This is usually the point at which you are given the back story of why there hasn’t been a scheduled men’s basketball game between Maryland and Georgetown since the night the Terrapins arrived as a program under Williams, knocking off Big John’s Hoyas at Capital Centre in 1993. But what’s the use?
Like boxers Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather dancing around each other for years at the expense of their dying sport, anticipation and hope has been replaced by apathy and ambivalence.
At this point, I really don’t care if they ever play.
And if Georgetown and Maryland ever can get past the ego and hard feelings and realize that being right doesn’t always mean being happy, I’m not going to celebrate the rebirth of what could have been one of the greatest local college basketball rivalries in the country. I’m going to mourn never getting to see Len Bias try to dunk on Patrick Ewing’s head, Allen Iverson crossing over Joe Smith.
Over a three-year span I could have seen Greivis Vasquez try to shake Jeff Green or get his shot past Roy Hibbert. A master motivator and teacher like Gary Williams could have matched wits against Big John’s son, one of the game’s best tacticians. JTIII’s patterned Princeton offense vs. Gary’s flex offense, Comcast and Verizon shaking with noise. Heck, Dave Neal trying to guard Greg Monroe in the Old Spice Classic in 2008 was entertaining. But it was just the third time in 28 years the two teams played — and two of those times they were forced to play each other.
Their ridiculous pride war, with both schools’ presidents allowing the strong personalities of their former coaches to dictate unsound decisions that had major financial implications, has already cost their fan bases and their universities so much money and so many memories.
If I were the BB&T Classic folks and I couldn’t get a commitment from Maryland or Georgetown for my event next season, I would take the corporate sponsor and TV-money hit, raise fewer dollars for charity but actually have some teams excited to play in my event. I’d turn Smith Center into an old-fangled tournament setting for George Washington, George Mason, American, Navy and any other area college team that wanted to be part of something bigger than its own RPI.
That might not be the greatest financial decision, either. But at least those schools would have had the guts to schedule one another in basketball.
For previous columns by Mike Wise, visit washingtonpost.com/wise.