Credit goes to Maryland and GW, who have participated in every BB&T Classic, which benefits the Children’s Charities Foundation and finds it harder to lasso teams because of exempt events on the NCAA calendar.
There’s still something wrong with Georgetown not being here, given Verizon is the Hoyas’ home court. Whosever bruised ego prevents that is immaterial by now. What is important is local college basketball — and the designated charities — will continue to be held hostage by individual interests. As a Jesuit institution, how do you not play in an event has raised $9 million for at-risk kids?
After all the homegrown talent, it’s more than embarrassing that Philadelphia has full participation among the Big Five – La Salle, Villanova, Temple, Penn and Saint Joseph’s — and Washington annually usually musters just the Lone Two. (Though American, George Mason, Howard, Navy and Virginia Tech have all participated in different years.)
Forget Georgetown, Maryland — the BB&T’s main draw most years — may not be an automatic entry down the road. With funds unbelievably scarce in College Park, the concern financially is a real one. Who knows if Maryland wants another home game fill the coffers?
Heck, if Georgetown never wants to be involved, I would just move the tournament to Comcast Center. Or, if Maryland has to renege, then Smith Center — and make it a mid-major smorgasbord.
Let’s be honest: When many juniors and seniors stick around a program, it really doesn’t matter where they’re playing if they have Final Four aspirations.
In that way, Smart and VCU are almost a window into what’s happened locally. Even he acknowledges Larranaga leaving for Miami might have something to do with VCU being able to come up with $1.2 million per year to keep its coach — while Mason and most other mid-majors can’t come up with that kind of loot.
And when more and more Butler and VCU-type tales emerge annually, more and more scrutiny is heaped upon their peers — especially the better-funded programs.
One of the reasons Williams had trouble getting into the tournament several times in the past decade is partly because mid-major schools were selected ahead of Maryland, a fact that might push anyone’s retirement buttons. One of the reasons Hobbs is now an assistant again for Jim Calhoun at Connecticut is because he couldn’t duplicate his early mid-major success at GW, while other programs the same size and with the same budget leapfrogged the Colonials.
It’s impossible to take away any certainties from college basketball in December, except these two: Patience is needed, including at Georgetown. And, yes, no Gary takes a while to get used to.
What’s that saying — “Change is inevitable, but growth is optional?” We’ll see.