Tuesday brought the revealing of the 2015 College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon schedule. It's an annual event that continuously marks the 'beginning' of the college basketball season that ESPN produces to, what I think usually, a high degree.
Several notable teams will be partaking in the event. This includes the No. 1 UConn Huskies women's hoop juggernauts, as well as Virginia, Utah, Baylor, and Oklahoma. That doesn't even delve into the Champions Classic, which will feature matchups between Kansas and Michigan State as well as two heavyweights in Kentucky and Duke. It's a pretty loaded field this season.
What also is important to note is a matchup that many fans have been dying to see. Especially in the DMV.
In case you missed it, Georgetown and Maryland will be duking it out this coming year as part of the inaugural Gavitt Games. Set up by the Big Ten and Big East Conferences, we'll see several Big East and Big Ten squads battle this coming season in a nice little treat for college basketball fans of all walks of life.
And the thing is, both of these teams - on paper - are pretty freaking good. The Terps might be the best team in the country. The Hoyas are likely challenging the Butler Bulldogs for the title of the best team not named Villanova in the Big East. The schools aren't separated by much, and for many years, they avoided one another. The ducking and diving ended this past offseason with the announcement of the matchup and it's unlikely that it hasn't whet the appetites of both fanbases.
So why does the game time and TV info feel a little bit sour?
Well, likely because it is.
Georgetown and Maryland will be facing off at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2 as the press release from ESPN Media Zone indicated. What's the problem with that? Well, the major issue is that this game will be beginning at around the time that Kentucky-Duke is reaching its climax and will be going on during the matchup between the Spartans and Jayhawks.
No one will pay attention to Maryland-Georgetown.
First things first: history aside, this has the making of being a terrific basketball game. Maryland will be one of two or three teams — along with North Carolina and Kentucky — that, depending on which poll or website you pay attention to, will enter the season ranked as the No. 1 team in the country. Georgetown will be pretty good as well, as the return of D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera makes them a likely-preseason top 25 team and a contender for the Big East title. No matter how you slice it, this is a really, really good game on paper.
But that doesn't account for the fact that Maryland and Georgetown have campuses that are roughly 10 miles apart, or that the two programs have refused to schedule each other for the last three decades thanks to a beef between legendary coaches Lefty Driesell and John Thompson Jr. that was never resolved. The Big East and the Big Ten made a point to ensure that these two teams would be paired off the in the first annual Gavitt Games because this matchup deserves attention. Instead, with a tip-off at 9:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday night, it will be played at the same time as the Champions Classic, with the first half coinciding with the end of Duke-Kentucky.
This is a matchup deserves to stand on it's own. College basketball is a sport that has limited intrigue while football season is still in full-swing. Burying a game like this in November simply doesn't make sense.
It's really, really tough to argue with all of that. It makes absolutely no sense to shaft Georgetown-Maryland in this type of way given the circumstances around it.
I'm not saying that this matchup should take precedent over the Champions Classic, and I'm sure Mr. Dauster isn't either.
What I'm saying, thereby echoing Dauster's thoughts, is that the matchup should have its own moment in the sun. It should be able to have a singular platform to put this high-profile matchup on display.
It shouldn't be shoehorned into the latter portion of the College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon as a cool down for Kentucky-Duke and a halftime attraction for Michigan State-Kansas.
Because, let's face it - as Dauster writes, it's going to be third on the scale. The ratings for the game won't be all that great. And that, in my opinion, is extremely unfair and does a disservice to what is likely going to be a damn good basketball game.