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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.

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 19, 2007; 5:24 PM ET
Categories:  College Basketball  
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Buildings may come and go, teams may rise and fall in the rankings, and even Gary Williams will someday grow too old to leap up and down in ecstasy. But if this video teaches us anything, it's that Jos. A. Banks will always be there serving the Washington DC metropolitan area's need for inexpensive menswear.

Posted by: Duke Frankencow | January 19, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse

the game that changed it all ...

Posted by: littles | January 19, 2007 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the most poignant line in the whole Kornheiser column: "I'm sitting at home writing this, so I don't have dates or scores available to me."

Posted by: Bill Fitzgerald | January 19, 2007 10:18 PM | Report abuse

I was a sophomore at Maryland that year, and it remains one of my fondest college memories. It was so sweet to defeat the Hoays - the rivalry, such as it is to some of us, has so many facets. The best, however, was yet to come! When did G'town last win the title?

Posted by: pepper | January 21, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the last game between the two teams was in the 2001 NCAA tournament in Boise, ID when MD beat G'Town. But that was a tournament game, so maybe you were only referring to regular season games. I was freshman at MD when they played and I remember that game being the tipping point for the MD program. That was Joe Smith's freshman year and the program really took off after that game.

Posted by: Ted | January 21, 2007 11:16 PM | Report abuse

If a team plays 90% of it's "home" games at a place (US Air Arena) then that is it's home court. Anyone who has played basketball knows that playing in each different place is different because of the different backgrounds.

The next game should be at Comcast, and if Maryland wants to be nice it should let Georgetown get some of the tickets. Otherwise until this happens I see no point in playing on a "neutral" site yet again for Georgetown.

Posted by: Justin | January 22, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Georgetown, GW wants to know where's our game? 25 years and counting...

Posted by: Hatchet Man | January 22, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"Ask anyone who saw the Georgetown-University of Texas at El Paso game in last year's NIT."

The Hoyas were in the NCAA tournament last year. Perhaps you mean the Cal State-Fullerton game from 2004-05?

Posted by: AustinHoya | January 22, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

There is a good reason why there were so many Maryland fans at that game. Maryland was alloted half of the tickets and was given half of the gate. Other than the location, it was in no way a "home" game for Georgetown, however Gary likes to spin it. That is why any claims that Georgetown "owes" Maryland a date at Comcast before any discussions of a home-and-home can be seriously considered is a crock.

Posted by: Erik | January 22, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse


That letter was from 1993...

Posted by: Boris (The Intern) | January 22, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I hadn't realized Thompson offered to play Maryland at the BBT last year but was turned down (as per the Camille Powell article). I'm surprised Thompson III wouldn't play any team sent his way, but I had never realized UMD was ducking GU, not the other way around. When Gary and local sportstalk talk about it, it always sounds like Thompson refuse to play them. Thanks for reposting her article.

Posted by: Geoff | January 22, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Pretty funny how the Terp fans needed gtown to boost their program. I was at the game when Joe Smith outplayed Othella and the Terps had the homecourt advantage. That being said, I would love to see them play every year so Gtown can avenge the last two losses and re-establish itself as the best program in the city. JTIII will see to that. I wish Gtown would participate in the BB&T because the Terps can't even beat GW there, ever! We all know these things go in cycles and unfortunately for the Terps it ain't looking good.

Posted by: Hoya Fan | January 22, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I think the Mayor should add a Big 5 type round robin thing to his list of 100 things to do in office. How great would that be? GW, UMd, Gtown, GMU, Howard, American, Navy?. Or maybe only some of those - even Philly leaves out Drexel.

Posted by: Andrew from | January 22, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Just think a few yrs. ago many local fans of UMD and GWash considered GU irrelevant. But now both are vying for GUs attention: one hoping to capture a glory it's never had (GWash) and the other to save a ship thats taken on water fast(UMD).

And in someway Feinstein needs GU to legitimize his brain child (the BB&T tourney). GU still has star power nationally, something that GWash and UMD has never obtained. And it has taken the downward spiral of his beloved BB&T to realize that it needs the cache of GU to survive.

GU will alway be Gladys Knight, while UMD and GWash will be no more than pips.

Posted by: Aaron M. | January 22, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Forget tickets....


Posted by: Justin | January 22, 2007 7:17 PM | Report abuse

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