there is a chance Georgetown and Maryland will not be able to find a mutually acceptable date to play basketball next season, Georgetown Athletic Director Frank Rienzo said today.

"Carl James (the Maryland athletic director) and I have been talking on a regular basis to find a date to fit into our schedules," Rienzo said. "It's complicated by an additional team (Villanova) in our conference and their conference format will start in December.

"We're both interested with continuing the relationship. Even if we don't play next season, we're interested in continuing the relationship. No one should look at if we can't work it out as anything more than that."

It was Clarence (Big House) Gaines, the Winston-Salem State basketball coach, not North Carolina's Dean Smith, who tipped Georgetown's John Thompson on the ability of guard Eric (Sleepy) Floyd.

For two seasons, Thompson has said a friend of his in North Carolina had told him about Floyd. Everyone had asumed he meant Smith, under whom he was an assistant coach on the 1976 U.S. Olympic team. Thompson said, "I've let them go ahead and think that . . . I enjoy letting 'em have that gossip."

Gaines, who has more wins than any other active coach, mentioned Floyd to Thompson when the Georgetown coach was in Winston-Salem and told him about Floyd. Apparently Floyd was almost set up to go to Florida State, but Coach Hugh Durham moved to Georgia at that time and Thompson got his man.

Floyd, by the way, came to Georgetown listed at 6-foot-3. He says he now has grown to a shade over 6-4.

Villanova Coach Rollie Massimino is Pittsburgh's top choice to replace Tim Grgurich, who resigned last week. A decision should be forthcoming soon. Massimino's decision mainly involves money.

Pitt is offering $40,000, a camp and a radio show. At Villanova, Massimino reportedly makes $27,000 plus income from a summer camp.

The Big East Conference was a financial success in its first season. The league received $305,000 for its television package and expects profits from the basketball tournament to exceed $150,000. With expenses expected to be less than $200,000, the seven league schools including Georgetown will split the profit.

The addition of Villanova gives the Big East four of the nation's top 10 television markets -- No. 1 New York, No. 4 Philadelphia, No.6 Boston, No. 9 Washington.

Under the league's revenue-sharing program, Georgetown keeps 90 percent of the money it earns in the NCAA tournaments. The Hoyas made $200,000 if they gain the final four.

Georgetown's opponents had the best won-loss percentage of any of the 76 teams considered by the NCAA for the 25 at-large bids to the tournament. Its opponents were .650 against other major-college foes.