With a matchup looming against 14th-ranked Kentucky, Maryland men's basketball coach Gary Williams said he is not concerned about the possibility of his team looking past tonight's home game against Fairleigh Dickinson. Instead, Williams is focused on getting his team to rebound better after getting beaten on the boards in its two victories this past week.
In other games tonight involving area men's teams, Georgetown plays Memphis in the first round of the Maui Invitational, Navy hosts Wake Forest and Catholic is at American.
By defeating San Francisco and Tulane last week in the first two rounds of the Preseason NIT, Maryland earned a date with Kentucky in Wednesday's semifinals at New York's Madison Square Garden. But first the Terrapins have to play Fairleigh Dickinson, which has four new starters and will play its season opener tonight.
Williams said he knows little about the Knights and is more concerned about how his team plays. Despite a starting lineup that includes 6-foot-8 Lonny Baxter, 6-9 Terence Morris and 6-8 Danny Miller, Maryland (2-0) has been outrebounded in both its games. Williams said his team spent 2 1/2 hours Saturday watching game films during which he critiqued his team's performance.
"We don't rebound," said Williams, whose team has won 66 consecutive nonconference home games, the longest streak in the nation. "The shot goes up and we don't rebound. There's no technique, nothing. . . . I think the biggest thing about this time of year is to get better in the areas you are weak. We were really weak in rebounding and it showed."
Baxter leads Maryland with 8.5 rebounds per game and Morris is averaging seven. Williams said he is looking for more from Miller, who had one rebound in 29 minutes in Friday's 78-70 victory over Tulane and has been ineffective offensively.
"He is not playing aggressively," Williams said. "He is just waiting for something to happen."
As for Georgetown (1-0), tonight's game is the first of three in three nights in Hawaii. Memphis will be playing for the first time without Coach Tic Price, who resigned on Nov. 14 after assault allegations. Specifically, two anonymous faxes to the Memphis athletic department alleged Price had an affair with a 23-year-old student and she was beaten at Price's home Oct. 2. Police began an investigation the day after Price resigned.
Price's interim replacement is associate coach Johnny Jones.
The Hoyas are coming off an 81-68 season-opening victory over Morgan State. Georgetown Coach Craig Esherick will be looking to extend the minutes of freshman power forward Courtland Freeman and to play center Ruben Boumtje Boumtje for the first time. Both have the same injury, to the bone nearest the second toe in their left foot.
American defeated North Carolina A&T, 68-56, in its season opener on Saturday behind an unusual double-double of 16 points and 12 turnovers from redshirt freshman guard Hasheem Alexander, who played in three games last season before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. This is the season opener for Catholic.
Meanwhile, Navy is looking for its first victory after losing its opener to Rice, 70-64. Wake Forest (1-0) defeated Navy, 67-43, in the teams' previous meeting, during the 1997-98 season.