While Georgetown is on the road tonight, trying to equal its all-time basketball winning streak, George Washington and Navy will be at hime against two of the East's top teams.
If you are basketball fan without loyalty to any of the teams involved, GW's 8 p.m. Eastern Eight game against 11-3 Rutgers and Navy's 7:15 contest against 12-1 Temple offer a rare choice.
For fast-paced basketball there is GW against Rutgers and its standout center, James Bailey, a freshman starter when the Knights made it to the NCAA final four in 1976.For a chess-game style, there is Navy trying to outwit Temple's outstanding zone defense.
Meanwhile, Georgetown seeks its 11th straight victory, in one of the legitimate home-court pits of Eastern basketball, Walsh Gym in East Orange, N.J., where Seton Hall (7-6) has won 55 of its last 61 games.
In other games tonight, American hosts West Chester in an 8 p.m. game at Ft. Myer; Virginia and Virginia Tech renew their intrastate rivalry in Roanoke at 7; Catholic, with five victories in six games, travels to Baltimore-Loyola at 8, and George Mason hosts Randolph-Macon at 8.
Despite its strong overall record, Rutgers is off to a 1-2 strat in Eastern Eight play. GW is 2-2 in the league and 7-4 overall. Tonight's loser virtually will lose any chance of catching frontrunners Villanova and Duquesne for the top seedings in the league tournament.
George Washington will be strengthened by the availability of point guard Daryle Charles, a transfer from La Salle who becomes eligible tonight. He should give GW more fire-power at guard, a position at which neither team has excelled itself this season.
"We're fairly similar in that both teams will score inside," said GW coach Bob Tallent."It's a good assumption that both teams will sag back inside. We've got to stop Bailey."
Bailey scored 43 points in Rutger's recent victory over William and Mary, leading his fans to unfurl a banner, "King James and His Knights." The Scarlet Knights also have another top inside scorer in Hollis Copeland. Their other frontcourt starter, Abdel Anderson, is questionable tonight with a knee injury.
After beating a strong St. Francis (Pa.) team Saturday to improve its record to 9-5, talk of postseason tournament play came up at the Naval Academy for the fist time in two decades. A win over Temple would greatly improve the Mids' chances.
Temple has lost only to once-beaten Virginia in 13 games. All five Owl starters are scoring in double figures. They have a 6-foot-11 freshman center (Ron Wister) who led them over Villanova most recently, and they play zone defense as well as any team in the nation. It's the only defense they play.
All these things worry Navy coach Bob Hamilton, who outlined the Mids' mission tonight:
"We have to limit some of their offense - not let the score at will inside and take away uncontested shots on the perimeter. We have to hold our own in rebounding. And it will depend on our ability to attack their zone, to have patience."
The Gorgetown game pairs the two best sets of starting guards in the East: the Hoyas' johan Duren and Derrick Jackson, and Seton Hall's Greg Tynes and Nick Galis. Tynes has recently been slowed bya leg injury, but has continued to play.
Georgetown ranks among the nations's best teams in field-goal percentage. The Hoyans' 53 per cent accuracy is not achieved on inside chippies, but on the outside shooting of Duren and Jackson. When the Hoyas do get in side, as they did against Alabama, their shooting can border on the phenomenal, as their 68 per cent accuracy in that game showed.
But Seton Hall is no shooting slouch, either.The Pirates have won six of their past seven encounters with Georgetown and last year shot 74 per cent in the second half at McDonough Gym. Randy Duffin, 6-4 forward, is the Pirate streak shooter. He was nine for 10 in the second half against Georgetown last year and was 14 for 17 in a recent win over St. John's.