By the end of the 2002-03 college basketball season, Georgetown will have had a total of nine chances to prove to the NCAA selection committee that they deserve to be dancing in March. So far, the Hoyas have blown five of those chances, losing at UVA, at Duke, at Pittsburgh, at Notre Dame and at Syracuse. To prove that they belong in the tournament, the Hoyas will have to perform well in their remaining contests against the Fighting Irish, Panthers and Orangemen, as well as make a run in the Big East Tournament in arch (in addition to winning the rest of their conference games and the UCLA game). So what’s the good news? Three of these four chances will take place on Georgetown’s home court. Oh wait, even that’s not good news.

If this were Boston College, or Notre Dame, or Pitt, or even UConn, there would be no problem. Teams that Georgetown lost to by one on the road would have to come into our house, onto our campus, and face the yells of a rowdy, student-dominated crowd. Instead, the Hoyas will take on these teams in an MCI Center that will be about two-thirds empty, and the students’ cheers will be lost in the rafters. If Georgetown should win its next three big matchups, it will essentially have done so on a neutral court.

Last week, before the Hoyas’ embarrassing loss to Seton Hall in overtime, Hoya Blue circulated a petition asking the administration to move at least three games back to McDonough Arena next season. I say, why not move them all?

Only 7,242 people attended the Rutgers game, according to the official statistics. It might as well have been 700, because 95 percent of the people sitting in the student section sat on their hands the entire game. Does this help the team? Not a chance. Move this game to McDonough Arena, however, and a capacity crowd of around 4,500 (that includes standing room) would make the place rock.

The only possible disadvantage to moving games back on campus would be the financial loss that the university might incur due to fewer ticket sales. I use the word “might” because neither Georgetown nor MCI Center will say how much cash the former takes in for every game. Nor do they have to, legally, because Georgetown is a private educational institution. I would be willing to bet, however, that the basketball team doesn’t get to play games downtown for free. The question is whether this cost is higher than what Georgetown takes in from the seats it sells. One would think that if the university were, in fact, losing money by holding games at MCI, the switch back to campus would have already occurred. But throwing money away seems to be what Georgetown does best (see: the Car Barn, Craig Esherick’s contract extension), so it’s not out of the question that we’re in the red here. Think about it this way: even if Georgetown did keep every single penny they made on ticket sales for the Seton Hall game, the total would amount to small change for an institution that receives over $35,000 per year in tuition fees from each student. In contrast, games at McDonough would cost the university next to nothing.

And if the university is really that concerned about the money they’ll lose through diminished seating capacity, here’s my message to them: suck it up and sell out to get the cDonough renovation done. After four seasons of riding in yellow school buses, Metro buses, Metrorail cars and taxis, I don’t care if the Hoyas play their home games in the Depends Adult Incontinence Products Arena, as long as games return to what we now call McDonough. The current plan, however, is to wait until the multi-sport complex gets finished around 2004, then start digging up private donors to finance the $20 million plans. That’s too long for a program that has hovered in the middle of the Big East conference for five years and desperately needs a shot in the arm.

So here’s my challenge to the university: move one Big East game to campus and see what happens. It’s something that hasn’t been tried since 1984. It doesn’t even have to be a good game. Heck, move next year’s West Virginia game on campus and I guarantee that the house will be packed and the noise level higher than one could ever hope for at MCI. Otherwise, explain to the student body why the team has something to lose by moving back to campus.

In a previous column, I stated that if Hoya Blue did not start distributing sheets with previously thought-out cheers for basketball games by the UCLA game, I would set up an email account where students could send their ideas, and I would then compile and distribute them. Send your creative Bruins insults/Hoya cheers for Saturday’s game to gtownbasketballhotmail.com.

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