The Maryland basketball team had gotten used to facing local rival Georgetown in the Gavitt Games.
Instead, the Terrapins will be taking on Butler in the 2017 version of the Gavitt Games, according to CBSSports’ Jon Rothstein. Maryland’s miniseries with Georgetown will come to an end after just two seasons.
Butler is a program that really came to national prominence when Brad Stevens took over prior to the 2007-08 season. In five of Stevens’ six seasons with Butler, the Bulldogs made the NCAA Tournament and reached the national championship game twice.
Butler fell to Duke in the 2009-10 season and lost to Connecticut the very next year.
Chris Holtmann has been successful in his three seasons since taking over the program. Butler has gone to the NCAA Tournament in all three years and reached the Sweet 16 in two of those campaigns.
Butler is coming off a season in which they went 25-9 (12-6 Big East) and were a number-four seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs reached the Sweet 16 before losing to eventual national champion North Carolina.
Butler started off the 2016-17 season winning their first eight games. During that stretch, they defeated the likes of Arizona and Northwestern, who both ended up making the NCAA Tournament.
Their lone loss of nonconference play came on Dec. 7 when Butler lost to Indiana State 72-71. The Sycamores had just a 4-4 record coming into the contest.
Butler also dropped their first Big East conference game in a 76-73 decision to St. John’s. The Red Storm struggled this past season and only finished with a 14-19 (7-11 Big East) mark.
Despite that early conference blemish, the Bulldogs ended up having a strong Big East campaign.
Butler defeated the likes of Cincinnati, Creighton, Marquette, Seton Hall, Villanova (twice), and Xavier (twice). All of those teams qualified for the NCAA Tournament.
The Bulldogs had a relatively easy slate in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. Butler topped No. 13 seed Winthrop 76-64 in the First Round and No. 12 seed Middle Tennessee 74-65 in the Second Round.
Butler fell behind early against North Carolina in their Sweet 16 matchup. The Tar Heels held a double-digit lead throughout the bulk of the game and never looked back.
The Bulldogs do have a ton of promise heading into the 2017-18 season.
Butler returns three of their top six scorers in Kelan Martin (16.0 points), Kamar Baldwin (10.1), and Tyler Wideman (7.2). Andrew Chrabascz (11.4), Avery Woodson (8.9), Kethan Savage (8.0), and Tyler Lewis (6.6) will depart after very productive seasons with the Bulldogs.
Baldwin will arguably be the biggest x-factor heading into next season after being a secondary option behind Chrabascz and Woodson during the 2016-17 campaign. The sophomore will be looked at to provide even more of a scoring punch and continue to be one of the Big East’s best young defenders.
Obviously, Martin is going to be looked to for even more of a scoring punch. After averaging 16.0 points, he could be one of the top players in the conference.
Holtmann will need all of the points he can get from Martin with a heavy bulk of Butler’s rotation departing.
Maryland’s new Gavitt Games opponent is definitely no slouch. The Terps will likely get one of their toughest contests of the year against the Bulldogs this coming fall.