These are the games Lefty Driesell loves.
Twice last year Maryland lost to forlorn Georgia Tech. Twice the Terrapins' coach said he was embarrassed.
Georgia Tech comes into Cole Field House at 3 p.m today for an Atlantic Coast Conference game with Maryland. And Driesell has at hand his favorite motivational tool: revenge.
"I don't like any team that beats me twice in a year," Driesell said. "I'm looking forward to this, let's just say that. Stay out of my way before the game."
For that matter, this doesn't seem to be a good time to get in Driesell's or the Terrapins' way.
"I'm pleased with our progress," Driesell said. "We're a young team that's gotten better. We're ready to make a move right now, if we're gonna make one."
Maryland has won six straight and is 13-5 overall. Virtually every Terrapin is playing well. Driesell deserves credit for shaping a functional, working unit in recent weeks. As guard Jeff Adkins said, "We look like a team now."
The Yellow Jackets also look more like a team now. They have balanced scoring, quality reserves and a 6-foot freshman guard named Mark Price who regularly shoots jump shots that deserve to be awarded three points.
"I've been looking at the film of that guy Price shooting and he has no conscience," Driesell said. "He'll shoot it from 30 feet out there. He may be the best long-range shooter I've ever seen in this league."
Price is shooting 45 percent, 88 percent at the free throw line and 40 percent from three-point range. He is second in the ACC with a 19-point scoring average. More than one-third of his field goal attempts are three-point shots.
"Adkins will have to guard Price," Driesell said. "He's definitely our best defensive guard. He's big, he's strong and he hustles."
Maryland needs a good defensive performance from Adkins. With the short three-point field goal, one hot player is capable of not only keeping his team close, but winning the game.
Maryland found out recently that reserve Steve Rivers, a junior guard, is a three-point threat. But the Terrapins also have found they've been most successful during the streak by getting the ball inside to forward Adrian Branch and center Ben Coleman.
Branch, averaging 18 points a game, has slipped from first to fourth in conference scoring. Coleman is up to eighth in the league, at 15 points, and third in field goal percentage (57 percent). And Adkins, with Driesell's blessing, has started to shoot more, making Maryland's offense more effective when the opposition becomes preoccupied with stopping Branch and Coleman.
Driesell, in his 23rd year as a college head coach--14 at Maryland--needs one more victory for his 450th. He has lost 185 . . . During Maryland's winning streak, Coleman has shot 62 percent and averaged 18 points a game. Branch, in that period, has shot 57 percent and averaged 17 points. Adkins has averaged five assists.