Brian McGuire, the Georgetown University sports promotion director, was amazed at what he saw at McDonough Arena Monday. People were lined up to buy tickets for the NCAA East Regional semifinal against Maryland Friday night in Philadelphia.
"Even the faculty was buying tickets," he said. "That's when you know people are jumping on the bandwagon."
McGuire has been receiving phone calls from students, wanting to know if there is going to be a pep rally.
"This is not the kind of school that has a pep rally," said McGuire, Georgetown '72. "But we've had so many people ask us, we might as well have one."
The university pub donated kegs of beer for the 3:45 p.m. rally today at The Quad behind the Healy Building. "The beer will be in sufficient amount to get the anti-Maryland juices flowing," said Shawn Feeney, a student organizer of the rally.
Basketball Coach John Thompson is downplaying the rematch of this heated area rivalry.
"The fact is we're trying to go for a national championship and that we're playing Maryland is accidental," Thompson said. "The game's extremely important because it is an NCAA tournament game, leading to certain goals you're trying to achieve.
"Yes, you can lose in winning . . . we play again or they play again. It has to be kept in perspective. That's my job and Lefty will be trying to do the same thing with his kids."
Georgetown students, however, are under no such restrictions.
Gail Livings is a graduate student in international relations. A month ago, when Thompson said a first-class facility was the major factor that would make him consider leaving Georgetown, she said:
"It's nice to have a good basketball team, but this is still an academic school and a new gym isn't necessary. Georgetown strikes the ideal balance of sports and academics as it is."
Yesterday, she said:
"Everybody can't wait to get to Philadelphia and play Maryland again (the Hoyas won, 83-71, in December). They're hyped up. Most of the students on the campus can't stand Maryland and they can't wait for the chance to beat them again.
"They feel Georgetown has been slighted for its ability and they want to show that the Hoyas can do it again and perhaps go all the way."
That sentiment is sometimes known as "Hoya Paranoia," an obession with recognition, whether regionally vis-a-vis Maryland or nationally, where the Hoyas virtually were ignored in the polls after beating then-No. 2 Syracuse at Manley Field House a month ago.
"I've never heard it (the phrase) before," Thompson said. "It's a creation of the press."
"Paranoia," said the associate athletic director, Jeff Fogelson, "is an obsession."
"They (the Maryland Terps) have a good program and they deserve whatever credit they get," Athletic Director Frank Riezo said, "And we have a good program and we feel we should get credit, too. But we don't sit up nights worrying about it."
Added Fogelson: "We're realistic enough to know that the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) in general generates more publicity and everything else. That's the good thing about this new league (the Big East). We're going to start approaching it . . . Hoya Paranoia? I don't have the same sense of it this year and I had two years ago."
The one thing that Reinzo does not want to get into is a financial comparison of Georgetown's basketball program with Maryland's, or anyone else's, even though Thompson frequently has said the Hoyas probably do more with less than any other ranked team.
Georgetown is a private university. Its budgets are not matters of public record and Reinzo said he wants it kept that way. Only grudgingly will he offer that the baksetball budget is "somewhere under $200,000, probably less," not including $105,000 for the 15 grants-in-aid the NCAA allows.
The real comparison is between Georgetown now and Georgetown as recently as three years ago in the areas of publicity and television, two factors that cannot be measured in dollars and cents alone.
For instance, this season's Georgetown press guide is a slick brochure with color pictures. It is similar to other recruiting-oriented press guides. wThe 1977-78 press guide -- only two seasons ago, after Georgetown had gone to three straight postseason tournaments -- was a smaller, black-and-white edition designed more for the media than recruits. The cost was much less.
This year, for the first time, the Hoyas have both a full-time sports information director and a full-time assistant. Salaries are up and the assistant was added, according to Rienzo, so the SID could devote his time to basketball.
The Hoyas will receive at least $200,000 for getting this far in the NCAA tournament and at least $75,000 from regional television revenue sharing this season. Georgetown also has its own radio and television packages.
The profits from the latter are not much. But Reinzo looks at it another way: "Five years ago we made no money off TV. TV is one of the indicators of the growth of the basketball program. It's symbolic more than monetary."
For instance, Thompson said he received a call Monday from a California player interested in coming to Georgetown. "They called me," he emphasized.
But Georgetown's primary recruiting area remains Washington, where Thompson grew up, where he coached at St. Anthony's and where he recruited four of his present five starters.
"It's practical and economical," Thompson said. "We're not in the business of spending a lot of money."
Thompson is boss of a basketball staff of seven, with two full-time assistant coaches, Bill Stein and Bob Grier; a graduate assistant, Craig Esherick; an academic coordinator/administrative aide, Mary Fenlon; a trainer, Doug Hoffman, and a receptionist.