Thanks to conference realignment combined with stubbornness of college administrators and athletic directors, some of the best rivalries don’t exist anymore.
Sure, you still get the big name ones like Louisville vs. Kentucky and obviously North Carolina vs. Duke. But, what about those mid-major programs, where fans circle one game on the calendar each season? What if there were more showcases like we see with the Champions Classic, Crossroads Classic and CBS Sports Classic?
Well, that’s what we’re here to start petitioning for. This article will take a look at games that need to happen, whether it’s due to conference realignment and an unwillingness to play each other again or coming up with a showcase event that fans are dying to see.
If we’re missing any, let us know in the comments section. Obviously, there are no rumors these games will be played, just hypothetical situations we’d like to see happen.
Xavier vs. Dayton
The two private schools in Ohio are separated by 45 miles on Interstate 75 and first met in 1920. The two teams played every year, except for four interruptions until the Musketeers left the A-10 for the Big East last season. This is the most likely rivalry to pick back up, due to scheduling conflicts the last two seasons it’s understandable that it was hard to find a date to play. However, fuel to the fire has been lit with Xavier coach Chris Mack’s wife. Christi played collegiate ball at Dayton and was verbally harassed during Xavier’s last game at Dayton.
Georgetown vs. Maryland
If you want to talk about two schools who absolutely despise each other, look no further than the DMV area with Georgetown and Maryland. The two teams have played a total of 63 times, but haven’t seen each other since a matchup in the Old Spice Classic in Florida back in 2008. Maryland played at Georgetown in 1993-94. Georgetown went to Maryland in 1973-74, which marked the last time there was a home-and-home series in consecutive seasons. There were a few neutral site games between 1974 and 2008. It doesn’t sound promising to see these rivals play anytime soon though as Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson went public in 2012 and said until the Hoyas agree to play the Terps in men’s basketball all other sporting contests against Georgetown would be called off.
Connecticut vs. Syracuse
Arguably the best rivalry in the old Big East with two of the most iconic coaches in college basketball history. Former Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun spent 25 years building the UCONN program, climbing to sixth all times in wins only to constantly look down the bench and see Jim Boeheim manning the sidelines for the Orange. Since Syracuse bolted for the ACC, the two teams haven’t faced off and no rumors are floating around about a possible game. For the sake of the old Big East, please make this happen.
A Different Kind of Border War (Ohio State, Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia)
The new craze in college basketball are these showcases featuring four teams playing back-to-back in a neutral site across the country. Well, let’s add one more to the list. Now, maybe I’m being selfish, but put these four teams in Cincinnati. Every school is within a four and a half hour drive to the Queen City and a large majority of alumni live in Cincinnati. Why not have these four teams meet there, play a Saturday with the teams rotating outside of Ohio State and Indiana playing against each other to avoid a conference game. It allows Indiana and Kentucky to finally play each other while also giving fans bragging rights for a year in a sold out arena.
Battle for the DMV (Georgetown, George Washington, George Mason, Maryland)
We already discussed the Georgetown vs. Maryland dynamic, now throw in two mid-major programs who have been successful in their own right. Think of the Big Five Challenge in Philly and adapt this to the DMV. All four teams have to play each other, ideally at a site like the Palestra in Philadelphia, but an on campus game wouldn’t be the end of the world. The talent in the DMV is as rich as anywhere in the country and the colleges can use this as a recruiting tool to keep homegrown talent in the area.