Maryland Coach Lefty Driesell was amused yesterday that Virginia Coach Terry Holland and his all-America center, Ralph Sampson, have been complaining publicly that the Terrapins were undercutting Sampson in Virginia's overtime victory over Maryland Tuesday night.
"I didn't see anybody undercutting Ralph Sampson, did you?" Driesell remarked to several reporters. "But if it takes undercutting Sampson to win, we'll undercut him. I don't know what Terry is talking about. We ain't scared of Terry Holland or Ralph Sampson or nobody.
"Undercut? Hell, next time we'll uppercut him," Driesell continued, a grin breaking over his face and laughter breaking out among his listeners.
"But I don't want to sit here and rehash that Virginia game," Driesell said. "I'm trying to forget about that. We gotta beat Clemson on Saturday. I consider that almost a must game for us to win."
Driesell preferred to talk about what he perceives is a trend in college basketball: that most teams play slower basketball, take fewer risks, do less fast-breaking.
"Teams ain't running like they used to," Driesell said. "Everybody is slowing the thing down and making every possession important. Look at the box scores. There used to be scores in the 80s and 90s every night. But people have become adept at holding the ball. And they want to win. Now a lot of the scores are in the 40s and 50s."
Since Driesell cannot beat the system--at least not with his current team--he's joining it. This Maryland team will pass the ball more, run less or not at all, and hope for the type of results Driesell got for the first 35 minutes against Virginia.
"I'm violently opposed to slower play," Driesell said. "I don't like to coach that way. But if I've got to do it, I've got to do it. I never thought about using it until after the UCLA game (when the Terrapins were routed at Pauley Pavillion). But we've been having some success with it, if you can call winning one of three games successful.
"But nowadays, it's the way everybody is going. It's hard to run if nobody else is going to. I think the passing game started it. It's almost impossible to take the ball away. . . people picking and screening and moving all over the place.
"What we're running isn't a delay. I've used this offense before but we ran it a little faster. But we're becoming comfortable with it. I'm not real fired up about it. But it appears to be the best way to play with this particular team. Next year, I'm going back to running, though."