College basketball fans in Virginia pining for more intrastate competition will get their wish in December of 2012 and ’13.
At the prompting of Gov. Bob McDonnell, the Richmond Coliseum will host one-night holiday doubleheaders in each of those years.
The 2012 games are Richmond versus George Mason and Virginia against Old Dominion. The 2013 contests are James Madison-Hampton and Virginia Tech-VCU.
Five of the eight participants -- Richmond, Mason, ODU, VCU and Hampton -- earned NCAA tournament bids last season. The Spiders, Patriots and Rams advanced, the latter famously to the Final Four.
A news conference is scheduled for Wednesday morning at the Coliseum to formally announce the Governor's Holiday Hoops Classic.
The concept is similar to the Richmond Times-Dispatch Invitational, which ran from 1976-91. The two-night, four-game tournament featured VCU and Richmond annually, with the other spots rotating among Virginia, Virginia Tech, ODU, JMU and William and Mary.
Crowds at Richmond Coliseum were always above-average and occasionally sold out.
The Governor's Classic will provide fans matchups they rarely see.
Richmond and George Mason haven’t played since 2001, when both competed in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Spiders then moved to the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Virginia and ODU played in the 2008 CBI postseason tournament, but the Cavaliers and Monarchs have not scheduled one another during the regular season since 1996.
Tech and VCU have not met since 1995, when both played in the now-defunct Metro Conference. The Hokies now compete in the ACC, the Rams in the CAA.
Hampton and JMU last collided in 1997.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun