COLLEGE PARK -- Rick Hartzell will try to make two college basketball games today, the first between Purdue and James Madison this afternoon in Harrisonburg, Va., and the other here tonight between Bucknell and Maryland.
Hartzell will be on the court at "The Electric Zoo" in his role as a Division I referee. He then hopes to be able to make it to Cole Field House for an 8 p.m. tip-off to pull for the Bison. It's all part of the juggling act Hartzell goes through each winter as the only referee who also happens to be a Division I athletic director.
Asked if there's any conflict of interest, Hartzell said, "I think the credit trail is established by now."
Hartzell has worked as a Division I referee for 17 years, including 12 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. This is the second time in Hartzell's six years at Bucknell that the Bison will face an ACC team, but the first time that Maryland has faced Bucknell since Hartzell became its AD after four years at UMBC.
"It isn't anything but a game," said Hartzell. "I told Pat [Flannery, Bucknell's coach] that if he wanted to know anything about Maryland, the only thing I could tell him is, 'Joe Smith's a great player.' It's an opportunity for us to go into a first-class place and play a nationally ranked team."
Flannery, who came to Bucknell after coaching Lebanon Valley to the Division III national championship last season, said that having Hartzell as his boss has given him a new appreciation of game officials.
"He can tell me his side of it every day," said Flannery, whose Bison have lost their first three games by a total of seven points. "It brings these guys [officials] to life. They just don't show up."
Looking for depth
With his 11th-ranked Terrapins in a four-game stretch against smaller Division I teams, coach Gary Williams is trying to develop more of a bench before next Saturday's showdown with No. 1 Massachusetts at the Baltimore Arena.
The Minutemen showed great depth in their season-opening demolition of then-top-ranked Arkansas, the defending national champion. UMass goes about nine deep before the talent level drops off; conversely, the Terps have had problems getting past seven in their first four games.
"There's a fine line: You have to give your starters enough minutes to keep them sharp, but you'd also like to get the bench in there earlier," said Williams, whose team's inability to put away Loyola quickly Tuesday night prevented him from doing that.
Williams saw a little progress against the Greyhounds, especially from freshmen Rodney Elliott of Dunbar and Sarunas Jasikevicius. Elliott played seven minutes and Jasikevicius six, combining for six points, two rebounds and one assist.
"I was really impressed with his confidence," Williams said of Jasikevicius. "He hadn't played much [three minutes against Chaminade], but it didn't seem to affect him. Everyone thinks he's just a shooter, but he's a good passer. The players like playing with him."
As for Elliott, Williams said: "I thought Rodney was more aggressive. He gives us another good defender and rebounder off the bench, and we need that."
What the Terps could use is some better outside shooting. After hitting 11 of 21 three-point shots in its first two games, Maryland is six of 27 in the past two, including three of 15 against Loyola.
Maryland is shooting 56.5 percent as a team, the best four-game stretch in Williams' six seasons with the Terps. They have shot better than 50 percent in each game.