Although No. 2-ranked North Carolina is at No. 6 Maryland Saturday, the game of the day in what suddenly has become a fascinating season has No. 1 Virginia visiting No. 5 Johns Hopkins.
Virginia, which for the past several years has been recruiting the best players coming out of Baltimore (Kevin Pehlke, Garth Appelt, Tom Groeninger, George Glyphis, etc.), is 6-0 and should be favored over the Blue Jays.
What intrigues followers of the sport is the sudden improvement of 3-1 Hopkins, which opened with a loss to Princeton but won, 18-12, at Syracuse last week.
Already people are saying first-year Blue Jays coach Tony Seaman makes the difference. Hopkins obviously is catching on to Seaman's complex system.
There's not a more enthusiastic lacrosse fan anywhere than Judge Charles E. Moylan Jr., of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. The judge (of Hopkins' class of '53) never misses a game at home or away.
"Hopkins is a second-half team," Moylan said after the win in the Carrier Dome, "and we didn't used to be that."
The team's performance supports that. Two weeks ago at Rutgers, Seaman's team was tied, 5-5, in the third period but did all the scoring from there on in a 13-5 win. Last week Syracuse led Hopkins at halftime, 9-8, but the Jays scored 10 of the game's last 11 goals.
"It's pretty clear," said Moylan, "that Seaman is a smart coach who makes adjustments as the game goes along."
At Penn the last eight years, when Seaman had no athletic scholarships to give (Hopkins has them), Seaman was known as thinking man's coach who did a lot with a little. His shining moment came in the 1988 NCAA semifinals at Syracuse when Penn led the Orange with a minute to play but lost, 11-10, on Paul Gait's shot with three seconds left.
In the next two weeks, as Hopkins hosts Virginia and then goes to North Carolina, the lacrosse world will see just how far Seaman has brought the Jays in a short time.
* You're not going to believe the size of the crowds that will watch the Orioles in exhibition games Saturday (Channel 2) and Sunday against the Yankees at Miami's Joe Robbie Stadium.
Indications are that 90,000 people will attend the two games. It's not simply that Floridians are so hot for exhibition baseball. Miami, spearheaded by Blockbuster Video owner Wayne Huizenga, is one of six finalists trying to land a National League franchise for '93. It makes you wonder how many freebies the promoters are putting in the park, of which Huizenga is now part owner. He's willing to spend a few mill of his own to adapt the place for baseball.
* The University of Maryland, getting in line with the rest of the Atlantic Coast Conference, has reduced the cost of a Diamond membership in the Terrapin Club from $1,800 to $1,200 a year. The catch is that members now have to buy tickets for football and basketball. They used to get four tickets for each game for free.
It's possible that College Park crowds, especially in football, will drop off. All those formerly automatic tickets now have to be sold. Some wonder who's going to buy them.
* That was no misprint that said Worthington (Ohio) High lost to Gilman by only 6-4 in lacrosse this week. Worthington, near Columbus, is a lacrosse hotbed. Its players are good enough that both Loyola College and Hopkins scouted them in the game.
"Good lacrosse players are starting to come from non-traditional areas," says Gilman athletic director Jody Martin.
Explains Steve Stenersen, executive director of the Lacrosse Hall of Fame and Foundation: "We have chapters now in places like Ohio, Denver [where there are 35 high schools playing], Detroit [16 schools], and Texas . We just opened our 24th chapter in Hawaii."