"Virginia is a better club. Georgetown starts too many kids who don't shave," said Al McGuire, who coached Marquette to the 1977 NCAA basketball championship and is now a television commentator.
"I don't think Georgetown's inexperienced," said Bob Weinhauer, who led Pennsylvania to the final four in 1979 and now coaches Arizona State.
"Georgetown's two sophomore forwards, who started one game between them last year, played a lot and are experienced. The two freshmen guards are two of the better freshmen in the country, and they have upperclassmen behind them on the bench."
Obviously, the experts are split on which team will win Saturday night when top-ranked Virginia and third-ranked Georgetown play at Capital Centre. The presence of Ralph Sampson, Virginia's 7-foot-4 senior center, and Patrick Ewing, Georgetown's 7-foot sophomore center, makes this one of the most interesting regular-season college games in many years.
But most of the experts contacted by The Washington Post in an informal, unscientific survey were certain the outcome of this game will not depend on which center plays better.
"The centers will play to a standstill," said Weinhauer, "but Georgetown's going to win because of overall team quickness."
"The big guys will play well, work hard and get off to slow starts because of the tension of playing each other," said Ed Tapscott, American University coach. "The game will be decided by the supporting cast. Othell Wilson will give the Georgetown guards fits, but Georgetown has better athletes at the other positions. I'll take Georgetown.
"Virginia can win. Sampson has to play well, Othell Wilson has to play well and somebody else has to play well."
Jerry Tarkanian, coach at Nevada-Las Vegas: "Virginia. They've got a more veteran ball club and a quick point guard to go along with Sampson, who is the greatest player I've ever seen. Othell Wilson gives them the quickness to handle the pressure John (Thompson) will throw at them, and Sampson's phenomenal."
"They're going to wear Othell down with the press and I don't think Ricky Stokes can sustain it," said Wil Jones, coach of the University of the District of Columbia, defending Division II champion. "Sampson has an advantage with his height and his experience, but Patrick can hold his own if he doesn't get in foul trouble."
"I'm pointing to a Virginia win," said Dick Vitale, a television commentator who once coached at Seton Hall and Detroit. "They're so well schooled and Othell is the big edge, even if Ewing does negate Sampson. Othell has the advantage over any guard Georgetown can put out there."
And there are some coaches uncertain of who'll win, or at least noncommittal.
"The guard play will decide the game, but I don't know who'll win," said Gerry Gimelstob, coach at George Washington. "Both teams will be ready and play very hard. Whichever team makes the fewer mistakes will win. It'll be a relatively low-scoring game, in the 50s or 60s."
Lefty Driesell, Maryland's coach: "In terms of experience, Virginia has a pretty good edge. Patrick is a dominating force and if he dominates like he did in the championship game, Virginia will find it tough. But if Ralph plays like he has in other big games, the same goes for Georgetown. I haven't really decided what I think will happen."
Don Devoe, coach at Tennessee, calls the game a tossup, but gives Georgetown an edge because of Ewing.
"He seems to play with a bit more intensity," said DeVoe. "Georgetown does a few more things with getting Ewing the basketball, and Sampson doesn't seem to want the ball. But if Sampson gets cranked up, watch out. But he doesn't always work hard. He's the kind of player who can get lost sometimes, but I don't think that's going to happen against Ewing."
Some coaches, a few on the record but most off of it, question why Virginia cannot get the ball inside to Sampson when it is necessary.
In Virginia's two NCAA tournament games last season, a victory over Tennessee and a loss to Alabama-Birmingham, Sampson had to go outside to get the ball. Wilson was injured and hardly played in either game.
"I think Georgetown has more and better athletes, and frankly I think Big John is a better coach than Terry Holland," said Tapscott. "I see Georgetown utilizing Ewing, who is not the offensive player that Sampson is, better than Virginia utilizes Sampson.
"Virginia has trouble getting the ball to Sampson. Maybe we're maligning Holland. Maybe it's by design, that he doesn't want to overemphasize getting the ball into Sampson, that he wants to keep his team concept."
For UDC's Jones, there is no matchup more important than where the game is being played.
"The home court is more important in this series than Sampson's four inches," Jones said. "Georgetown will win by 12 points. You think I'm crazy, don't you? But Washington kids get up for big games. And the hype for this one is so great, I like the Hoyas."