Georgetown and Maryland will be tested for the first time against outside competition tonight, playing exhibition basketball games against foreign teams at 8 o'clock on their home courts.
The Hoyas, the area team everyone is ranking in the national top 10, play their first game with Patrick Ewing and the rest of America's most highly publicized freshman class against Cibona of Yugoslavia at McDonough Arena. The Terrapins, unranked in the top 10, play the Australian national team at Cole Field House.
Georgetown Coach John Thompson, who likes to play nine or 10 men, will start Ewing, the 7-foot freshman from Cambridge, Mass., at center.
"I've never concerned myself with who is in the game with the score 0-0 and all the time on the clock," Thompson said. "It isn't that important. But I guess it makes sense for Patrick to start since he's got a better chance than anyone we have of getting the tap."
Ewing will be expected to do a lot more than win jump balls. So will fellow freshmen William Martin and Anthony Jones. Martin, 6-7, will play power forward and Jones will split time between small forward and big guard. "I've been surprised by how well Anthony has done at the big guard spot," Thompson said.
Still, Thompson doesn't expect Jones to play much at guard because of the presence of Eric (Sleepy) Floyd, the 6-4 senior who is on every major preseason all-America team. Floyd is the team leader and his play, with that of returnees Fred Brown, Eric Smith, Ed Spriggs and Mike Hancock, probably will have much to do with how much the Hoyas improve on last year's 20-12 record.
"This is a better team right now, I think, than the one that ended last season," Thompson said. "Of course we ended on a pretty sour note (a loss to James Madison in the NCAA postseason tournament) last year. I've been pleased with the way the freshmen have worked to fit in, but now I wish they would begin to assert their individual talents a little more.
"You can have two kinds of freshmen: the kind who comes in and tries to show you he's the best thing to hit the game since the tennis shoe, and the kind who wants to prove he's just one of the guys. We're having 'I'm one of the guys' going on. I'd like to see a little less of it."
Thompson is delighted his players finally are playing against an opponent, rather than against each other. "I'm tired of running plays and having the defense waiting for it. I want to find out if some of this stuff works.
"And," he added with a smile, "the kind of havoc we'll have will give me a chance to be a bear in practice."
Terrapin Coach Lefty Driesell thinks his team has a ways to go, but is pleased with freshman Adrian Branch, who will start at small forward tonight. "He'll be our all-time leading scorer if he stays four years," Driesell said yesterday of the De Matha High School graduate.
Driesell apparently has abandoned the idea of trying to start 6-10 Taylor Baldwin in the middle, and will go with Branch, Herman Veal and Charles Pittman up front. Reggie Jackson will be the wing guard and Dutch Morley or Steve Rivers will be at the point.
Driesell warned he doesn't want his guards, especially Jackson, shooting very much. "Reggie can shoot layups and 10-footers," he said. "But he thinks he's gotta come down like Kyle Macy and, voom, from 30 feet. If he does too much of that, he won't be the point or shooting guard. His cousins and fraternity brothers keep telling him he can shoot. But jump shooting ain't Reggie's game."
Cibona lost to Villanova, 89-63, last night.
Virginia guard Othell Wilson separated his left shoulder in a collision with Doug Newburg in practice Monday and is questionable for Saturday's season opener with Brigham Young at Springfield, Mass.
Maryland's Jon Robinson has a slipped disc in his back and will be examined by Dr. Stanford Lavine to see if he will be able to play this season . . . Hoya guard Gene Smith (broken foot) and 6-9 freshman Ralph Dalton (knee ligament operation) will miss at least part of the season. Thompson hopes Smith will be back at full speed by January. Dalton will be in a cast 10 to 12 weeks.