The last time Lefty Driesell came west to Pauley Pavilion was 1973. It was the year of Len Elmore, John Lucas and Tom McMillen and a 23-5 record.
Maryland lost that season opener to Bill Walton and to UCLA, 65-64. Still, those were good times for a good Maryland team, one that was ranked No. 4 in America going into the ACC tournament.
Right now, however, Driesell's team is rankled, not ranked. Consequently, Driesell, who turned 50 on Christmas Day, did not turn sentimental today.
"Things are a little different now," he said. "This is a rebuilding year for us."
Indeed, when Maryland plays at UCLA Tuesday night in a nationally televised game (WDVM-TV-9, 11:30), neither the Terrapins nor the Bruins will have those same regal bearings of 1973.
Maryland is 7-2 overall, 0-2 in the conference after losing to Georgia Tech last week.
UCLA is 5-2, but has lost three times: once to Brigham Young (79-75), once to Rutgers (57-54) and once to the NCAA (1-0). On Dec. 8, the NCAA placed the Bruins on probation for two years for various infractions. One of the repercussions is that the Bruins are ineligible for the NCAA tournament this season.
Another of the repercussions is that the Bruins have won three straight, beating Boston College (77-43), De Paul (87-75) and LSU (83-76).
So now, six days after losing, 45-43, at home to mediocre Georgia Tech and 2 1/2 weeks after getting ripped in Raleigh, 74-53, by North Carolina State, Maryland must now try to at least bring to a simmer the boiling Bruins.
"We are in a situation with nothing to lose and everything to gain," Driesell said. "We haven't got any control over our schedule. I suppose the timing of this game could have been better for us. From what I have seen of UCLA, I think they have awesome talent. But we are certainly not nervous going out there to play."
Driesell said he intends to employ the same starting lineup that he has used the last few games: Herman Veal (13 points, 10 rebounds per game) and Adrian Branch (15 points) at forward, Charles Pittman (11 points, eight rebounds) at center and Reggie Jackson (five points) and Jeff Adkins (nine points) at guard.
Even though Maryland is outrebounding its opponents, 36-32, this season, and even though no Driesell-coached team has been outrebounded in a season for the last 21 years (including nine years at Davidson), UCLA 7-foot freshman center Stuart Gray seems a legitimate worry for the Terrapins.
Maryland's tallest starter is 6-foot-8 Pittman. Said Driesell, "If things get out of hand on the boards then we might bring in (6-11 center) Taylor Baldwin. But I don't really think that's a worry. UCLA is better without Gray, I think. Their smaller, faster lineup has been working for them."
Larry Farmer, in his first year at UCLA, may be the first coach to have all-America talent on his bench. Guard Rod Foster and forward Darren Daye, two juniors who helped UCLA reach the NCAA finals as freshmen and who started last year as sophomores, have been sitting. The UCLA starting lineup has Gray at center, sophomore Ralph Jackson and junior Michael Holton at guard and sophomore Kenny Fields and senior Mike Sanders at forward.
"We don't like to slow it down and I know that UCLA sure won't slow it down either," said Driesell.
For the 13th-ranked Maryland women, who will play UCLA at 9 Tuesday, there has been too much of a slowdown recently.
Said Coach Chris Weller, "We are traditionally a slow-starting team. We have had a lot of nagging injuries. We are trying to work our way out of a difficult state right now."
The Maryland women won their first five games, then lost to No. 2 Old Dominion, 77-46. Unranked Villanova then beat the Maryland women at College Park, 74-61.
Senior forward Myra Waters, junior forward Jasmina Perazic and junior guard Debbie Lytle have been leading the Maryland women, who began the season ranked No. 9.
"I'd say, for the way we are playing, No. 13 is adequate for us," said Weller, whose team is the only one in the nation that has been ranked in the top 20 every week since its inception five years ago.