The Maryland-Georgetown basketball rivalry, which looked as if it might die just when it was becoming heated again, may be saved next season by a new national television package scheduled for Monday nights.
The Terrapins and Hoyas had been trying, with little success, to work out a compromise during the last few months so there would be a game in 1980-81.
There may be a solution. Madison Square Garden, in conjunction with Metro Communications -- which televises Maryland games locally -- is putting together an eight-game nationally syndicated television package for next season. The producers would like one of those games to be Maryland versus Georgetown on Jan. 26 from Capital Centre.
Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell said yesterday he would like to see the game played, "especially if we can do it on national TV."
Frank Rienzo, Georgetown athletic director, also sounded enthusiastic about the idea but said he wanted to know more before agreeing.
"We want to continue playing Maryland and I'm interested in any idea that will lead to that. We've had problems working out a game with them because of scheduling. If this can be worked out, I say that's great."
The biggest stumbling block is a game has been its location. Georgetown Coach John Thompson will not play at Cole Field House. Driesel, after being booed by many in the crowd at the D.C. Armory last December, will not play there.
Capital Centre is expensive and when the teams played there two and three seasons ago -- in December -- attendance was disappointing. But, with television revenues thrown in, paying Capital Centre's rent could be a worthwhile investment. The Centre is available the night of Jan. 26.
With Maryland returning its entire team off a 24-7 season and Georgetown coming back from a 26-6 season that included two wins over the Terps -- including one in the NCAA tournament -- both schools are expected to be in or near the top 10 next season.
That, combined with the crosstown nature of the rivalry, makes the game a natural for television.
People we've talked to about the package have been really excited about the idea of Maryland-Georgetown being part of the package," said Leonard Klompus, president of Metro Communications. "From a local standpoint, I just want to see the two teams play."