictable, a true sport and most importantly – accessible. Here is a guide to some local universities in Baltimore where a family can afford to go, catch a game, a bite to eat and some of the best edge-of-your-seat athletics around.
Admission: Single game, $8.00 -12.00 at box office; $3 per person for groups of 10 or more
The Towson Tigers are local favorites just north of Baltimore, located in Towson, Md. Towson’s basketball teams, both men and women’s, draw a lot of attention, especially when they go up against long-time rivals from colleges in the Baltimore area. The Tigers play in NCAA Division I and compete in the Colonial Athletic Association. Make sure you wear your gold and black and if you take a group of 10 or more, prices drop to $3 per person, a great deal. Food and refreshments are available.
Cost: Reserved seating $30.00; Upper Level discount $20.00
There is no place with more energy or more fans cheering than the Comcast Center when the Maryland Terrapins are on the court and now is the perfect time to catch a game before the season ends. This is the first season without legendary head coach Gary Williams but all Terp fans have high hopes for new head coach Mark Turgeon. College Park is about a 30 minute ride south of Baltimore, but well worth it. Nothing beats Atlantic Coast Conference play and it is something you and the family will remember for a long time. Go Terps!
General Admission: $5.00; Reserved sections: $10.00-12.00; Children under 4: free
With more than 200 years of history under its belt and a program made great by legendary head coach and collegiate Hall of Famer Jim Phelan, the Mount St. Mary’s University Mountaineers are the team to watch. Now headed up by coach Robert Burke, this Division 1 athletics university never disappoints. For a great family atmosphere and up-close college basketball at its best, it’s well worth the 60-minute drive out to picturesque Emmitsburg, Md. Show up early and see what the university has to offer, including Maryland’s largest solar farm, in walking distance from the sports complex.
Admission: Ticket prices vary
The Morgan State University Bears is one team you can count on in the Baltimore area to grab some national attention. In 2009 and 2010, under the watchful eye of head coach Todd Bozeman, the Bears earned their place into the NCAA Tournament, a big accomplishment that make us locals, very proud. Also in 2009-10 the Bears attained the championship title in their conference, the Mideastern Athletic Conference. They are an exciting team to watch play and with many new buildings on campus, a great place to visit.
The Johns Hopkins University, just north of Baltimore’s downtown district, is not only rich in strong academics but also full of vibrant and competitive sports teams. All sporting events at Hopkins are free and open to the public, except for men’s lacrosse, where tickets are available for purchase. Presently, men’s basketball, NCAA Division 3, is a great team to watch with coach Bill Nelson, who has been a Blue Jay since 1986. His historical reign as head coach makes the games exciting and perfect for a family. Kids will enjoy the Blue Jay mascot that is always good for a laugh. Don’t forget to walk around Hopkins’ beautiful campus and visit nearby shops and restaurants.
Christian Kendzierski spends most of his time as a media specialist at Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland. He also works as a freelance writer and lives in Baltimore. See what’s going in Christian’s world by following him on Twitter @ck1media.