Tis no longer the season to be jolly; now the college basketball tumult really begins.
December, that time of getting-to-know-you Christmas tournaments and handpicked schedules, was the kindest of months to most Washington-area teams. Five of them emerged with winning records and New Year's resolutions to do even better.
Maryland hosts Richmond (5-5) while Boston University (2-6) visits GU, both games at 8 p.m. Texas Wesleyan is at Navy at 7:15 p.m., while Howard visits strong Norfolk State at 8 p.m. and American U. plays in the second round of the Sienna Tournament.
As long as Maryland stays home, it may not need to make any New Year's resolutions. After an opening loss at Cole Field House, Maryland has won nine a row there.
The longest winning streak in Lefty Driesell's eight years at Maryland has been 11 games and the Terps could top that without stepping outside the beltway, since potential victories 11 and 12 could come against Wake Forest and North Carolina State this Saturday and Sunday.
Driesell is delighted with the young team he has nurtured on home cooking. Two freshmen, Billy Bryant (9.0 points) and Jo Jo Hunter (5.6), are the second and third guards.
Center Larry Gibson is maturing, Bryant is playing with offensive abandon and Steve Sheppard (16.6) is getting better and better.
Georgetown's resolution are simple - rebound better, stop the offensive dry spells and pray for Craig Shelton's healing knee.
The Hoyas are tall, but thin, and against bruising teams they can play considerably smaller than their listed heights. Great speed, which GU has, and outstanding shooters are wasted without rebounders to get the fast break running.
Forwards like Al Dutch, Larry Long and Steven Martin can go high for a ball, but all weigh less than 185 pounds and when a 215-pounder leans on them they can suddenly become earthbound.
One solution would be Shelton, a 6.7 dervish of elbows and knees who creates space around himself and loosens up the rebounding for others. But his broken kneecap still is not right after more than six months. Both Shelton and coach John Thompson wonder when the schoolboy "Dream Teamer" should make his debut. "Better a day, a week or a month too late, than a minute too soon," says Thompson.
While GU worries, Howard only has to wait for matters to get even better. The best Bison defender - 6-foot-10 transfer Dorian Dent - becomes eligible tonight.
"That purely can't hurt," said coach A. B. Williamson, who foresees an occasional pivot duo of Dent and 6-9 John Mullen, plus 6-5 John Smith moving back to guard for a lineup "that won't look like a bunch of midgets next to anybody."
Navy's opponents might think they are seeing seven men at once. The Mids are currently second in the nation in defense, allowing 58.5 points a game. Navy, against the like of Penn, Princeton, Richmond, Temple and Furman, has a 439-329 season rebounding advantage that has even first year coach Bill Hamilton amazed.
One local team made no New Year's resolutions whatsoever. "We don't want to change anything," said AU coach Jim Lynam, "just keep exactly the way we are." Currently the Eagles are very healthy and very deep. Three players are mainstays: 6-5 Calvin (CB) Brown, 18 points; 6-9 Howie Lassoff, averaging 10 points and 10 rebounds, and mercurial frosh guard Butch Slappy. At least seven other Eagles share the rest of the playing time.