Maryland may need the luck of the Irish today when it plays high-flying Notre Dame, the nation's top-ranked and hottest-shooting college basketball team.
The 3:30 p.m. game at Cole Field House (WRC-TV-4), which comes exactly one week after the Terps suffered a one-point loss to No. 2-ranked North Carolina, is sold out. Maryland is 13-5. Notre Dame is 12-1 with a seven-game winning streak, and two consecutive victories over Maryland.
In another local game, 11th-ranked Georgetown plays American University at Fort Myer at 8 p.m. (WTTG-TV-5). Georgetown is heavily favored over AU, which will play without leading scorer Stan Lamb.
Lamb was dismissed from school this week because of academic problems, and the decision was upheld yesterday in a last-appeal meeting with the school's associate dean, Ruth McFeeter.
Georgetown is 15-2 with a six-game winning streak; AU is 11-7 and has three consecutive victories.
George Mason, which won only nine games in each of the past two seasons, takes a 10-4 record into tonight's 7:30 game against visiting University of Baltimore (2-13). The Patriots are seeking their sixth straight victory, which would equal a school record.
Also at home is Navy, opposing Old Dominion at 2:30 p.m. George Washington is at Stetson (Fla.), 8 p.m., and Virginia plays at North Carolina State, 1 p.m. (WJLA-TV-7).
Notre Dame leads the nation is field-goal accuracy with 57.4 percent.Coach Digger Phelps shuffles 10 players in and out, and he enjoys the luxury of weeding out the players who aren't "up" on a particular day and virtually always has a solid, efficient unit on the floor.
"I don't think it will be an upset if we beat them," Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell said. "They won't wear us down. We have depth, too, and the game won't last but 40 minutes."
Driesell revealed that Greg Manning is suffering from "mononucleosis" and Albert King has "some weird, tropical disease." This was Driesell's way of indicating that he was still upset over the loss seven days ago to a North Carolina team that was missing starters Mike O'Koren and Dave Colescott.
"You didn't see O'Koren limping last night, did you?" Driesell said, referring to North Carolina's televised victory over Wake Forest.
"It looked to me as if he could have played against us, but this way if they lost without him they have a good excause and if they win without him they look like miracle workers."
Maryland's best hope is to make use of its superior speed. To offset this, Notre Dame hopes to gain control of the boards.
"We'll just have to beat them with our depth and with our strength in rebounding," said Notre Dame's leading scorer, small forward Kelly Tripucka.
One of the key matchups will be Maryland's leading scorer, 6-foot-7 Ernest Graham, and Notre Dame's 6-7 Bill Hanzlik.
Graham has had field days lofting jumpers over smaller guards this year, so Hanzlik may be a bigger obstacle.
AU usually has barnburners with Georgetown at Fort Myer, even though it is reputed to be an icebox.
Two years ago, the game was held up while Georgetown argued the gym was too cold. Yesterday, a Georgetown official quipped, "They've probably had the doors open for a week."
There is little humor being tossed around at AU, however, where the focus has been making up for the loss of Lamb, who had been averaging 24 points at guard.
"It hurts from the standpoint that we can't concentrate on Georgetown. We have to just concentrate on our own team, reworking the offense to get other people shooting more," Coach Gary Williams said."It's hurt my preparation.
"Obviously, Georgetown is quicker than we are and we have to somehow keep the tempo under control. It's not our style to slow it down. I can't see us holding the ball."
Georgetown leads the series, 32-7, and has won the last three. Hoya guard John Duren needs five points to become the 14th member of the school's 1,000-point club. He's also had 47 assists in the past six games.
Forward Craig (Big Sky) Shelton has shot 71 percent in the past five games and 6-11 center Tom Scates has blossomed in the last two, scording 17 points after collecting a total of only 14 in the previous 14 games. He has 13 blocked shots in that period.
The Eagles' 6-5 forward, Boo Bowers, has scored more than 20 points in 10 straight games and is averaging 25.6 in that span.