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Georgetown, Butler and Marquette remain as potential opponents for Maryland in 2015 Gavitt Tipoff Games

What Big East school could Maryland face in the inaugural event? Georgetown is the obvious choice but beyond the Hoyas, the options are a bit underwhelming.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Gavitt Tipoff Games, a yearly event over the next eight years that will feature games between Big Ten and Big East schools,  will begin this Fall and feature eight games to start the 2015-2016 basketball season.

Thanks to CBS' Jon Rothstein, we now know some of the schools that will be featured in the inaugural event:

Villanova will host Nebraska

Providence will host Illinois

Indiana will host Creighton

St. John's will host Rutgers

That leaves four more pairings to be announced. One would assume Maryland would be included among those schools, but scheduling conflicts or other factors could keep the Terps out of this year's event. But assuming Maryland is featured, which of the remaining Big East schools are the best potential opponents for the Terps?


Why it makes sense

When this series was announced last year, Maryland and Georgetown fans immediately began to wonder if this could be the icebreaker that relaunched the local rivalry between D.C.'s most prominent college basketball programs. Since they last played in the regular season in 1993, each program has long disputed which school should host the next game in the series, which was previously played on an annual basis for a number of years. The creation of the Gavitt Games seemed to provide a catalyst to resolve the dispute between the schools and give the D.C. area a basketball match-up many have wanted revived, especially with the Terps losing a number of their traditional rivalries with their recent move to the Big Ten.

Why it doesn't make sense

While many believe the Gavitt games could finally result in the two schools settling their dispute, nothing is guaranteed. Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson has tried to rekindle the series since becoming AD and even announced in 2012 that Maryland wouldn't schedule games with Georgetown in any sport until the men's basketball teams scheduled each other. That announcement by Anderson didn't seem to help resolve the dispute between the schools. Georgetown head coach John Thompson III responded to Anderson's plan and Thompson's father, former Hoyas head coach John Thompson Jr., wasn't very happy with what Anderson said. Could all of this negate a revival of the series?

Butler Bulldogs

Why it makes sense

Butler was a top 25 team last season who eventually lost an overtime game to Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs have a higher profile than a lot of other Big East schools, having made the NCAA Tournament seven of the past nine seasons, including back to back appearances in the tournament finals, where they ultimately lost to Duke in 2010 and Connecticut in 2011. A game against Butler would certainly generate interest, despite not being as desirable as a match-up between Georgetown or Villanova.

Why it doesn't make sense

Maryland doesn't have any kind of history or geographic connection with Butler. The two schools have only played once in basketball, a 2nd round NCAA Tournament loss in 2007. The Bulldogs aren't expected to be a preseason top 25 team, which could also impact the excitement surrounding the game.

Marquette Golden Eagles

Why it makes sense

Marquette is located in Wisconsin, the home state of blue chip center Diamond Stone, who Maryland recently signed. If the game was played at Marquette, having Stone return to his native Wisconsin could be a great story line for television purposes.

Why it doesn't make sense

Marquette was the worst team in the Big East last season, finishing 4-14 in conference play and 13-19 overall. While the Golden Eagles are expected to improve this upcoming season when they bring in the No. 12 recruiting class, the Golden Eagles might be one of the Big East teams not included in this year's challenge because of their poor showing last year. 

Maryland's most desirable match-up is definitely Georgetown. But if for some reasons the event doesn't pair the Terps and the Hoyas, they should have paired Maryland and Villanova, which would have featured a game between two preaseason top 10 teams. That game could have also made up for Maryland having to withdraw from the 2014 Jimmy V. Classic last Fall, where they were to scheduled to face Villanova. While not playing Georgetown would have been disappointing, getting an opportunity to face Villanova would have severely softened the blow.

If Maryland doesn't play Georgetown or Villanova, any other match-up is going to be extremely disappointing and underwhelming. The Gavitt Tipoff Games had the opportunity to create a lot of early season buzz, but if they don't come through with these final pairings, the first year of the event could be a dud.