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Maryland basketball expecting raucous atmosphere for game vs. Georgetown

The Terps aren't treating it as anything special, but there's an unusual buzz surrounding Tuesday's game.

Sammi Silber

It's been a while for Maryland and Georgetown, who haven't played anywhere since 2008 and not in College Park since 1973. Things were different back then, and the teams' current players aren't a part of whatever history exists here.

When the Terrapins and Hoyas tip on Tuesday night at Xfinity Center (9 p.m., ESPN2), the old will become new.

"We weren't really here to watch them play each other, and for us, now, we just look at it as a big game, of course, because they're close to us," Maryland guard Melo Trimble said Wednesday. "It's another game, but as far as the history and stuff like that, we don't look at it like that."

Trimble was 13 the last time the teams played.

Maryland forward Jake Layman was 14. Has he done much research on the teams' 63-game history?

"Not really," he said. "I haven't done that."

Fellow forward Robert Carter was 14, too. Has he seen old YouTube clips on the series?

"We've been trying to focus on our game," he laughed. "Maybe after we win, I'll go back and look at other games."

Maryland's players can sense the excitement. If they walked to their arena on Monday from the center of Maryland's campus, they probably strolled past a junker car along Regents Drive, spray-painted "BEAT GEORGETOWN" and offering passersby the chance to pay money to hit it with an axe. But for the No. 3 Terps, the game is business is usual.

"I think it's great," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "I was talking to a guy the other day. He said, 'It's great for the fans. It's great for the area. It's great for college basketball. It's great for the players, but it's not great for the head coaches,' and that's probably why it hasn't been played."

Despite the long layoff between games, Maryland and Georgetown play – to a degree – in each other's shadows. As the two biggest programs in Washington's immediate vicinity, they compete for eyeballs every year. There's a degree of familiarity between them that's unusual for two non-conference teams.

"They have a lot of local players that we recruited and vice versa on our team that they recruited," Turgeon said. "You get a good feel. I'll be honest with you: I never really watched Georgetown. I watched them, but I really never studied them because I just figured we were never going to play them."

Layman said he's gotten to see a bit of Georgetown, but generally from afar.

"I think, even though we play at Maryland, we're still college basketball fans. We watch as much basketball as we can," he said. "So, yeah, definitely."

Turgeon largely minimized the stakes of the game, saying the second contest of the season wasn't going to "make or break" anybody. He doesn't expect it'll make a huge difference on the recruiting trail either way.

"We don't recruit against Georgetown that much," Turgeon said. "We do, but we don't. We play different styles, in different leagues. I really don't think it's going to have any impact on recruiting."

Yet, Turgeon allowed there's a bit of extra juice behind this game.

"The world's not going to come to an end tomorrow for either one of us tomorrow, for the loser. You'll learn from it and get better," Turgeon said. "But, no, obviously, being a local team, we want to win this one badly."

It stands to reason that Maryland's fans, especially those in older generations, feel the same way.

"This is [why] you come here, to play in games like this. I'm excited to be able to be a part of this game and how much excitement in brings to people in this area," Layman said. "It's going to be an unbelievable crowd tomorrow, and I'm just ready to get that atmosphere back."