Maryland and Georgetown Play Basketball
Since I will be long dead by the time the Terps and Hoyas play a men's basketball, here's a look at their last [regular season] meeting, Nov. 26 1993, the game that has caused such controversy and rendered any future [regular season] meeting completely outside of the realm of reasonable possibility. I lived nowhere near Washington at the time, and this previous meeting is sort of hazy to me. It would appear, at least from these limited highlights, that there was a significant Maryland contingent at the game, regardless of who the nominal home team was. Game stories from the time seem to confirm that appearance. But I don't want to get mixed up in that particular mess.
Tony Kornheiser's column the next morning began thus:
By all means you want to see this again. Oh, sure, absolutely. You want to see Maryland play Georgetown next year. You surely don't want to wait another 13 years for this. Thirteen years between games. What was that, bar-mitzvah scheduling?
Ha! Bar-mitzvahs, those have something to do with men putting aside their immaturities and turning into adults, no?
It's also worth mentioning that Gary Williams's post-buzzer celebration was pretty decent. I've watched it twice, and might get crazy and watch it a third time. [Edit: Now working on a fourth time.]
(And for everyone who keeps asking me to "get to the bottom" of all this Maryland-Georgetown stuff, here's Camille Powell's story from last year, which pretty much handled the issue.)
(And for everyone who watches that video and would like to read an homage to the Cap Centre, here's Kornheiser, upon its closing, nearly 10 years ago, back when he used to write for The Washington Post.)
(By the way, here's a letter to the editor The Post ran a few weeks after that game, by Peter Greaney.....Some things will never change, regardless of whether any of the buildings in question even exist....)
Recent Sports articles and columns about the Georgetown-Maryland basketball game included expressions of hope that the rivalry can resume "next year at Cole Field House." I share the hope that the two teams will play again next December, but the game's outcome should quiet those who want a home-and-home series. USAir Arena was a genuinely neutral site.
I don't care what the Hoya press guide may say, Georgetown is not at home in USAir Arena. Hoya fans were greatly outnumbered by Maryland fans at the game, and it's not uncommon for the visitors to out-shout the home crowd at Big East games, too. This isn't a new phenomenon; it has been the case since the Hoyas started playing there in Patrick Ewing's freshman year. More than a decade has passed, but Georgetown's real home remains McDonough gym. Ask anyone who saw the Georgetown-University of Texas at El Paso game in last year's NIT.
Since USAir Arena isn't really the Hoyas' home, it would be unfair to alternate between there and Cole Field House. Maryland would get the benefit of the home court in even-numbered years while the Hoyas hosted at a neutral site in odd-numbered years. If the series is to be played home-and-home, then McDonough should be the Hoyas' home venue.
Critics may say that McDonough is too small to host a game of this quality, but the same can be said of Cole. If the Georgetown-Maryland game had been played at night, it would have easily attracted more fans than Cole can accommodate, and the arena would have sold out if tickets hadn't cost double the price of a GU-Syracuse seat. Properly priced and scheduled, GU-Maryland would sell out every year.
One way to ensure a sellout would be to include the game in the season ticket packages of both schools. This would make it a "home" game for both teams. Split the arena in half so that each school has access to the same number of good and bad seats, and flip a coin to see which school provides the organist.
Others may complain that the Hoyas know the court better, that the floor's dead spots are a mystery to Maryland. That wouldn't be the case if the game is the first of the year, since the Hoyas practice in McDonough and need several games to reacquaint themselves with the peculiarities of USAir Arena.
Georgetown gets no home-court advantage at USAir Arena. An uniformed observer there at the GU-Maryland game would probably have guessed it was Maryland's home court, since the Terps had more fans there and since the arena is located in the state of Maryland, nearly 20 miles from Georgetown's campus (twice as far as it is from College Park).
Play it again next year, but play it at a neutral site. Play it at USAir Arena. If not, then I'll see you at McDonough in two years.
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