'Tis the season for holiday basketball tournaments, and American, Georgetown, Navy and Virginia all will be participants. The AU Eagles, however, won't be doing much celebrating until they end their three-game losing streak.
Maryland isn't in a tournament, but as a consolation, the Terrapins get to play UCLA at Pauley Pavilion in a nationally televised game Tuesday night (WDVM-TV-9, 11:30).
The hard-luck Eagles, who were defeated by host Tennessee on a last-second shot in the Volunteer Classic last week in what Coach Gary Williams called "the toughest loss of my career," will face UNC-Wilmington in the Senior Bowl Tournament tonight in Mobile, Ala. If they win, the Eagles, 3-4 and losers of three in a row, will face the winner of the South Alabama-Grambling game. That most likely means host South Alabama.
Williams is concerned that AU's two losses in the Tennessee tournament may adversely affect his team in Alabama. "Even though we played well at Tennessee, we didn't get any wins," he said. "Right now we're just looking for a win, and they happen to be our next game. If we don't play hard, they can beat us. They have already beaten two teams from our area (Towson State and Baltimore)."
All four of American's losses have been to teams that participated in the NCAA tournament last year.
UNC-Wilmington also is 3-4 and lost to North Carolina State by 34 points and Wake Forest by 26 in its last two games. Wilmington is a controlled-tempo team; Sean Williams is the only player whose scoring average is in double figures (16.7).
American's Mark Nickens goes into the tournament as the nation's 23rd-leading scorer, with a 22.1 average.
Georgetown, 7-2 and ranked 13th in the United Press International poll and 17th in the Associated Press poll, will play Columbia at 9 p.m. Tuesday in the second game of the four-team Rochester Classic. Niagara and Utah play in the 7 o'clock opener.
The Hoyas, who have won six straight, shouldn't be too hard-pressed. This tournament should serve as a good tuneup for their game with St. John's Jan. 6 at Madison Square Garden.
Before St. John's, the Hoyas will play Robert Morris Saturday afternoon at Capital Centre.
Virginia, 8-0 and fourth in the AP poll, third in UPI, should add to its victories in the Richmond Times-Dispatch Tournament now that Ralph Sampson's broken finger has healed.
Richmond will face the Cavaliers in the opening game Wednesday at 9. The winner will face the James Madison-Virginia Commonwealth winner for the championship the following night.
Regardless of what happens in Richmond, James Madison will get a shot at Virginia Saturday at Charlottesville.
Navy drew host Providence in the first round of the INBANK Classic Tuesday. Massachusetts plays Northwestern in the other game.
Southeastern is in the Eastern College Holiday tournament in St. Davids, Pa., this week with Eastern, Stockton State and Alvernia. Southeastern will face Stockton State in the opener Tuesday.
George Washington, George Mason, University of the District of Columbia and Bowie State also will be in action this week. The Colonials play host to Towson State Wednesday, the same night George Mason entertains East Carolina. The Patriots travel to Niagara Saturday.
UDC is at Charleston and Bowie State at Shaw (N.Y.) Saturday.