It's not too often that Charles G. Driesell proclaims himself confused. Yet that's the state of affairs at Maryland, where the Terrapins have lost six Atlantic Coast Conference games, and things seem just as confused as Driesell says he is.
Maryland's latest loss came to Duke, 80-68, in Durham, N.C., Saturday night, making this its worst ACC start since 1968-69. Coach Driesell also made his ninth starting lineup change this season.
"I'm confused right now," he said. "But I'll find something."
A two-freshmen lineup with center Tony Massenburg and guard John Johnson didn't help Len Bias, who finally broke out of a relative slump with a career-high 41 points. With three other freshmen shuffling in and out of the game, no other player was in double figures and the Terrapins generally looked tentative.
With each loss, the Terrapins seem to show poorer judgment, and against Duke they seemed nearly paralyzed offensively.
"Bias is a very confident player and, when he has the ball one on one, you can't stop him," said Duke forward Mark Alarie. "But I think the rest of the time it's hard for the other players to get into the flow of the offense, because the basis of it is to get the ball to him. Or maybe they're just not as confident. They don't seem to be running it as confidently as they have in the past."
Maryland was hurt by the absence of point guard Keith Gatlin. He was hospitalized with back spasms before the game, but is expected back for the Wake Forest game Tuesday at Cole Field House.
Of the freshmen who played substantially, Massenburg did the best, with eight points in 20 minutes. But he got only one rebound, and fouled out. Johnson had two points, was one of four from the field and had two turnovers, but he had had flu.
Among the reserves, freshman guard Greg Nared showed glimpses of potential. He was two of three from the floor with four points, but was none for three from the foul line in 14 minutes. Forward Dave Dickerson had only two points, on foul shots, but got four rebounds and blocked a shot in 18 minutes.
The Terrapins' schedule has contributed to the woeful start. Over their six-game ACC losing streak, they lost to three top five teams in 11 days -- Duke, North Carolina and Georgia Tech -- then lost to a Virginia team then on a four-game winning streak, followed by North Carolina State.
"The schedule is murderous," Driesell said. "I feel sorry for the kids. I think they're just worn out. It's sorry scheduling."