The Importance Of The Georgetown vs Maryland Rivalry

While there seems to be all sorts of league challenges in college basketball, we are getting one more starting in the 2015-16 season. The inaugural Gavitt Tipoff Games, an eight-game challenge between the Big East and Big 10 conferences.

So, what’s the significance of the Gavitt Tipoff Games? It’s the fact we’ll get to see one of the greatest and most hated rivalries in college basketball revived. We found out on Tuesday that the Georgetown Hoyas will face off against Maryland in the first non-tournament regular season game since 1993.

According to sources this will be the first of two years in which we’ll get to see the Terps and Hoyas play each other. The game in 2015 will take place at the Xfinity Center in College Park, Md., before Georgetown will host Maryland in 2016 at the Verizon Center.

Mar 22, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard Melo Trimble (2) lays on the court after an injury during the second half against the West Virginia Mountaineers in the third round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The two teams have played a total of 63 times, but haven’t seen each other since a matchup in the Old Spice Classic in Florida back in 2008. Maryland played at Georgetown in 1993-94. Georgetown went to Maryland in 1973-74, which marked the last time there was a home-and-home series in consecutive seasons. There were a few neutral site games between 1974 and 2008.

So, what happened between the two programs?

It dates back to 1979 when legendary head coaches Lefty Driesell and John Thompson got into each other’s faces during a game at the D.C. Armory. Thompson did his best Bryan Price impersonation by cussing at Driesell before Lefty refused to shake Thompson’s hand after Georgetown won the game.

As Georgetown became a power in the 1980’s, Thompson did his best job avoiding all local teams, trying to avoid any sort of advantage for his opponent. Even after American upset the No. 5 Hoyas in 1982 and then almost again in 1986, Thompson refused to play them.

Once Gary Williams, yes the same Gary Williams for whom the court is named for at the Xfinity Center, took over for Maryland the hatred continued to grow. The two schools played in 1993, which the Terps won in overtime and there was supposed to be a return game. However, Thompson refused to schedule it, saying Maryland wouldn’t give the Hoyas enough tickets.

John Feinstein would go on to say a charity event couldn’t even bring the two schools to play together. The BB&T Classic began in 1994 with the idea that Maryland and Georgetown would co-host the event, bring in two other national teams and the chance the Terps and Hoyas could play on the second night would at least be there.

Williams instantly said yes, but Thompson didn’t return a call to a boardmember.

Then there was the connections in the DMV area, which has always been rich of talent. The Beltway’s AAU programs and private schools were either aligned with local colleges or with each other. Thompson never took a player from DeMatha High School, likely due to his rivalry from the 1970s with DeMatha head coach Morgan Wooten.

He would, however, take players from Gonzaga or Paul VI –rivals of DeMatha. Maryland on the flip side couldn’t get a player from D.C. Assault AAU Program, due to whatever reasons.

That’s all gone now, as new coaches have taken over and arguably the biggest AAU influence  is in jail for at least 100 months. So, when the two teams take the floor next year just sit back and enjoy it, because who knows how long it will last. This is truly a great rivalry with as much hatred as any other in the country.

Whoever got this deal done, thank you.