? North Carolina at Maryland
ESPN2 7:30 PM
Feeling Blue? Certainly fans of the once mighty Tar Heels are. Last year North Carolina (5-5 through last Wednesday) swept ACC rival Maryland, including an 86-83 win in College Park. This season the Tar Heels have lost to Hampton and Davidson, and had a nail-biting 61-60 victory over SUNY- Binghamton, whose previous biggest claim to sports fame was as the alma mater of Pardon the Interruption cohost Tony Kornheiser. Even against the No. 8 Terrapins, though, don't count North Carolina out, especially given the presence of Heels senior swingman Jason Capel, who was averaging a double double: 16.4 points and 11.1 rebounds.
? PGA Sony Open
ESPN THURSDAY AND FRIDAY 7 PM
The Waialae Country Club's course is nestled between Hawaii's majestic Koolau mountain range to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. In last year's Sony, victor Brad Faxon was Koolau as a cucumber, going wire-to-wire to win and tying the course record with a 20-under 260. This year the 40-year-old Faxon will have something else on his mind besides defending his title: He and his new bride, Dory, are expecting their first child later this month. Coverage will continue on Saturday and Sunday ( ESPN, 8 p.m. each night).
?State Farm U.S. Championships
ABC 8 PM
With three Olympic figure-skating berths on the line, tonight's men's free-skate contestants include current U.S. champ Tim Goebel, five-time champion Todd Eldredge and two-time champion Michael Weiss. The latter is looking to regain the form that vanished when he suffered stress fractures in his left foot and ankle after winning the 2000 title.
? Lakers at Pistons
TBS 8 PM
Once upon a time during this rivalry Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas would kiss before the tip-off. Let's hope Shaquille O'Neal and Ben Wallace don't get similarly inspired. Led by guard Jerry Stackhouse (21.6 points per game through last Wednesday), long-downtrodden Detroit was off to a surprising 15-14 start, including a 9-3 record at home. Meanwhile, defending champion Los Angeles was 7-4 on the road. In the teams' most recent meeting at the Palace at Auburn Hills, last March 15, Stackhouse (above) tied the arena's scoring record of 46 points ( O'Neal and former Piston Grant Hill also hold the mark), while Lakers guard Kobe Bryant scored 39, including 24 in the fourth quarter and overtime of L.A.'s 125-119 win.