For the first time in 22 years, we have a game on the schedule between Maryland and Georgetown, two powerhouse basketball programs in the D.C. area.
Georgetown will be squaring off with Maryland during the Gavitt Tipoff Games, an eight-game event held in November to help kick off the season. In 2015-16, the two will be playing at the XFinity Center in College Park, Maryland, while the Washington Post says that the 2016-17 Gavitt Games will feature the two teams squaring off at the Verizon Center.
“This is something that possibly could have been done a couple of years ago,” Georgetown head coach John Thompson III said in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. “We’re just glad we’re here now and ready to move forward. We don’t need to talk about all of the ghosts of the past.”
The last time the two programs played was back in 2008, when Georgetown beat Maryland 75-48 in the Old Spice Classic. The last time the two “rivals” squared off on one another’s home court was back in 1993. They also squared off in the Sweet 16 back in 2001. Those are the only three games the two schools have played since 1980.
“It’s a series we both wanted to get started back up again,” Thompson said.
The source of the beef stems from that game in 1993. Maryland won in overtime in a game played at the Capital Centre, then the home court of the Hoyas. Lefty Driesell said that the next matchup between the two should be played in College Park. John Thompson Jr. believed the 1993 game was played at a neutral site despite being at the Capital Centre. In recent years, the two sides have discussed playing each other publicly, but nothing had come of it.
The game will surely spark excitement in the DMV, mainly because the region’s two biggest programs are both primed for big seasons in 2015-16. Maryland is currently ranked No. 3 in our Preseason Top 25, thanks in large part to the commitment of five-star center Diamond Stone, while D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera’s decision to return to school launched the Hoyas up to No. 11.
“I think this is going to stir up the emotions of the old and the young,” Thompson said. “Both teams are going to be very good. Both teams are going to have one of the best guards in the country. Besides the names across the front of the chest, it’s a good year to start.”
A poll on Georgetown’s SBNation site casually states 95 percent of the fanbase thinks this development is “exciting!”