Turbulent waters lie ahead for the Georgetown University basketball team, after six straight victories of mostly smooth, easy sailing. The 15th-ranked Hoyas will play No. 12 Villanova in a Big East game tonight at 8 o'clock at the Palestra in Philadelphia (WTTG-TV-5).
Beyond Villanova, after Saturday's nationally televised game against De Paul, lies conference games next week against No. 6 St. John's and No. 18 Syracuse.
Ah, the joys of the Big East.
Even Georgetown Coach John Thompson says, "When we look at all of it, it scares the hell out of us."
Georgetown is 15-4, 6-1 in the Big East, after the 69-67 escape victory over Boston College Saturday. Villanova is 13-3, 6-1 in the Big East, tied with the Hoyas for second place behind St. John's (18-1, 7-1).
The Hoyas defeated Boston College only after freshman David Wingate picked up a loose ball and dribbled 75 feet to score a breakaway layup with one second left. "I'm hoping this game will help us," Thompson said. "This is a crazy group. I don't know what to expect."
Against Villanova, you can usually expect trouble. The Wildcats are led by senior center John Pinone, who averages 17 points per game, and sophomore forward Ed Pinckney, averaging 13 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Dwayne McClain has returned from a foot injury to provide further trouble for the Hoyas.
Actually, history shows Villanova could be a somewhat easy mark for the Hoyas, Georgetown has beaten Villanova in the teams' last six games, five times in the previous two Big East seasons. The Wildcats last beat Georgetown in 1965.
For those who prefer their basketball in person, tonight's Navy-Maryland game at Cole Field House will provide an opportunity to see two surprising 11-5 teams. Navy is surprising because of its best start in 23 years; Maryland because of its inconsistency.
Also at home tonight will be George Mason, against Richmond, in an ECAC South game at 7:30. In other games, Howard will play at Florida A&M, American at Northeastern, and District of Columbia at California (Pa.) State.
At Maryland, even though Steve Rivers scored a career-high 29 points, including six three-point baskets in seven attempts, in the Terrapins' 86-81 Atlantic Coast Conference victory over North Carolina State Saturday night, he probably won't be as big a scoring threat tonight, because Navy opted not to use the three-point shot or 30-second clock.
Until Saturday night, Maryland had not utilizied the three-point shot as other ACC teams have this season.
"It was something we worked on a lot in practice all week," Rivers said, "so it was sort of planned that Coach (Lefty) Driesell would bring me in off the bench to provide some outside shooting."
Maryland has won four straight and with games this week also against Old Dominion and Georgia Tech, the Terrapins could make the national rankings with three impressive victories.
Navy is getting solid play from guards David Brooks and Rob Romaine, center Cliff Maurer and forward Vernon Butler.
Butler, a 6-foot-7 freshman from High Point High School, is averaging 11 points and nine rebounds per game. He is the ECAC South leader in rebounds. Brooks is leading Navy with 17 points per game, and Romaine, now playing at the point, is averaging 6.7 assists.