Preston’s Perspective lowers the flag at halfmast for the passing of the “Professor”.  Russell Johnson inhabited the role of the guy who could build a computer out of a coconut but couldn’t fix a hole in a boat…but to kids watching “Gilligan’s Island” he was probably the first “cool smart person” we dealt with .  The character gave value to reason and was able to often make something out of nothing to keep the castaways alive.  The ultimate glue guy in the 7-character rotation… you take away Roy Hinkley and the others probably starve (once they’re done eating the Howell’s wardrobe).  

As area schools prepare for their own “2-hour tours” this weekend... they’ll need to adapt to whatever weather that gets rough.  From Japanese sailors to big game hunters to poor pilots to dopplegangers (Eva Grubb)…coaches have to often find a way to build a working machine out of a roster made up of coconuts and bamboo.  Sometimes even against a team of Robots (it helps to have the Globetrotters on your side, but only the Professor himself could figure a way to beat Martin Landau and Barbara Bain at their own game).  Thanks for the lessons, Professor…

NOON– Georgetown (11-5, 3-2) hosts Seton Hall (10-7, 1-3)– the Hoyas try to wash away the stench of being outscored 16-0 over the final 5 minutes in their loss at Xavier.  All the three-point shooting (10-18 against the Musketeers) can’t erase a rough night rebounding (outboarded 36-25)… and only getting to the line 8 times can’t help.  Will they be more forceful against a Pirates team that is entering the traditional back-to-conference-play tailspin?  The Hall needs a win to stay away from cellardwellers St. John’s and Butler.

NOON– Virginia (12-5, 3-1 ACC) entertains Florida State (12-4, 3-1)–  the Cavaliers try to bounce back from a heartbreaking defeat at Duke… facing a Seminoles team that’s won three straight games by double digits.  One key– the battle of inconsistent big men:  Akil Mitchell & Mike Tobey went 5-16 against Duke…while FSU’s will need to fare better than 5-16 against the FSU trees (Boris Bojanovsky, Okaro White and Montay Brandon have yet to post back to back double digit ACC efforts).

12:30PM– George Mason (7-10, 0-3 Atlantic 10) at Rhode Island (9-9, 0-3)– if Virgina’s loss was heartbreaking…what was the Patriots last-minute collapse against #16 UMass?  Is that a loss that hangs with a team for weeks…or can Paul Hewitt get GMU to build off one of its better efforts of the season.  URI is also looking for their first conference win…and comes off a rough shooting night against LaSalle (27% from 3…and 52% from the line).

2PM– American (9-7, 5-0 Patriot League) vs Lafayette (4-12, 0-5)– the Eagles incredible January journey continues after its first nail biter of the conference campaign…a two point win at Lehigh.  Doubly disheartening was that AU shooting 5-10 at the FT line…not only did they shoot 50% from the charity stripe, they only got to the line ten times.  The Leopards have lost four of their five Patriot League games by double digits–the exception being an 8 point loss to Navy.

4PM– Howard (3-15, 1-2 MEAC) VS Maryland-Eastern Shore (2-13, 0-3)–  hello, James Daniel!  The freshman scored 17 points against Savannah State after missing the previous five games…and his return gives the Bison two scoring weapons instead of being the Prince Okoroh show.  The Hawks have lost 11 straight and rank 348th out of 351 Division I schools in shooting percentage.

7PM– George Washington (14-3, 2-1 Atlantic 10) at St. Bonaventure (11-6, 1-2)– the Colonials come off an impressive double-digit victory over VCU…while the Bonnies come off consecutive road losses to #19 UMass and #24 St Louis (both two-possession games). There could be a lineup shuffle as the Bonnie starters went The Colonials probably won’t turn the ball over 21 times like they did against the Rams…and they probably won’t shoot 56% from the field again either (and 25-38 from inside the arc). 


2PM–Maryland Women (15-1, 3-0 ACC) entertains Georgia Tech– the Terps take on a Yellowjacket team that’s given them trouble recently.  GT boasts a 5-9 guard that averages 8 rebounds a game in Tyaunna Marshall…and the Yellowjackets can almost match the Terps depthwise with nine players averaging 15+ minutes per game.  The recent tinkering to the Terrapin lineup has had Malina Howard coming off the bench and Laurin Mincy starting– a move that results in more size coming off the pine (now 3 of 5 reserves playing 13+ minutes are 6 foot 2 or taller). 

6PM– Virginia Tech (8-8, 1-4 ACC) travels to face Notre Dame (10-7, 1-3)– January often crushes the Hokie spirit…and after three straight losses VT plays three of its next four on the road.  A season-low 49 points against Clemson was a shooting nightmare– the Hokies were WORSE FROM THE LINE THAN FROM OUTSIDE THE ARC (4-14FT, 5-16 3pters).  Could it be the Tigers are for real as they beat Duke last weekend?  Notre Dame beat the Blue Devils the previous Saturday before dropping three consecutive winnable games.  It’s tough to imagine a fourth straight loss for the Irish…