The Firebirds are on fire.

The University of District of Columbia has merely won 19 straight games, 28 in a row at UDC Physical Activities Center and, once again, is the No. 1-ranked Division II team in the nation.

Haven't we seen this all before? Tonight at 8 o'clock, UDC (24-2) will play host to Cheyney State (22-3), ranked No. 2 in Division II, in the Firebirds' final regular-season game.

These teams are rather familiar with each other. In last year's Division II quarterfinals, UDC, then ranked No. 2, defeated Cheyney State, then ranked No. 1, 72-69. Coach Wil Jones' Firebirds then proceeded to win the national title.

As always, UDC is led by Michael Britt, the forward of flash, who averages 24.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Seven-foot center Earl Jones averages 23.8 points and 10.1 rebounds.

In other area games, No. 18 Georgetown will play Providence at Capital Centre; Maryland, seeking its 11th victory in 12 games, will play at Georgia Tech and George Washington will play at West Virginia.

The Hoya heartaches continue. Forward Anthony Jones strained the hamstring muscle in his right leg in the loss at Pittsburgh Saturday and will not start tonight.

Jones was moved into the starting lineup just two games ago when guard Fred Brown strained the patella tendon in his right knee. Brown still has not resumed practicing with the team.

The Hoyas (17-7, 7-4 in the Big East Conference) will start Gene Smith at guard and move freshman David Wingate back to forward. Jones is expected to play some against the Friars (11-15, 3-9), who lost to Georgetown, 78-70, one month ago.

Georgetown has lost three of its last four conference games, falling to fifth place in the Big East.

These days, Maryland (17-6, 6-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) is seemingly in an only-win situation. Five weeks ago, after the Terrapins lost at Duke to fall to 7-5, Coach Lefty Driesell remembers, in a tender bit of Lefty-talk, "I was ready to commit suicide at that point."

After the Terrapins defeated Duke, 101-90, Monday night, though, Driesell was wondering why they hadn't been committed to the top 20. He's got a point, with junior center Ben Coleman inflating his averages to 16 points and eight rebounds per game.

Coleman, who has made 19 of 24 shots over two games, had 23 points and 14 rebounds against Duke.

The Terrapins should handle Georgia Tech (11-12, 3-8). After all, Maryland handled Tech, 77-68, at Cole Field House two weeks ago.

The last time George Washington (12-10, 3-6 in the Atlantic 10) played West Virginia, it lost in overtime, 61-59, at Smith Center.

"We had them down by five points with four minutes left. That's where we made some mistakes, where our immaturity showed through," said GW Coach Gerry Gimelstob, who starts four freshmen and one sophomore.

West Virginia (17-6, 8-3) is led by guard Greg Jones, whose 22.6 scoring average is second in the conference. graphics/photo: Duke's Todd Anderson, left, and Adrian Branch of Maryland chase ball. Maryland won, 101-90, and Branch scored 27 points. AP No. 1 UDC Looking Out For No. 2 Cheyney State By Gary Pomerantz Washington Post Staff Writer

The Firebirds are on fire.

The University of District of Columbia has merely won 19 straight games, 28 in a row at UDC Physical Activities Center and, once again, is the No. 1-ranked Division II team in the nation.

Haven't we seen this all before? Tonight at 8 o'clock, UDC (24-2) will play host to Cheyney State (22-3), ranked No. 2 in Division II, in the Firebirds' final regular-season game.

These teams are rather familiar with each other. In last year's Division II quarterfinals, UDC, then ranked No. 2, defeated Cheyney State, then ranked No. 1, 72-69. Coach Wil Jones' Firebirds then proceeded to win the national title.

As always, UDC is led by Michael Britt, the forward of flash, who averages 24.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Seven-foot center Earl Jones averages 23.8 points and 10.1 rebounds.

In other area games, No. 18 Georgetown will play Providence at Capital Centre; Maryland, seeking its 11th victory in 12 games, will play at Georgia Tech and George Washington will play at West Virginia.

The Hoya heartaches continue. Forward Anthony Jones strained the hamstring muscle in his right leg in the loss at Pittsburgh Saturday and will not start tonight.

Jones was moved into the starting lineup just two games ago when guard Fred Brown strained the patella tendon in his right knee. Brown still has not resumed practicing with the team.

The Hoyas (17-7, 7-4 in the Big East Conference) will start Gene Smith at guard and move freshman David Wingate back to forward. Jones is expected to play some against the Friars (11-15, 3-9), who lost to Georgetown, 78-70, one month ago.

Georgetown has lost three of its last four conference games, falling to fifth place in the Big East.

These days, Maryland (17-6, 6-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) is seemingly in an only-win situation. Five weeks ago, after the Terrapins lost at Duke to fall to 7-5, Coach Lefty Driesell remembers, in a tender bit of Lefty-talk, "I was ready to commit suicide at that point."

After the Terrapins defeated Duke, 101-90, Monday night, though, Driesell was wondering why they hadn't been committed to the top 20. He's got a point, with junior center Ben Coleman inflating his averages to 16 points and eight rebounds per game.

Coleman, who has made 19 of 24 shots over two games, had 23 points and 14 rebounds against Duke.

The Terrapins should handle Georgia Tech (11-12, 3-8). After all, Maryland handled Tech, 77-68, at Cole Field House two weeks ago.

The last time George Washington (12-10, 3-6 in the Atlantic 10) played West Virginia, it lost in overtime, 61-59, at Smith Center.

"We had them down by five points with four minutes left. That's where we made some mistakes, where our immaturity showed through," said GW Coach Gerry Gimelstob, who starts four freshmen and one sophomore.

West Virginia (17-6, 8-3) is led by guard Greg Jones, whose 22.6 scoring average is second in the conference.