Four games into the 1984-85 basketball season, two statistics stand out in Maryland's 3-1 start. The first is opponents' shooting: 38 percent, an indication the Terrapins are playing terrific defense. That's why they are winning. The second is rebounding: opponents 165, Maryland 132. That's a difference of 8.3 a game. It's why the team has blown three 11-point leads.
After their 56-47 victory over West Virginia Saturday night, in which they were outrebounded by 39-25, most Maryland players talked about being more aggressive, about boxing out better and about concentrating more. But freshman Derrick Lewis, who at 6 feet 7 is probably going to be this team's center most of the time, may have put his finger on the real answer.
"Last year Ben Coleman and Herman Veal did the bulk of the rebounding here," Lewis said. "The guys who are being asked to do the rebounding now just aren't used to having to go to the boards the way they have to now. It's an adjustment for everyone. They're experienced players, but not experienced rebounders."
With a small team, Maryland is going to struggle under the basket all season. The only saving grace for the Terrapins is that the Atlantic Coast Conference will not be a strong rebounding conference this time around. The one exception is North Carolina State -- Maryland's first conference game Jan. 2.
It was not mere chance that Chuck Driesell entered Saturday's game eight minutes into the first half. Coach Lefty Driesell's son has been working more and more with the first team and might get quality minutes in the next few weeks.
"He told me if I can go in and play good defense, then he has confidence to put me in because he knows I can shoot," Chuck Driesell said of his father. "I have trouble sometimes because a bigger guard can go low and post me. But if I can go in and keep guys from scoring on me, I think I'll get to play more."
Last year a number of Maryland players thought Chuck Driesell deserved more minutes than he was getting, based on his practice performance. The 6-1 senior is a very good open shooter, works hard and plays intelligently. Against West Virginia, he didn't see the ball on offense when he went in but played well enough defensively to merit more such opportunities.
UCLA is 1-2 after being routed, 80-61, by De Paul Saturday. With Memphis State, Brigham Young, Oral Roberts and St. John's on their schedule this month, the once-proud Bruins could have six losses before they start conference play. No wonder Coach Walt Hazzard calls this first month of his first year "a death march."
If you checked the scoreboard carefully this morning, you noticed that Houston played Campbell in the consolation game of Clemson's annual tipoff tournament. The Cougars were soundly beaten by South Alabama in the opening round. With Akeem Olajuwon playing for the NBA Rockets, the people who point to Houston's three straight Final Four appearances as a testimony to Guy V. Lewis' ability to coach might start wondering.
It was a rough night for American (1-1) Saturday, with its 83-59 loss to George Washington. Things don't get easier for Coach Ed Tapscott's young team. Tonight, the Eagles play at Navy. Then comes a weekend date with New Mexico State in the opening round of the Fighting Illini Classic. If AU were to win, it would almost undoubtedly play No. 7-ranked Illinois in the final, some warmup for the Eagles' next opponent: No. 1 Georgetown. They go to Rutgers immediately after that . . . Another team with a tough follow-up to a big loss is George Mason. The Patriots (2-1) lost to Iowa, 111-82, Saturday; Tuesday they are home to play Northern Illinois. The name may not be overwhelming but NIU opened by losing to No. 2 De Paul, 59-58.
Each year, before the games begin, officials are given certain calls to emphasize. Last year it was positioning on the block-charge call. This year it is traveling.
Lefty Driesell, looking through a Sports Illustrated pictorial that included Moses Malone, the center he signed but lost to the pros 10 years ago: "If I'd a' gotten Moses, I'd be retired by now and everyone would be happy about it, especially me."