Georgetown and Maryland close out regular-season play on the road Saturday, preparing for tournaments and worrying about injured players.
Sixteenth-ranked Georgetown (21-4) shoots for the best season record in its 72-year basketball history, playing at Holy Cross at 7:30 p.m. (WTTG-TV-5) without swingman Steve Martin.
Maryland duels Virginia (at 3 p.m. WJLA-TV-7) for third place in the Atlantic Coast Conference without hotshooting guard Greg Manning, the Terps' best player over the last several games. And point guard Dutch Morley has a sprained ankle. His status is uncertain.
In other games involving area teams, George Washington (13-12 overall, 5-4 in the Eastern Eight) hosts West Virginia (14-11 and 6-3) at 8 p.m., with the winner receiving the home-court advantage in the first round of the conference tournament that begins Tuesday.
Army (14-10) visits Navy (11-12) at 4 p.m. and Catholic (6-19) is at Long Island University (11-13).
Georgetown's Martin has a partially separated right shoulder and jogged today with his arm taped to his torso. He is not expected to play.
Georgetown believes another victory would virtually assure the Hoyas an at-large NCAA bid if they fail to win the Eastern College Athletic Conference Southern Division playoff Wednesday at Richmond. A victory at Holy Cross' Hart Center, where the Crusaders are 45-5, would give Georgetown six straight victories going into postseason play.
But Georgetown Coach John Thompson said today, "I'm more concerned about Steve Martin than I am about momentum."
A Georgetown spokesman said Martin could be pressed into service if this were a very important game, but that he is being held out to prevent further injury.
Martin starts at small forward but spells John Duren at point guard.Freshman Eric Smith is expected to make his first collegiate start in place of Martin, and another freshman, Jeff Bullis, will see considerable action.
"John Duren's position is the one I worry about," Thompson said. "Steve is my second-best point guard. It's harder to substitute for John when Steve is out than it is to substitute for Steve."
Holy Cross has lost four straight games to Georgetown, its last victory over the Hoyas coming in January of 1975. The Crusaders are led by guard Ron Perry, the nation's 11th-leading scorer at 24.6 points a game. But he ususally falls below that mark against Georgetown. Perry is shooting 91 percent from the free-throw line.
Georgetown already is assured a spot in the ECAC Southern Division championship game Wednesday night at Richmond, probably against Old Dominion. If Georgetown wins that game, it moves on to play the winner of the Syracuse-St. Bonaventure game at Cole Field House on March 3.
Maryland and Virginia have identical records, 6-5 in the ACC and 17-8 overall. The winner earns third place in the ACC and plays the sixth-place team, either Wake Forest or N.C. Sate in the first round of the conference tournament. The loser of the Maryland game plays Clemson.
Maryland has had plenty of problems with Wake Forest this season. So, the Terrapins may be better off losing to Virginia, then playing Clemson, a team they have beaten twice. A victory over the Cavaliers might mean playing Wake, a team that defeated the Terps, 66-60, and lost, 54-53, during the regular season.
If N.C. State beats Wake on Saturday they will tie for sixth place and a coin flip on Sunday morning would determine who plays the third-place team. If Wake Forest wins it is the undisputed sixth-place finisher and plays the winner of the Maryland-Virginia game.
Manning will miss the game with a fracture of the transverse process at the third lumbar vertebra (in the lower back), sustained when he fell on his back after making a fast-break layup against Wake Forest Wednesday night. He was examined yesterday by Dr. Thomas Foley and his future availability will be determined on a game-to-game basis.
Virginia starting forward Lee Raker one of the Cavaliers' key players, was listed as extremely doubtful for the game with a pulled stomach muscle that forced him to miss four games earlier in the season. Coach Terry Holland said Raker could play but that he did not want to risk further injury.
Maryland learned today that Morley jammed his right heel and hurt his ankle in Wednesday's game. He was unable to practice or run today, but made the trip to Charlottesville. A decision on his playing will be made at game time.
If Maryland loses both Morley and Manning, starters Reggie Jackson and Ernest Graham must be depended on to play almost the entire game. Graham is in a horrendous slump, dropping from a 19-point average after having scored only four points in his last three games.
George Washington Coach Bob Tallent said his team's contest against West Virginia "is definitely our biggest game. If we win, we get that home-court advantage. And we're not a great road team."
George Washington is 9-3 at Smith Center, 4-9 elsewhere.
West Virginia is 1-7 away from Morgantown, but has been led to 13 victoriesat home by guard Lowes Moore,