Steve Martin, Georgetown's injured forward, is expected to play at least half the game when the Hoyas meet Old Dominion in the ECAC Southern Division basketball playoff Wedensday night.
The Monarchs, however, will be without their star forward, Ronnie Valentine, whose 36 points in ODU's victory over Georgetown two years ago stands as an ECAC tourney record. Valentine suffered a broken foot earlier this month and will play no more this season.
Without Valentine, Old Dominion has won five of its last six games, including a key victory over Virginia Commonwealth, to finish 21-5 and earn the spot over VCU for the 8 p.m. game at Robins Center (WINX-1600).
"Anytime you lose a player of Valentine's ability, it hurts your team. And it has," ODU Coach Paul Webb said. "But when Ronnie got hurt, it didn't affect our players from the aspect of getting down and folding. We're still playing with the same intensity as we have all year. We're just playing hard."
The winner will meet the survivor of the Upstate New York playoff between Syracuse and St. Bonaventure in Rochester Wednesday night. If Georgetown wins, that gamewill be played Saturday at Cole Field House, with the winner gaining a berth in the 40-team NCAA tournament.
Georgetown Coach John Thompson feels the Hoyas, 22-4, and ranked 15th and 16th in the polls after their best regular season in the school's 72-year basketball history, deserve an at-large bid regardless of what they do Wednesday night.
ODU starts two freshmen, 6-foot-6 Ronnie McAdoo and 6-5 Tommy Branch (from De Matha High), at forward with center Mike Ray and second guard Bobby Vaughn having little playing experience prior to this season.
Thompson says Georgetown's ability to run its offense will be a major key to deciding the outcome.
The one area in which Georgetown appears to have a decided advantage is rebounding. "Our rebounding is fair," said Webb. "We'd like to control the boards, but the main thing we have to do is make sure we don't get hurt on the boards."
The Hoya board strength would be even better with Martin, who said he had no pain in the shoulder during practice today. "The flow in his shot is good," Thompson said. "But my concern is rebounding and defense -- the contact work. It's not a question of pain, but strength."