The Tipoff Basketball Tournament at Capital Centre, only 2 years old, already is at a financial crossroad.

The four participating teams -- Maryland, Georgetown, American and Navy -- broke even the first year and expect to show a $4,000-$5,000 profit each this season (the format was switched to a one-night doubleheader because of scheduling problems).

That is not enough profit to satisfy Carl James, Maryland's new athletic director, who says: "I don't think any of the four teams wants to play without revenue for the fun of it. We can play games here (at Cole Field House) and do better. We can't afford to play any games or tournaments that are not financially beneficial to our program."

The tournament probably will be held for at least the next two years -- there is a verbal agreement but nothing in writing -- and Frank Rienzo, the Georgetown athletic director, says: "The amount this year was a substantial increase.

"But that is not what we think it can grow to. We will continue to examine it. We decided at the start to play as long as it's in the best interests of the four of us."

Capital Centre has set aside Dec. 4-5 in 1979, and Dec. 2-3 in 1980, for the tournament. The attendance this year was 8,100 for the doubleheader, leaving more than 11,000 revenue-producing seats empty.