The BB&T Classic used to be a great tournament. GW was a solid bubble program in the mid-and-late '90s, enjoying a rebirth in the mid-'00s, and national programs like Kansas, Florida, UConn, Gonzaga, and Texas all graced the event with a touch of relevancy. It was a genuinely fun and useful local tourny.
Then, in 2005, due to an inability to really attract high-profile names, it had to switch to a single-day format, instead of a single-elimination tournament. And that's when it all started to fall apart. Instead of big names, Maryland was usually matched against the local mid-major du juor, playing the likes of VCU and GW more than once. When a national program did appear, it was Notre Dame, Temple, or Villanova - hardly huge names - and Maryland usually had to repay that with a road trip the following season.
In short, it kind of started to really suck for Maryland. And it certainly wasn't worth their time.
The only viable future was always to get Georgetown on board and turn it into a showcase of local programs. But with that seriously unlikely, the Classic is on its last legs, at least in its current, relevant format with Maryland on board. And Mark Turgeon agrees:
Maryland's future in BB&T will be evaluated once season ends. Turgeon said tomorrow's environment/crowd will have a lot to do with it.— Alex Prewitt (@alex_prewitt) December 1, 2012
Turgeon on BB&T: "This is the last year in it. I’m going to sit down with those concerned ... A lot of it will depend on attendance."— Jakob Engelke (@Jakob_Engelke) December 1, 2012
Turgeon: "I enjoyed the game up in Brooklyn ... a great environment. If this environment wont’ give us that, I can get it somewhere else."— Alex Prewitt (@alex_prewitt) December 1, 2012
More Turgeon on BB&T: "I’ve got to do what’s best for Maryland basketball in the end. If that takes a few bad articles, then I’ll do that."— Jakob Engelke (@Jakob_Engelke) December 1, 2012
Yeah, that's right Feinstein. He's talking to you.
Anyway, it's a pretty easy decision from Turgeon's viewpoint, you have to think, and good that he's making it. The BB&T is a drag on Maryland if there's no big name program - heck, it's a drag even if there is, given that they essentially had to give away a home game to Temple and Villanova to get those two in it.
With this opening up an extra spot on Maryland's schedule in the future, you'd have to hope that they can finally start getting high-profile home-and-homes set up. One a year would suffice, though two would be ideal (so that every season there's at least one marquee non-conference game at Comcast). That would give Maryland their preseason tournament, the B1G-ACC Challenge, and one or two other name opponents ever year, which is the type of non-con schedule an elite team should have.
So, who's on your home-and-home wishlist, bearing in mind that B1G (obviously) and ACC (probably) teams are no-gos? I'd love to see Texas and St. John's or UConn, to give a persistent presence in recruiting those areas. Wouldn't mind Turgeon doing Wichita St. or A&M a favor, either.
Of course, the Great White Whale is still Georgetown. But good luck with that ever happening.