Mark Turgeon wants out of this car crash of a tournament
Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s face it: the BB&T Classic is a joke.
Charitable intentions be damned, with the news that George Mason will draw the Oklahoma Sooners in the once-popular Washington, D.C. tournament, Maryland should spurn this dog and pony show sooner rather than later. There is just no point anymore in reserving a schedule spot for a tournament with such lackluster opponents.
Here’s a list, since 2005, of Maryland Terrapins opponents in the BB&T Classic:
2005: George Washington
2006: Notre Dame
2007: Virginia Commonwealth University
2008: George Washington
2011: Notre Dame
2012: George Mason
2013: George Washington
For a one-day event, that lineup is a crapshoot and clear evidence that this “tournament” has completely lost its luster. When you draw a quality-ish opponent once every three years, it’s just time to cut your losses and look for other charitable events. Especially when fan attendance is dwindling and the other major school in the area (Georgetown) wouldn’t poke this Classic with a ten-foot retractable pole.
It’s hard not to feel slighted by this John Feinstein-led maneuver (though I’m not advocating any Duke alumni conspiracies). Maryland is a respectable brand, and now they’re fighting to be the headliner in a tournament that features George Washington and George Mason? Thanks, but no thanks.
Maryland can find much better opponents further away from the region; just look at the sellout in Brooklyn last year against Kentucky. If they have to travel a few (or more than a few) country miles to get there, then so be it. Maryland has the potential to draw in a national television audience even after not making the tournament, and right now the Terps are just limiting their potential being associated with this mess.
What does Maryland gain from this? A non-factor RPI win over George Washington or an RPI bunker-buster with a loss to the aforementioned team. Mark Turgeon was right when he said he wanted schedule flexibility to be able to play with some other headliner. Maybe replace BB&T with, and forgive me because this is just off the top of my head, a game against Georgetown.
No brainer here, folks.