No. 7 MARYLAND (19-5) vs. CINCINNATI (17-8)
Site: Alamodome, San Antonio
TV/Radio: Channels 2, 7/WBAL (1090 AM)
Outlook: This is Maryland's first venture outside the Atlantic Coast Conference since December, and it could be a troublesome one. The Bearcats, though inconsistent this season, are just the kind of team that can give the seventh-ranked Terps problems. It is a team that could be just as athletic and a little more physically mature than Maryland. The Bearcats have beaten one ACC team this season -- Georgia Tech in the Rainbow Classic. Though LaZelle Durden (18.5 ppg) is a prolific three-point shooter (90 of 253), Cincinnati's strength is the inside play of 6-foot-7 freshman Danny Fortson (14.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and 6-1O junior Art Long (12.2ppg, 7.9rpg). Junior PG Keith LeGree, a transfer from Louisville, has been up and down, and so have the Bearcats. Though they're on a two-game winning streak and scored more than 90 points against Dayton and Morehead State, they failed to reach 70 in consecutive losses to Saint Louis, Memphis and Marquette. The Terps are coming off Wednesday night's horrendous performance against Wake Forest. Sophomore All-Amertcan Joe Smith (19.3 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 2.9 bpg) might be too quick for Long and too big for Fortson, and Maryland's press might be effective against a team that tends to get sloppy with the ball. Maryland needs better performances today from forwards Exree Hipp (13.8ppg,4.1rpg) and Keith Booth (12.1ppg, 6.6 rpg) than they had against the Demon Deacons. They also need Johnny Rhodes (14.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.9 apg) to stay out of foul trouble. Maryland has much better depth than the Bearcats, whose backup point guard, Marco Wrtght, quit the team last week. Another frontcourt reserve, John Jacobs, informed coach Bob Huggins that he was leaving after this season.
NIAGARA (4-22) vs. LOYOLA (7-15)
Site: Reitz Arena
Outlook: Loyola (3-7 in the MAAC) is seventh in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference but defeated Iona by 14 points on Tuesday. The Greyhounds put forth their best defensive effort, limiting a potent Iona team to a season-low 54 points. It was the Greyhounds' largest margin of victory this season. Senior forward B. J. Pendleton leads Loyola in scoring (14.2) and rebounding (6 4). Freshman point guard John McDonald (10.9 ppg) scorcd game-high 18 points against Iona. McDonald produced 10 points during a 15-2 second-half run as Loyola pulled away from Iona. Niagara (1-10), which is last in the conference has lost 12 of its past 13 games, including Friday's 18-point loss at Iona. Brent Beamer scored 15 points, Ronnell Felton 13 and Greg McClaire 12. The Purple Eagles, who hit 12 three-pointers, committed 23 turnovers. Iona relies on sophomore forward Chris Watson, its only double-figure scorer. Loyola has won three straight over Niagara, including by six on Jan. 12, to cut the series margin to 6-5.