Terra-pin the Date: Hoyas to renew rivalry with Maryland this Fall

Cease the debate. The argument over who is the best college basketball team in the D.M.V. will finally be settled on the court this November, as Georgetown and Maryland will play each other for the first time since 2008.

The scheduled matchup was one of eight announced by the Big East and Big Ten Conferences for the inaugural Gavitt Tipoff Games, which will be held annually between the two conferences and are named for Dave Gavitt, the founder of the Big East.

As part of the series, the Hoyas will visit College Park on Nov. 17, while the Terrapins will visit Verizon Center during the 2016-17 season.

“Our programs share a great deal of history,” Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said. “Memories of Pops and Lefty, Merlin Wilson and Tom McMillen, Craig Shelton and Buck Williams, Allen Iverson and Joe Smith, Greg Monroe and Greivis Vasquez and many, many more dance in our heads. The time is right to make new memories. We are excited.”

Despite only a 30-minute drive separating the two schools rich with basketball traditions, Georgetown and Maryland have only played each other four times over the last 35 years, with three of those occurring in either the NCAA Tournament or in a regular season tournament. Disagreements between both schools’ coaches and administrators over time fueled the verbal armistice that prevented the two programs from playing what once was an yearly rivalry game, as the Hoyas and Terrapins played each other every year between 1947 and 1976.

Thompson said, however, that his relationship with current Maryland Head Coach Mark Turgeon helped make the long awaited matchup possible. He told reporters that if the rivalry were not renewed via the Gavitt Tipoff Games, it would have probably happened anyway in the near future.

“We’re friends. This is something that could have been done a couple of years ago. We’re glad that we’re here now and we’re ready to move forward,” Thompson said.

The timing of reviving the rivalry will be welcomed by many college basketball fans, as Georgetown and Maryland are expected by many experts to be ranked within the Top 25 of the national polls next season. Both the Hoyas and Terrapins made the NCAA Tournament this past season and will return the bulk of their cores, in addition to bringing in some of the more highly touted recruiting classes in the country.

“I think it’s great for the fans. I think it’s great for both schools. We’re both going to be pretty good next year. It’s going to be a good early season test.”

The high-profile non-conference matchup will be one of many the Hoyas will have in the 2015-16 season. In addition to Maryland, the Hoyas will host longtime rival Syracuse at Verizon Center and travel to face former Big East foe Connecticut in January. Georgetown will also be participating in the 2K Sports Classic at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The tournament, which also includes reigning national champion Duke, reigning national runner-up Wisconsin, and VCU, will take place on Nov. 20 and 22.

“It is loaded,” Thompson said in regards to the team’s non-conference schedule. “As you know, we’ve never backed down from a challenge. I like testing our guys.”

The other matchups for the Gavitt Tipoff Games are as follows: Xavier-Michigan, St. John’s-Rutgers, Creighton-Indiana, Marquette-Iowa, DePaul-Penn State, Providence-Illinois, Villanova-Nebraska.

Scheduled through 2022, the Gavitt Tipoff Games will be played on four consecutive days in the first full week of the college basketball campaign. The series will span eight years, with games played at home sites. Each Big East team will participate a minimum of six times, while Big Ten programs will take part a minimum of four times. Teams from both conferences already meet in some traditional rivalry games, and those matchups will continue in the upcoming seasons.

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