Moments after they had finished off Tennessee, 86-75, in their second-round NCAA game Saturday, Maryland's basketball players found themselves besieged by questions on one topic: Georgetown.
"I'm not going to say anything wild, come on, don't ask me that stuff," said guard Dutch Morley. "Sure, it's a big game. It's an NCAA game so it's a big game no matter who we play."
Them Morley smiled. "I'll say one thing though. If we play them, it'll really be something."
The Terps. led by Coach Lefty Drisell, are being careful not to say anything about revenge or wanting Georgetown. The Hoyas beat Maryland in December, a game in which center Buck Williams did not play because of a broken finger.
"I'm glad to get a chance to play against them," Williams said. "It was tough watching the first time. I know this is going to be a very emotional game, because it's the NCAA and be cause it's Georgetown. It'll be like playing (North) Carolina or Duke in the Acc."
During that first meeting, Driesell and Georgetown Coach John Thompson exchanged angry words during the first half. Driesell, in fact, refused to shake Thompson's hand after the game.
Yesterday, Driesell wasn't about to start a verbal battle after he watched the Hoyas' 74-71 win over Iona. "That has nothing to do with this game," he said.
Driesell also pointed out that Georgetown beat Maryland last season," and that was with Buck. They've beaten us two straight. I'm looking forward to playing them again. Anything they do we've faced over the course of the season. I think we'll be ready."
Clearly, the Terps will be ready. "We'd definitely like to play them again," said Greg Manning. "They beat us the first time when we weren't playing at our best. We're playing better now. Not making excuses or anything, but we're obviously a better team with Buck in there. It'll be an emotional game from start to finish."
The most interesting matchup in the game will undoubtedly be Albert King, Maryland's ACC player of the year, against Georgetown star Craig Shelton. But King wasn't about to start talking about that matchup yet.
"It's Maryland against Georgetown, not King against Shelton," he said. "This is a team game. I'm not going to win the game alone and neither is Craig."
King reported no problems with his left ankle yesterday. He sprained it slightly coming down from a jump shot against Tennessee but no serious swelling developed overnight.
"I'm just glad to get a chance to go home and play in the NCAAs," said Philadelphia native Reggie Jackson.
"It'll be nice to play Georgetown but I really don't care who we play. Just so we're there."
Only Williams was willing to concede that there was something special about this matchup. "It'll be like an ACC game because it'll be so emotional," he said. "But there's one big difference. The team that loses won't want to go back to Washington. You lose, you can't go home."