Sleeping With The Enemy: The Tigers Of Towson

Under the covers with the Tigers.

I know what you're thinking: "Wait, it's only Thursday and the Towson game is on Saturday, why are we already getting an SWTE?" Well, let's just say we've got a little surprise for you tomorrow so deal with it. Here to provide insight on all things Towson Tigers is Mid Major Madness, your source for all things mid-majors and madness. You can follow them on the twitters right here. Mid Major Madness, this bud's for you. Let's do this.

Pat Skerry inherited a program on the downswing last season and is currently righting the ship. How do you think Skerry has done so far at Towson?

Well, you can't fault the results so far. He had to start over from scratch last season where none of the players had a ton of experience. This year has been built on the backs of transfers and some encouraging improvement among the returners.

Skerry is bringing 20 years of coaching experience and working with the best in the business (Pittsburgh, Charleston, Providence), but he is basically learning how to be a head coach on the job. That doesn't mean there hasn't been progress. Four wins this season, and the Tigers are already in position for their best season in the last three. Given the way the team has gone, and the conference slumping in general, Towson could get to 10 wins this year.

That said, the Tigers are a long way from being competitive in the conference again, something that hasn't happened since the America East days.


Where do you see Towson finishing in the CAA this season? How do you rank the CAA in the realm of mid-major conferences?

Towson may have gotten a break this season with Hofstra's best players getting a case of sticky fingers. That has decimated the roster and pretty much guarantees that the Pride aren't going to be competing for anything this season. That should give the Tigers at least two wins in the conference this year.

At best maybe they are looking a few more against the likes of James Madison and Old Dominion. But this is a team that is finishing in the bottom tier of the league.

As far as where the CAA ranks? Well, that is a tough one. This was a conference that was supposed to have a Top 25 contender in Drexel, another few top 100 teams in Delaware and George Mason and probably at least an upper half of college basketball profile. Instead the Colonial is looking like a league that is closer in profile to No. 20 overall than No. 13 or 14.

Outside of George Mason, which is doing -- can you say, just OK? -- what else have the Colonial teams achieved? Delaware made the final four in the NIT Season Tip-Off and then collapsed for the next week (they weren't really shooting well before that; they just ran into some slumping teams).

So right now, I see the Colonial is giving us a No. 14 seed in the NCAA Tournament, which is too bad, because this could have been a potential two-bid league.


What is your favorite food and where are you getting it?

I have lost like 60 pounds this year, and my diet has changed a lot, but I still love buffalo wings. And while I like trying them at multiple places, I always end up back at BW3. They aren't absolutely amazing there, they are consistent, which is more than I can say for some other places.

Lame? Maybe, but I get them so rarely these days, I have to go with what I know.


Last season Towson snapped its NCAA record 41 game losing streak, a streak that had gone back to December 28, 2010. Have you done anything interesting during that time?

So I have to come up with something better than the weight loss? I ran a marathon, road-tripped to four different baseball stadiums, made my own Cab blend in Napa, remodeled a kitchen and bathroom, and watched an entire NASCAR race on pit road with one of the teams. Is that enough?

The roadtrip was Detroit on July 4 (Verlander and Cabrera with huge games), Pittsburgh on July 5 (Manny's BBQ and by far the best stadium of all I have been to), Philly on July 6 (cheesesteaks, crab fries and a lot of Yuengling at this one), and then Citi Field (Cubs win, Brooklyn beer, and I finally got my Doc Gooden jersey) on the 8th. The All-Star break stopped us from getting to more.

OK, let's cut the crap. For Georgetown fans, this game as been dubbed the Jerrelle Benimon Bowl, as former Hoya Benimon will be leading the Tigers into Verizon to face his former school for the first time. Talk to us about the significance of the Benimon Bowl from your side of the fence.

I think from Benimon's point of view, this is going to be a much more important game for him on a personal level than it will be for the team. You always want to show the team you left how good you are.

The only issue is that Benimon doesn't have the help for the Tigers to compete against a top 25 or even a top 50 team. They managed to get a win Wendesday against Vermont, a borderline top 100 team, and that was a massive long shot.

Not losing by 30 should be considered a win here.


Other than Benimon, who are the players on Towson that Georgetown needs to be aware of? Top scorers? Rebounders?

I think the biggest threat outside of Benimon is going to be a player you all should be a little familiar with, Providence transfer Bilal Dixon. He has been huge on the boards this year -- maybe against some lesser competition -- but still huge. He is only 6-9 though, so that may not be a factor against the Hoyas.

Marcus Damas has gotten better as a scorer now that his minutes have decreased. He is basically taking and making better shots than when he was on the floor for almost 90 percent of the game. The only other guy you might want to keep an eye on is Mike Burwell, whose shooting ability only kicks in when he gets outside the 3-point line. Make him take a few steps in and he won't be as much of a factor.


How do you see this game playing out? Final score prediction?

If you couldn't tell, this one isn't looking good for Towson. I would honestly expect the Hoyas to come out and grab a big lead early, which should be enough to hold off any random charge by the Tigers.

Benimon is probably going to want to show something, so he will be taking ill-advised shots and potentially killing the offense as much as it appears he is helping it on the scoreboard. Dixon will just be overmatched in the post.

Let's go with 70-55 and imagine that Towson has some chance to keep this one close, maybe with a late run against the Georgetown bench.

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