Puerto Rico Tip-Off: good hoops, small crowds so far

Another made-for-TV tournament

November 18, 2011|By Jeff Barker | The Baltimore Sun

The Puerto Rico Tip-Off is very much a made-for-TV event (what isn’t these days?). Which makes it strange to actually be here live. Not that I’m complaining, but I feel like a prop. A stage set with a laptop.

Here’s what I mean:

The Coliseo de Puerto Rico normally seats more than 14,000. Maybe it will attract that many for the coming Demi Lovato concert. But for college basketball? Here’s what you could tell, even from watching on TV, about attendance, particularly at yesterday afternoon’s games : there wasn’t any! OK, there were some fans, but many more blue seats than bodies.

Attendance was listed at 5,322 for the Maryland-Alabama game. Maybe the crowds will increase over the weekend. There are some good teams here -- Alabama, Temple, Purdue, Wichita State.

But a black cover is draped over the upper deck at the coliseum because those seats aren’t needed. This event is all about TV.

Let me add this: San Juan has been a friendly host. I love that a local band took the time to learn a few Maryland songs. I do hope the locals are enjoying themselves.

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