Maryland coach Lefty Driesell has reportedly recovered from his angry outburst Saturday night after the Terrapins embarrassed themselves in a regular-season-ending loss to Virginia, 79-70.
It was a game Driesell wanted to win, or at least have his team play well in, with the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament next on the schedule at the Greensboro Coliseum starting Wednesday.
In one bracket, Duke (8-4 and 20-6) plays Clemson (3-9, 15-11) at 3 p.m. and north Carolina State (7-5, 18-8) plays Maryland (3-9, 14-12) at 7 p.m. (WJLA-TV-7).
In the other bracket, Virginia (6-6, 20-6) meets Wake Forest (6-6, 17-9) at 9 p.m. One ticket is good for admission to the early game, another is required for the two later games. Season champion North Carolina (9-3, 23-6) has a bye into Thursday's semifinals. The final is scheduled Saturday.
Prior to last Wednesday night's Wake Forest game, Driesell had coaxed his players into considering it "a new season."
The Terps, who had improved shakily, played their best game of the year in defeating Wake Forest, blending their skills into an impressive 91-89 team victory.
But Saturday night, the Terrapins played as badly as at any time this year -- losing the ball, shooting when they should pass, slumping off the boards and finally having Ernest Graham ejected from the game for throwing a swift elbow at Virginia forward Lee Raker.
Driesell blew up at his team and left hastily, foregoing the usual postgame press conference.
"What did you expect him to do?" said forward Lawrence Boston. "Clap his hands and cheer?"
Telephone calls trickled into the The Post yesterday, objecting to Driesell's alleged use of profanity in dealing with the players. Graham had said that he "would not want to repeat" the things Driesell had said.
Driesell was not reachable yesterday but someone who had spoken with him said he was in good spirits.
This has been Driesell's worst trek through the regular Atlantic Coast Conference season in his nine years at Maryland, finishing 3-9, and he has never won the ACC tournament.
There was talk that Driesell was so unhappy that he might leave, and that Tennessee might be the destination.
That talk has subsided, however, as the name of Lee Rose (head coach of UNC-Charlotte) has become the most prominent in the Tennessee picture, while Driesell $99[word illegible] being contacted.
"I'm not a quitter. I don't know where this stuff is coming from." Driesell had said before Saturday's game. "I've always said anyone would do anything for enough money. I have four years left on my contract and I don't know if I could leave if I wanted to.
"I'm not interested in any job but the Maryland job. I wouldn't want to leave after a season like this. When I left Davidson I had been 27-3, and I didn't feel guilty. Leaving hasn't entered my mind."
A bit later, Driesell picked up a telephone and, without punching any numbers, said, "May I have the University of Tennessee please?" It was a new phone contained in a black leather box and had not been plugged in.
"See?" said Driesell."I have a new desk and a new chair and a new phone. This would be a terrible time to leave."