For those bummed about missing out on Georgetown's upcoming Aircraft Carrier game, Maryland's season tipoff against Kentucky in Brooklyn or any road tilt involving one of the local college basketball teams, here's some good news: when it comes to noteworthy, impactful and highly anticipated matchups, the DMV is stacked. Here's a baker's dozen worth of men's college basketball games and all only a metro ride or short drive away...
Nov. 9, George Mason vs. Virginia (Patriot Center) -- Even with the just announced suspensions to two players including center Erik Copes, plenty of juice remains for this in-state matchup. Pulling out a win over an ACC squad -and the first BCS program to visit the Patriot Center since 2006 (Mississippi State) - would immediately give the Patriots an RPI boost. A victorious Virginia would show the Cavaliers have game in the post-Mike Scott era.
Nov. 30, Georgetown vs. Tennessee (Verizon Center) -- This Big East-SEC challenge meeting is a battle of length versus bulk. Otto Porter and Greg Whittington headline the long-limbed and rather young Hoyas while the Vols offer resistance inside via the combined 530 pounds from Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon. John Thompson III, a heads up. You have three weeks or so to work on your posing. In this department, Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin is clearly in mid-season form.
Dec. 2, Maryland vs. George Mason (Verizon Center) -- The Patriots make their fourth appearance in the BB&T Classic and face the College Park crew for the first time since 2004-05. Maryland sophomore guard Nick Faust scored only 3 points in last season's win over Notre Dame. With the Terps entering the final year of their contract, this could be the Baltimore product's last chance to make an impact on this local tournament stage and the matchup against fellow wing Sherrod Wright is a juicy one.
Dec. 8, George Washington vs. Kansas State (Smith Center) -- The Colonials have significantly upgraded their share of local talent under second-year coach Mike Lonergan, not to mention their out of conference schedule. That combination means freshmen guard Joe McDonald (Landon) and former Villanova transfer Isaiah Armwood (Montrose Christian) battle the formidable Wildcats, led by their own former D.C. area prep star in Rodney McGruder (Archbishop Carroll). The twist is the meeting with the Big 12 program, one that returns five starters from last season's 22-win team, takes place on the Colonials home turf and not in Manhattan (Ks.) where GW lost last season.
Jan. 16, American vs. Lehigh (Bender Arena) -- Come to thank the Mountain Hawks, led by their all-everything guard C.J. McCollum, for upsetting Duke in last season's NCAA Tournament. Stay for a matchup between two of the top three teams in the Patriot League. If Jeff Jones' Eagles are to make it back to the highest level of March Madness themselves for the first time since 2009, they'll likely have to knock off Lehigh. Might as well start practicing now.
Jan. 26, Georgetown vs. Louisville (Verizon Center) -- Coming off a Final Four run, the Cardinals enter this season ranked No. 2 nationally and figure to arrive in D.C. on a revenge mission. Last season Georgetown defeated then fourth-ranked Louisville 71-68 on the road behind 20 points from Markel Starks. From there the chatty Hoyas guard faded offensively the rest of the way, but Georgetown needs its most experienced backcourt option at his productive best with slithery guard Peyton Siva set to strike for Rick Pitino's squad.
Jan. 31, George Mason vs. Drexel (Patriot Center) -- Debated going with the Patriots contest against soon-to-be-departing Old Dominion (Jan. 10), but in terms of this season, the Drexel game is the one to watch. If the Patriots plan on winning the CAA regular season crown, downing the conference favorite in the first of two meetings would be a wise move. Last season the only matchup took place in Philly and went the way of the defensively feisty Dragons despite seven blocks by Patriots center Erik Copes - in the first half.
Feb. 2, Howard vs. Savannah State (Burr Gymnasium) - The Bison's up and coming roster filled with eight sophomores and freshman are poised to improve on last season's 10 wins and make a corresponding move into the middle of the MEAC pack. The bonus here is catching a peek at the Tigers, the preseason conference favorite and the team primed to be this year's Norfolk State.
Feb. 9, George Washington vs. Butler (Smith Center) -- The Colonials host only one of the two new cool kid A-10 programs this year, specifically the 2010 and 2011 national runner-up Bulldogs. Bummer the floppy haired Matt Howard is long gone, but we still have the tactical coaching matchup to watch between Lonergan and Butler's Brad Stevens. GW's only game with Shaka Smart and VCU is Feb. 16 in Richmond.
Feb. 16, Maryland vs. Duke (Comcast Center) --This just in: these programs just plan don't like each other. Everyone - especially NBA scouts - will love watching the matchup in the middle between Duke's Mason Plumlee and Maryland's Alex Len, the 13th and 14th rated draft prospects according to Draft Express.
Feb. 16, Navy vs. Army (Alumni Hall) -- Wrong sport? Eh, whatever.
Mar. 6, Maryland vs. North Carolina (Comcast Center) -- No doubt we could have placed Maryland's January home date with ACC preseason favorite NC State on this list, but the Wolfpack remain third among Tobacco Road teams Terp fans are most amped to face. By this point in the season we'll know more about the new-look Tar Heels than we do now, but 6-foot-9 forward James Michael McAdoo likely inherits the role of go-to guy and thus is the one Maryland students will want to start developing chants about. Keep it clean kids.
Mar. 9, Georgetown vs. Syracuse (Verizon Center) -- As it turns out, the best comes last. Meeting in the regular season for the final team as Big East rivals. Thompson vs. Boeheim. Gray vs. Orange. The Princeton offense vs. the 2-3 zone. Echo's of Ewing, Floyd and Mourning vs. Pearl, Coleman and Douglas. None of the rooters on either side, the front row sitters to the upper deck face painters, want this longtime rivalry to end - but if this is it, March 9th can't get here soon enough.