Maryland's season, a roller-coaster ride so far, continues today when the Terrapins host No. 8 North Carolina at Cole Field House.
Once again, Maryland will be without Walt Williams. The junior guard, who fractured his left fibula against Duke Jan. 12, will not return until his leg is 100 percent.
"I figured I'd play last Saturday against Duke. That just shows how much I know," Williams said when asked about a return date. "When the leg is ready is when I'll go."
In other local action, Georgetown will be at Seton Hall, Virginia will host Clemson, James Madison will play at American, Howard will be at North Carolina A&T, George Washington will visit Rutgers and George Mason will host Navy.
The Patriots have won seven of nine; the Midshipmen have dropped six straight. GW, guaranteed its first winning season since 1983-84, has won six of its last seven.
The Terrapins (13-10, 3-7 ACC) have a 5-4 record without Williams, reaching the pinnacle in their last two home games, a 96-93 defeat of Georgia Tech Wednesday night and a 104-100 victory over North Carolina State Jan. 26. In between those victories, however, were three straight road losses.
Maryland has lost all five of its ACC away games, including a 105-73 rout by the Tar Heels Jan. 9. The 105 points are the most allowed by the Terrapins this year. It was also the first time Coach Gary Williams's team had allowed an opponent to make 50 percent of its shots.
"It's the same situation as Georgia Tech; playing against a team that cleaned our clock the last time we played them," said the coach, referring to an 80-65 loss to the Yellow Jackets that preceded Wednesday's win. "Now we have another chance."
Without the ACC or NCAA tournaments to look forward to (because of NCAA sanctions), an upset today would go a long way toward ensuring the success of one of Maryland's goals for the season -- a winning record. The Terrapins have five games left, including today's. They play their last nonconference game at Virginia Tech Tuesday, then face Wake Forest at home and N.C. State and Virginia on the road.
No. 18 Georgetown (15-7, 7-4 Big East) has lost two of its last four games and five of its past 11, and Monday night's 61-55 defeat at Connecticut was one of its more lethargic efforts of the season.
Georgetown made 15 of 50 shots against the Huskies' packed-in zone defense; Connecticut was becoming the first Hoyas opponent this season to make half its shots (18 for 35).
Despite their inconsistencies, the Hoyas are just one game behind front-running Syracuse in the Big East, and tonight they'll face a Seton Hall team they've beaten in four straight meetings.