The Nassau Coliseum is a finalist to host the MAAC men’s and women’s basketball tournaments beginning in 2020, the conference and Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment confirmed Wednesday. Atlantic City and the Times Union Center in Albany also have bid for a multiyear agreement.
A test run of sorts will be held Saturday when the Coliseum hosts a MAAC men’s tripleheader. Fairfield plays Quinnipiac at 1 p.m., Marist meets Monmouth at 4 p.m. and Iona plays Manhattan at 7 p.m.
“I would say they’re a leading candidate,’’ MAAC commissioner Richard Ensor said of the Coliseum.
The Times Union Center is the current host.
“There’s some predisposition not to go to Albany this next go-round,’’ Ensor said, “so that means it’s either going to be Nassau or Atlantic City. I think there’s a case to be made for both and we’ll see who makes the better case. But Nassau’s in a good position right now and they have an opportunity to show it this Saturday.’’
Iona coach Tim Cluess, who coached in high school and college on Long Island and lives in Floral Park, has been outspoken about moving the tournament from the Times Union Center, home court of Siena.
“Why should we play on a team’s home court,’’ Cluess said. “How is that fair to anybody? Especially when you’re in a one-bid league . . . If you have a better season than them and finish ahead of them, why should you play on their court?’’
Ensor said of Cluess, “He’s been a big proponent of getting out of Albany for a few years and finding a place in the metro New York region. We understand that and that’s part of the reason why we’re doing the tripleheader at Nassau. They’ve submitted a bid. We’re in the process of just reviewing those and we won’t make a decision on that until the [May 31] Council of Presidents meeting. Saturday is a test in a way but it wasn’t designed solely for that purpose. It’s part of an ongoing effort by the Brooklyn group to promote college sports in their buildings.’’
Ensor said the Times Union Center has averaged 4,000-7,000 for the MAAC men’s title game. He would like to see between 6,000 and 7,000 during the MAAC tripleheader.
“Iona-Manhattan’s a pretty good matchup, so you would hope they come out for that,” he said. “So, we’ll see.’’
Iona has won consecutive MAAC championships.
“That would be great if we get any kind of turnout,’’ Cluess said. “I hope it goes well.’’